By Steve Silverman
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Nobody is saying that Rutgers ever reached its full potential in college football.
They certainly developed into a competitive team under Greg Schiano, and he is enjoying the benefits of the excellent work he did as head coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs.
But the Rutgers Scarlet Knights are not anybody’s traditional rival in college football as a member of the Big East.
Rutgers has become the top dog of one of the lamest college football conferences, but does anyone circle the dates of Rutgers games against Syracuse, Louisville or Cincinnati?
It’s no better in basketball, either.
This is just a fact of life. When it comes to big-time college sports, nobody looks at Rutgers as that one team they want to beat.
But none of that will matter in the future. Rutgers is going to join the Big Ten and they are going to get paid big-time money.
However, once the newness of the move to the traditional Midwestern conference wears off, they may become one of the most forgotten teams in college sports once again.
The Big Ten also added Maryland, which also fits this league like a hero’s parade fits Alex Rodriguez.
The Big Ten wants Rutgers because it thinks it will deliver the New York metropolitan area television market and it wants Maryland because it thinks it will deliver the Washington D.C. TV market.
Rutgers will find itself in a division called the “Leaders.” They will find themselves in that division with Maryland and Penn State.
Rutgers is a good football team right now, but it does not have a great tradition in either sport. Unless the Scarlet Knights can continue to play at a high level and force their way into the elite of this league, they will become the ugly stepsisters. They will feel like the ex-husband who comes to the Thanksgiving dinner.
But they will get money thanks to the Big Ten television network. That network has been a huge moneymaker for the Big Ten and New York and Washington area fans will be able to get a look at local schools like Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
College sports is on the road to ruin because of all the money-driven conference shifts. Remember when Boston College was one of the premier members of the Big East. They went to the ACC for the money and they are no longer significant in either sport.
Fans know the difference. When Boston College used to tip off against St. John’s, Georgetown or Providence, those were games that meant something to fans. Do Boston fans care about Boston College going to Wake Forest for a big game?
Of course not.
There will be a few seasons of novelty factor. When Rutgers goes to Ohio State or Michigan for the first time, it will be fairly memorable.
But when the Scarlet Knights head to Columbus for the third or fourth time, nobody will care.
Rutgers has made great strides in football. But now it will be playing a lot of non-regional rivals. If they can’t keep up their recent level of excellence, this move will just be about money.
That can’t be good in the long run.
They have been dragged into the Big Ten because of their location, but none of their competitors really want them for any other reason.
Will the novelty of Rutgers joining the Big Ten wear off quickly? Sound off below…