Given that it seems all but inevitable that James Franklin ends up at PSU, many Maryland fans have reverted to their doom and gloom default. True I'm one of them, but here's my argument that it's a good thing. Note, some of what you're about to read might involve delusions of grandeur. However, I'm trying to put a positive spin on this.
In the new college playoff, revenue is distributed many ways, and one of them is by participating in the semifinals. Conferences receive and additional $6 million per team. Unless you're Notre Dame, you just keep the $6 Million and the ACC gets nothing! (god bless that swashbuckling pirate they have for an AD)
It seems entirely feasible that the SEC will get 2 teams in the playoffs often enough the make the following scenario a reasonable problem.
4 spots, 2 go to the SEC, leaving the ACC, B1G, Pac12, Big XII and Notre Dame to duke it out for the last two. Having a good PSU team means several things to the B1G.
First it gives whoever beats them a better chance at a resume win. Giving them a better chance at a playoff berth, and make no mistake about it, these are spots where conference strength matters. And even if the SEC only gets 1 spot, there's still a 40% chance (all things being equal) that the B1G could be on the outside looking in.
Second, it takes away from a rising SEC power. Alabama, LSU, are always going to be the class of the SEC, so we probably don't take them down. But weakening the rest of the SEC by stealing away one of their rising coaching stars, makes the SEC as a whole less formidable, and at the same time making the B1G better. And being in a quality conference matters. And right now, the SEC which doesn't see another conference as it's rival, has a rival, or close to it, and that's the B1G. At least, it better be if we (as a conference) hope to keep these large revenue streams flowing.
Now for the delusion of grandeur, if Maryland is to vie for an NCAA title in football, because it's the 1950's all over again. We need quality wins to give us a fighting chance of a committee picking us for a playoff berth. Maybe it's the fatalist Maryland fan in me, but I could still see Maryland going undefeated and not getting a playoff spot. A win over a good penn state team boosts the resume.
(Also, what a commentary that as a Maryland fan, even delusions of grandeur include us not getting into the college football playoffs)
for the tl;dr crowd
It benefits Maryland to be in a better football conference. Back to Basketball.