Big Ten party crashers: Maryland and Rutgers

2012-11-20T00:15:00Z 2015-01-22T13:58:58Z Big Ten party crashers: Maryland and RutgersBy BRIAN CHRISTOPHERSON / Lincoln Journal Star

The Big Ten is expanding and Snooki is invited to the party.

Yes, Maryland and Rutgers (pride of New Jersey) are moving to the league, and will begin competing in 2014.

The early reports say that both programs will join the Leaders Division, with Illinois switching over to the Legends.

If this is the case, Nebraska might see the new additions only intermittently on the football field.

Even so, we figure it’s important to play a little get-to-know-you game with the new kids on the block.


Home base: College Park, Md.

Mascot: Terrapins (though “Terps” is an acceptable substitute)

Saying goodbye to… The Atlantic Coast Conference

Enrollment: 26,826 undergraduates, 10,805 postgraduates

How far from Lincoln? 1,205 miles

When you think of Maryland sports, you think… Basketball. The Terps won the men’s national championship under Gary Williams in 2002. Among the first-team All-Americans Maryland has produced on the hardwood include John Lucas, Albert King, Joe Smith, Juan Dixon and the late Len Bias.

What about football? The Terps are not a football powerhouse by any means, though they did win the ACC championship in 2001, which ended a 16-year drought. In all, Maryland won the ACC crown nine times.

Maryland has struggled mightily under second-year coach Randy Edsall, who has just a 6-16 record since taking over the job.

The Terrapins claim two national championships in football in 1951 and 1953, though the former claim was only made retroactively. Maryland actually was third in the final AP poll that year, in part because the final polls were released before bowl games at that time. The recognition of the Terps as the best that year seems fair since Maryland beat top-ranked Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl.

Football home: Byrd Stadium (seats 54,000)

Lacrosse anyone? The men’s team has won 11 national championships, though the last was 1975. The women’s team has won 10 national titles, including one as recently as 2010. Maryland also is cleaning up in women’s field hockey. The program has won five of the last seven national championships, including the past two. The Terrapins’ men’s soccer team also won national championships in 2005 and ’08. The women’s basketball team was No. 1 in 2006.

Some alums you might know: Muppets creator Jim Henson, Seinfeld producer Larry David, Pulitzer winner Carl Bernstein, ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt, television personality Connie Chung.

Fun fact: One of Maryland’s graduates is Kevin Plank, the founder of Under Armour, which is known for its “We must protect this house” commercials. Maryland’s teams naturally wear Under Armour uniforms. Some of the alternative uniforms the football team has worn have been hard to miss, featuring the state flag on both the jerseys and helmets. While the uniforms have been mocked by some, the mission to get people talking has certainly succeeded.


Home base: New Brunswick, N.J.

Mascot: Scarlet Knights

Saying goodbye to… The Big East Conference

Enrollment: 42,327 undergraduates, 14,541 postgraduates

How far from Lincoln? 1,289 miles

When you think of Rutgers sports, you think … Football. That’s not to say Rutgers football has been great. For many years, the program was regarded as one of the worst in Division I. But there is some football history to be found here. Rutgers considers itself the birthplace of college football, since it hosted the first collegiate game in 1869. Rutgers beat a university that would later be known as Princeton 6-4 that day. Many lean years followed. But Rutgers has become a respectable program in recent years, ascending into the Top 10 in 2006 under Greg Schiano, now with the Tampa Bay Bucs. Running back Ray Rice was the most notable of those players that helped the Scarlet Knights gain national attention. The team is 9-1 this season under first-year coach Kyle Flood. The Scarlet Knights are ranked, though the competition they’ve faced in the Big East has left some unimpressed.

Football home: High Point Solutions Stadium (seats 52,454 and located in Piscataway, N.J.)

What about basketball? Rutgers does not have a rich hoops history, though they did participate in the Final Four in 1976, going 31-0 that regular season. More recently, the Scarlet Knights made it into the NIT final in 2004. They have not had a winning season since 2006.

Crew anyone? Yes, Rutgers participates in crew as well as field hockey and lacrosse. The Scarlet Knights no longer compete in fencing, but do have a 1949 national championship in the sport to their credit.

Some alums you might know: NBA commissioner David Stern, economist Milton Friedman, actor James Gandolfini, actress Calista Flockhart. The band “Looking Glass” was formed by Rutgers students. If the band doesn’t ring a bell, its No. 1 single might: “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl).”

Fun fact: Rutgers has campuses in Newark, Camden and New Brunswick. It has been declared the most diverse university in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Reach Brian Christopherson at 402-473-7439 or

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