While Pitt it is AAU and has a medical school is not the same as either MD or Rutgers.
No, they aren't the same. Pitt's better.
Maryland's athletic department is what the B1G really needed even more than Rutgers, though. Eastern, urban, diverse, and well-situated in a region teeming with B1G alumni. And while I am very excited about Rutgers being in the Big Ten, and glad to see them rid of the Big East, until Rutgers wins several Big Ten championships in any sport, they were a cash grab and nothing more. And a total slap in the face to schools like Pitt and Missouri who have so desperately tried to gain access into the B1G on its academics and athletics. Rutgers is just a market. In fact, were it not for Don Imus some years back and the recent basketball abuse issues, nobody would know Rutgers for anything athletically.
All three (Pitt, UMD, and RU) schools have administrative failures that are putting them in these interesting positions, but at least Pitt isn't swimming in the red financially. That can't be said about the two new members, and who even knows if those guys ever start fielding new sports or putting ones they dropped back into play. You'd think for the money that wouldn't be an issue anymore, but...haven't seen many programs take these payoffs to build anything constructively outside of football. Maybe Michigan...they fielded lax.
fighting muskie wrote:
Bishin--thanks for the response. I'm not so sure that a Big East Conference that only had WVU, Rutgers, and UConn as full members playing football would have rebuilt as a league. WVU--as they were in 2011 would have been dying to leave. Providence, St John's, Seton Hall, Villanova, Georgetown, and Notre Dame would not have been inclined to spread the conference footprint to include schools without basketball pedigrees in the Southeast---case in point--their opposition to Tulane and ECU and their begrudging acceptance of Memphis, UCF, SMU, and Houston. Rutgers had no pull within the Big East--the basketball schools never liked them and wouldn't have tried to help them. The basketball schools would have filled their depleted ranks with basketball schools--DePaul, Marquette, Xavier, and St Louis would have been the programs they would have taken (Butler had yet to rise to prominence, St Louis gets the nod over Creighton without Marquette already being a member to advocate for them).
Sure the Big Ten wasnt in the business of killing conferences back then but taking Pitt and 'Cuse back then would have accomplished the exact same objectives that they had in this last expansion--increased East Coast presence and acquiring Notre Dame.
I think the issue with the Big East initially blocking Rutgers and WVU was a balance thing, politics. VT was just because they stunk. And Temple never had a shot. Even Louisville and Cincinnati...the league was fine enough with them...just weren't fond of the balance between basketballers and footballers. I think, if anything, had Villanova actually followed through and upgraded to FBS with UConn or shortly thereafter, this whole breakdown may not have happened. For UConn alone, no. For them and one of the Catholic originals? I think the direction would have changed dramatically.
I think the Big East's health really hinged on the Big XII moreso than the ACC or Big Ten. They really got it wrong in the Great Plains. I don't know if getting Utah and/or BYU would have helped keep them all there, but if at the very least Nebraska took the walk back in the 90's rather than waiting the almost 15 years to move (and UNL was the most vocal critic of the Big XII), who knows if the Big Ten would have needed to ever consider 14. Same for the ACC, even though Syracuse was such a painfully obvious addition.