Maryland stunned the college sports world Monday when it announced its move to the Big 10. Press conferences involving school and Big Ten officials revealed that the two sides reached a marriage of financial convenience. The Big Ten wanted access to the Washington and Baltimore TV markets for its Big Ten network, and Maryland wanted a higher payday to save its deficit-laden athletic department. The effect of Maryland’s departure on Virginia, and on the ACC as a whole, remains to be seen. But we can surmise a few points even at this early stage.
We know for a fact that Maryland’s departure will cost Virginia its crossover opponent in football and one of its two home-and-home partners in men’s and women’s basketball. In addition, as Jerry Ratcliffe of the Daily Progress writes, Maryland will likely have to play as an independent in lacrosse because the Big Ten doesn’t have a lacrosse league. We don’t know if Virginia will schedule Maryland as an out-of-conference opponent in any sport going forward. It seems doubtful for the time being.
We know that the Virginia-Maryland rivalry will disappear, at least temporarily. Not many Virginia fans would admit to having a rivalry with Maryland. Even fewer would admit to enjoying one. But it’s pretty clear from the comments from football players this season that there was some animosity between the two sides. Former coaches Al Groh and Ralph Friedgen had no love lost for each other, and in the pre-expansion era it appeared the two schools were jockeying to challenge Florida State’s football preeminence. Randy Edsall infamously claimed "we don't lose to Virginia" in 2011, adding fuel to the fire. Maryland and Virginia have played a number of exciting basketball games over the years, and the two teams met for the 2011 national championship in lacrosse.
It’s unclear who will replace Maryland as an opponent or rival for Virginia. If the ACC chooses to replace the Terps with a fourteenth, it could slide the new team neatly into Maryland’s place in the schedule. So it’s possible that UConn or Louisville could be Virginia’s new football crossover opponent and home-and-home hoops partner. That idea probably doesn’t excite many Cavalier fans. Even the most genteel Wahoo would admit that disdain is far superior to indifference in the emotional hierarchy of college sports.