Hot Reads: Maryland’s Money

If you’re a fan of the New Recruiting — a.k.a. conference expansion — then this Washington Post story on how Maryland joined the Big Ten is your early Christmas present.

It is a fantastic piece of reporting and well worth the read, but the part that’s making waves locally — or at least people are trying to make it make waves — is this:

In the Big Ten, as in most conferences, each school receives an equal share of the league’s annual revenue. But Nebraska, which entered the Big Ten for competition in 2011, won’t receive the full share of revenue for several years, according to reports. Loh didn’t know it, but the Big Ten also was negotiating a deal to bring in Rutgers that would phase the Scarlet Knights into the conference over time. …

The Big Ten’s desire was to have new members earn a gradually larger piece of the revenue over a six-year period. But Maryland felt its stability in the ACC offered more bargaining leverage than Rutgers had in the crumbling Big East.

“There is no reason for us to leave,” Loh said. “So if we are going to consider, seriously, leaving, it has got to be worth our while.”

Perhaps, if the Big Ten really wanted Maryland, the two sides could figure out a way the Terrapins could receive a larger share of the Big Ten’s pie earlier. The potential solution was to get creative, according to two people with direct knowledge of the deal. By front-loading the deal — moving some money from years well into the future to the Terrapins’ first six years in the conference — Maryland was able to secure the cash it will need to address some of its immediate financial problems.

This lead most notably, but there were others, to ask: “Wonder what Nebraska thinks of that?”

The answer should be: not much. Maryland’s athletic department was, and still is, a mess financially. It needed the money up front.

Nebraska didn’t. Doesn’t seem like much to get worked up about. No need to wring hands over the fact that the Nebraska athletic department was on stable enough ground that it didn’t have to cut seven sports just before making the jump to the Big Ten.

Am I missing something?

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JAM-PACKED WITH ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS >>> Phil Steele released his All-Big Ten teams recently. All of the usual Nebraska suspects are there.

Kenny Bell, Spencer Long, Daimion Stafford and Brett Maher all made the first team. Taylor Martinez, Ameer Abdullah (as a punt returner, ironically), Jeremiah Sirles, Baker Steinkuhler, Eric Martin, and Will Compton landed on the second team. Ciante Evans is still criminally undervalued on the third team and Abdullah got the nod at running back there as well.

Looks like Steele liked the Huskers a little more than most.

BOWLIN’ >>> Pat Forde has his Forde-Yard Dash: Bowl Edtion up now. Here’s his pick for the Capital One Bowl:

Who wins: Georgia 40, Nebraska 24. Unless the Cornhuskers have rediscovered how to tackle since Dec. 1, the Bulldogs will trample them on the ground with Todd Gurley. Even before that bludgeoning from the Badgers, Nebraska had been slashed by UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin (217 yards), Ohio State’s Braxton Miller (186) and Carlos Hyde (140), Northwestern’s Venric Mark (118), Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell (188) and Penn State’s Zach Zwinek (141).

Tough to argue with that. How is Nebraska going to stop the run? That’s been the question all season and will likely carry on into 2013.

THE MOTIVATION QUESTION >>> Down South, in Georgia circles, they’re still angry about UGA getting the BCS shaft. That’s the gist of this column from the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Mark Bradley.

But danger awaits in Orlando. Georgia is clearly the superior team – Nebraska is ranked No. 23 by AP – but Georgia mightn’t have the greater motivation. Asked if he feared his team might believe it’s too good for the Capital One, Richt said: “I don’t think anybody is thinking that. The Capital One is a great bowl. Nebraska is a great program.”

Those are nice words from a famously nice man, but the reality is rather different. Thirty days after losing a national semifinal by four points and five yards, Georgia will face a much lesser opponent in a more austere setting. Spend those Best Buy gift bucks wisely, guys.

Cheers for getting all folksy and using “mightn’t.”