It seemed as though during Saturday's Maryland-Penn State game, the announcers repeatedly dwelled on Maryland having never beat Penn State at Maryland. Fair enough as far it goes- we did play them for an awful long time as an out of conference opponent- even though they refused to play us for many years thereafter, and the series resumed only when they become an in-conference opponent more recently.
However, the last time we played Penn State prior to Saturday, we beat them. Maybe it was mentioned and I just missed it, but the announcers seemed determined not to acknowledge it. Granted, it wasn't a home game, so it didn't make what the announcers were saying about home games technically in accurate. However, it seems to me that it could have also been mentioned. I know it was a "coronavirus year" game, but it counted. We won it. Beating Penn State on the road is more impressive than beating them at home.
That wasn't the first time we beat them on the road either. There was the handshake game. Those players are long gone, but it was the same two programs, and it wasn't that long ago. Mentioning stuff like and showing clips that creates a sense of a rivalry for viewers watching at home.
Beyond the idea of just basic fairness to the Maryland program and to Maryland fans by mentioning our wins and iconic moments, I would think mentioning that could have helped hold the interest of neutral viewers flipping channels. The whole game the announcers portrayed us as also-rans who always lose to Penn State, when they could have been portraying us as underdogs who have a historical issue beating Penn State, but who twice upset them since rejoining the conference and, because of the rivalry that exists, might flip the script and win any given game against Penn State regardless of how good the two teams might be in games against other opponents. This is the game that's most important to Maryland fans every year (How many times have we seen people say stuff like they'll consider it a winning season if we just beat Penn State? Anyone else notice the profane chant against Penn State? We hate those guys.), which also could have been played up (How about some clips from the tie at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium years ago that played a role in Penn State refusing to play us?).
To their credit, the announcers did mention that Franklin and Locksley having a history with each other and with Maryland that was deeper than might be obvious, and that a lot of the kids on the field had been recruited by both schools. I'm just thinking, if I were a viewer in some random place who didn't really care about either of those teams, stuff like that, combined with the other stuff they could have talked about, might get me to see it as a more interesting game and kept me on the channel whereas I might otherwise have kept channel surfing.
In general, the conference has a financial interest in building up Maryland football in the long-term. If Maryland ever truly became a strong football team, or even one of those teams that wins 7-8 games most years and scores some upsets, that is several more big games for the Big Ten Network and the conference's other broadcast partners like FOX, ABC, FS1, ESPN, ESPN 2, and so on and so forth. It makes the whole package more valuable. Maryland-Penn State could someday be a national marquee game, and that's good for everyone. Maryland-Ohio State becoming a game people outside the fan bases of the two programs want to see would also be good. A good Maryland team also helps the strength of schedule of all the other Big Ten teams that play Maryland and helps them get into bowl games- sure, it's an addition tough game on the schedule they could lose, but it's also a win that would matter if Maryland grew into something more.
I sometimes feel like the conference isn't really committed to doing everything it can to help Maryland's football program and focuses on the historically important football programs like Ohio State and Penn State to our detriment. If you want to be considered the best football conference in the country again, you could use a stronger Maryland Terrapins team. However, I don't always get the sense that they realize that. It almost seems like they think a good Maryland team that becomes a potential trap game for their traditional powerhouses is bad for the conference because it could keep a team from making the college football playoffs, which to me is as shortsighted and wrong about it's overall impact on the conference as it is unfair.
I won't even begin to get into the refereeing. That's a whole other post with a much longer word count. :) Feel free to discuss it in the comments, though. I feel like it could be another symptom of the same thing, though.
Yes, Maryland has been an also-ran in football for a long time now, with a few strong seasons in the early 00s surrounded by a lot of ineptitude and a few fluky minor bowl berths here and there. I get that. I also get that we're getting better year by year now. With it being college football where the school is recruiting people who are actually watching the broadcasts, and who's main advisors are sometimes their parents, who are also watching, making the broadcasts more Maryland-friendly, or focusing on there being a rivalry between Maryland and Penn State, despite the overall series record, could help build the program, which builds the conference.
Finally, on brief slightly off-topic thing, as long as I'm typing all this- I really felt like Saturday was a good game to watch. The final score makes it look like it was uncompetitive, but when Maryland tied in late in the third quarter or whenever that was, it seemed like things really could have gone our way. It wasn't one of those games that people wanted to turn off after the first quarter or after the first half. Maryland was in it until sometime in the 4th quarter.