Super-Conference Money at the Expense of Winning and Fan Enjoyment?

From a strictly fiscal standpoint, it makes sense for just about any school to join a conference offering a more lucrative TV/media payout. For instance, with their move to the B1G, UCLA now won't have to cut several non-revenue sports that were primed for the chopping block. For MD, it was a financial boon to an athletic department in debt and an opportunity to ostensibly raise the profile of the football program.

But as a fan, I really don't care jack squat about new practice facilities, locker room upgrades, etc. I care about winning and enjoying my time watching games. Basketball is far and away the sport about which I'm most avid, but I understand football drives conference realignments more than any other sport. Some outstanding seasons under Ross and Friedgen notwithstanding, no one would ever mistake MD for a football powerhouse, and moving to a conference with OSU, Michigan, PSU, MSU, Wisconsin, and Iowa has made pushing past a 6-6 or 7-5 mark seem like a borderline pipe dream. Adding USC (primed to be top dog in the B1G) and UCLA to the mix doesn't make sustained winning any more likely. Of course, super-conferences reduce the chances of traditional powerhouses winning at the same clip to which they're accustomed too.

I'd argue the move to the B1G has had a neutral effect on basketball from a wins and losses standpoint. I suspect our common complaints about Turge--late-season swoons and little NCAAT success--would have been the same if the Terps had stayed in the ACC. A share of the conference title plus four other years finishing in the top five of the conference (three top three years) would've been pretty likely in the ACC during Turge's tenure, too, I think.

Aesthetically, the move to the B1G has had a negative impact on basketball. On the one hand, I'm certain a Turge offense would've been just as stagnant and generally uninspiring regardless of conference, but I think we can all agree that with the exception of Iowa, Michigan (and Purdue last year) B1G team's offensive styles usually range from pedestrian to torturous. And, of course, joining the B1G meant bidding adieu to long-time rivals. Sure, when Big East schools starting joining the ACC, the ACC lost some of the charm it had for me. There was no extra juice to games against the likes of Pitt, Syracuse, or BC because the Terps had no history with those teams. At least with VT there was geographical proximity. But we still had showdowns with Duke, UNC, UVA--and to a lesser extent NCST, GT, etc.--that offered that little extra something as a fan. Perhaps in another decade or two as MD racks up some real history against B1G opponents, some of that feeling will return, but wins against the likes of MSU, Purdue, IU, Wisconsin, or Michigan (in real short supply lately) have been fun, no doubt, because 1) MD won and 2) won against a big-name team, but I can't pretend I've ever gotten as excited about winning against one of those teams as I did when MD would knock off Ratface, for instance.

FanPosts are content created by and for fans. They do not necessarily represent the views of Testudo Times or its staff, and anything deemed inappropriate will be removed by site administrators.