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The news was not enough to dampen the joy in my heart which came from that lush array of turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie.
The item: Maryland had jettisoned the ACC for the Big Ten.
Along with Rutgers, the Terrapins were to become the 13th and 14th members of the most inaptly named Big Ten.
While not enough to put a hitch in my Turkey Day appetite, the news was enough to make me refrain from a third helping of green bean casserole.
The wife has a pretty light appetite, anyway. So I couldn't tell if the fact that her beloved Maryland was joining a bunch of Midwestern ruffians was the reason for her abstaining altogether from said green bean concoction. (Truth is, she fairly well abhors that casserole, which is my sole contribution to our cornucopia.)
Anyway, I'm a Minnesota guy, and the Gophers are founding members of the Big Ten.
Shouldn't the wife and I be pleased that her Terps will now be squaring off against my Golden Gophers on a regular basis?
Simply put: no.
The wife used to regale me with tales of how her days as a wee tyke. She'd smuggle a little transistor radio with a plastic ear piece into her bed so she could listen to her Terps duke it out with Duke. She'd stay awake to listen to Wake. Or Clemson or UVa.
Not Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana or Illinois.
I'm sorry, but there is something to be said for traditional rivalries and their being sustained.
Maryland was a part of the ACC since 1953. Over the course of that three-score year run, strong traditions and rivalries have been built with the Terps' ACC brethren.
Now, that all goes out the window. Who becomes the Terps natural rivals in the new Big Ten? Well, I guess you've got Rutgers, the other newcomer. Maryland doesn't even border New Jersey, though.
It does share a border with Pennsylvania. Is that what we get, some contrived rivalry? Or will we have to wait another half century to let time take its toll?
On the other side of the coin (i.e. "mine"), this is a lousy move by the Big Ten. Sure, I doff my cap to the suits that run the league. They now have a strong presence in the following major media markets: Chicago (University of Illinois, Northwestern), New York (Rutgers), Washington (Maryland), Detroit (Michigan, Michigan State), Minneapolis (Minnesota) and Lincoln (Nebraska).
Just kidding about that last one. Still, the Big Ten is blanketing the country, especially with its Big Ten Network.
OK. That's enough cap tipping. I still don't like the idea.
The Big Ten is history-laden. The wife has a laugh at my expense whenever I discuss some traditions. To wit: Minnesota plays Wisconsin (its neighbor to the east) for Paul Bunyan's Axe. It also plays Iowa (its neighbor to the south) for Floyd, the Bronze Pig of Rosedale. It challenges Michigan (a neighbor across Lake Superior) for the Little Brown Jug.
These prizes have been fought over for decades and decades. The Big Ten was meant to be all about the upper Midwest, and teams from that region fighting over things like the Old Oaken Bucket (Purdue-Indiana) or the Illibuck wooden turtle (Ohio State-Illinois).
Will they contrive some phony rivalry games between Maryland and members of the Big Ten? How about with the Purdue Boilermakers? The trophy could be the "Crabby, the Boiled Crab." Sheesh.
I understand the desire to enrich coffers. I further understand that tradition is clung to by those who don't like how the future looks.
Still, is it wrong to rue this move, from both sides of the equation? And for future generations?
After all, nobody listens to transistor radios anymore. But I suspect somewhere in the state of Maryland, a young girl will hold her iPod close to her pillow, listening to Terrapin games on a dark night.
Someday, she'll share stories of how she'd do that, listening to her beloved Terps play the likes of Northwestern and Michigan State.
I hope that will help win her guy's heart. But it's an easier sell with Duke and NC State.