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Maryland a Target for Big East Expansion?

Completely honestly, I did not expect this at all. But Lenn Robbins appears to think it's a possibility.

Two sources said the eight-team Big East would consider adding a ninth member by exploring whether there was interest on behalf of Maryland to jump from the ACC, and for Boston College to rejoin the league.

Both seem a little far-fetched on the surface, but Maryland always has played Big East schools, and the balance of power in the ACC is in the south. And Boston College is learning that life in the ACC, where it has no natural rivals, isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Let me begin by saying there's probably no shot this actually happens. Maryland is a founding member of the ACC. The amount of history here can't just be left behind unless the bonus from the switch is massive. Not to mention the situation for Maryland isn't really better in basketball or football, and the Big East isn't in a financial position to make Maryland an offer they can't refuse, at least not in it's current state.

On top of that, I'd be extremely interested to know who these sources are, and if they actually said the same thing (that is, did one say Maryland and the other said Boston College, or did both say Maryland and Boston College?). Plus, ask any BC fan, and I'm sure they'll tell you ACC life is an improvement, especially financially. I doubt this is credible.

With that disclaimer out of the way, there are certain things about the conference jump that make sense, but really those are only under certain circumstances. If they shed the weird basketball hangers-on - like St. John's, Villanova, Seton Hall - the basketball and football matchups would be pretty good (the basketball matchups especially would be great, but if the basketball-onlies stayed on, we wouldn't get around to all of them every year). There are some natural rivals in there as well, like West Virginia, so we wouldn't be completely left out in the cold.

They could really make a play by adding in a few more schools, like Penn State (really, the most natural target for expansion). Not only would that add another natural rival, but throw in one more team and there's a super-conference. As a bonus, Maryland might be a power team in that conference, in both major sports.

Again, though, imagine life with UNC and Duke basketball every year, or without Virginia. That would be a very difficult transition to make, and one that probably won't go down.

Of course, that doesn't mean we shouldn't entertain the idea. This grants Maryland some leverage, something they've been lacking for a very long time against the Carolina-centric ACC. I'm not saying to enter talks with these guys, but make John Swofford sweat a little. I highly doubt they could find a replacement up to Maryland's level.

Hopefully, this will be the end of this, unless the offer ever manifests itself. I don't think I can take a year of rumors about Maryland moving to the Big East.