B1G adds Maryland, Rutgers

By Dave Morus

It comes as no surprise after the rumors and speculation of the past several days, but the Big Ten has indeed enticed Maryland away from the ACC and threw Rutgers a lifeline and pulled them in from the sinking Big East. Reports of what these two bring to the conference at the moment (there are a lot of mixed reactions there) abound.

But this is a Duquesne blog. So... read on after the jump.

I wonder how this will ultimately affect the Atlantic 10. The ACC is left with an odd number of schools, which is seemingly counter to their recent expansion goals. The Big East is as well.

The ACC has shown a tendency to poach from the Big East in the past, and it looks like that will be the case once again. There's a lot of talk about Louisville and UConn. Boston College has long been opposed to UConn joining the conference, but they may be out of other viable options. This CBS Sports article also says that Cincinnati and South Florida are being considered as well. It may well be inevitable that the Big East is going to lose another team.

This potentially solves the other problem - an uneven Big East. Yet the changes could scare off some of the schools that are planned to join but haven't to this point, a la TCU a year or two ago. Then there are the rumors that Houston can leave the conference without penalty if TV revenues don't reach a certain amount. This is all scary for the A10 because the Big East has shown a tendency to poach from just about anywhere, regardless of how much or how little sense it makes.

Football has been driving the expansion, but the Big East continues to add schools that are not strong in that area. Memphis is woeful. Navy is a respectable institution, but does not have the football clout of old. UCF and Houston are reasonable but unspectacular. SMU is mediocre, with some disaster seasons in very recent memory. All of these are thought by the conference to be "acceptable" additions to the Big East.

So, for all the problems that are discussed with the UMass football program, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for the Big East to take them. It isn't like their expansion plans have been based upon the highest quality in the past. Or, you know, logic.

Of course, this is all speculation. One thing is certain, though. With it's odd mix of football and basketball schools, as long as the Big East is unstable, fans of the Atlantic 10 have good cause to be nervous.