Despite the pleasant picture painted by Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney, Maryland and Rutgers are still the black sheep of the Big Ten family.
Many Big Ten fans are skeptical about the Maryland and Rutgers addition, questioning whether the two teams will be able to compete against the most physical teams in the league. They join the East division of the conference, arguably the more difficult half of the conference with teams like Michigan State and Ohio State leading the pack.
Keeping in mind that Michigan State and Ohio State ranked third and tenth in the Amway Coaches poll, both schools have an uphill battle in proving their worth this season. Meanwhile, Rutgers ended their 2013 season at 6-7, finishing sixth in their conference after losing six out of eight games following a 4-1 beginning. Maryland’s 2013 season was almost the same, finishing fifth in the ACC at 7-6. Rutgers especially will have a big set of shoes to fill this season because of their schedule; they play Penn State in week three, Michigan in week 6, and Ohio State in week 7, all of which are must-win games. Five of their games and four of Maryland’s games this upcoming season are against top-ranked Big Ten teams.
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood believes that new rivalries and an increase in funding will eventually better both teams.
“To have some of the most storied programs in college football come to Piscataway only helps your football program,” said Flood
Despite the naysayers, Maryland’s coach Randy Edsall is merely happy to be a part of something big. “I’m just glad that we’re finally to the point now where we can go and play games”, he said. “It has been a long time, it seems, to get to this point. But I’m glad we’re here…”