We got our chance to talk about our future ACC rivals in the "Meet Your New Neighbors" series. Now those same folks that we lightly poked fun at get to offer up their own opinions of us! Each week, I'll be posting Q&A responses from one of the 12 current ACC schools, and I'll also be submitting to some questioning on their respective sites, too. It should be fun, and if we're lucky, people might get as angry as they did in the Virginia Tech profile comment thread.
This week, we get to chat with Testudo Times' Ben Broman. While some Terps fans appear to have their respective eyes on the Big Ten (not the only school trying to bail on us), Ben's still a fan of SU joining the ACC. Though Maryland is also trying to keep Johns Hopkins all to itself as a rival...
Also see our conversation with From the Rumble Seat.
Was Syracuse your first choice for ACC expansion?
TT: Actually, yes. 'Cuse and Pitt were pretty easily my two preferred options when the ACC was looking around, with UConn and Rutgers falling in behind if they ever wanted 16. By far the strongest and most stable programs in the Big East, and the ones that best fit in with the ACC. And we like lacrosse, too, so Syracuse was a nice bonus there. I was pretty delighted when it happened.
Are you guys happy with the ACC? We've heard some rumors you're interested in the Big Ten, but are they giving Maryland a serious look?
TT: If you mean "you guys" as the Maryland fanbase in general, it's going to vary based on who you ask. There's a very large group -- probably a majority, if I had to guess -- that wants to stay in the ACC. They tend to be basketball-focused and have a strong sentimental attachment to the ACC, given the whole "founding member" thing. But I've been on the Big Ten bandwagon for quite some time now, and with the recent disappointing TV deal, it's starting to pick up some steam. The travel could be problematic and losing the ability to play Duke/UNC (and laugh at State) on a regular basis will hurt, but the financial and academic benefits are far too much for me -- and, I think, for the administrators in College Park -- to ignore.
As you say, though, the big question is whether or not the Big Ten wants us
. I don't know for sure, but I'd like to think that Maryland is one of their most attractive options after Notre Dame. There are some definite positives, particularly the ability to deliver two sizable markets (at least more than anyone else can), a potentially very good basketball program, and the academic strength of the university. Football is a concern and Randy Edsall is obviously scary as hell at the head of the program, but the administration is pouring money in and Under Armour is looking to make Maryland their Nike, so there's potential there. If they were going to add two to four more, Maryland would at least be in that conversation.
Do you think Syracuse helps or hurts Maryland's chances of getting back to the early 00s glory days of Terps basketball? Or no effect whatsoever? We've done a pretty good job recruiting in your backyard (Baltimore) over the years.
TT: I don't think it has any significant effect, to be honest. It strengthens the conference, which is a good thing, but Maryland should be getting back to the glory days of at least the late-90s Gary Era regardless of the strength or weakness of the ACC. And while Syracuse owned Baltimore for a period, the recruiting shake-up that's taken place over the past two years should insulate them from the new competition. Bino Ranson has put Maryland back in the picture for every kid with ties to Baltimore, including Nick Faust and Andrew and Aaron Harrison, whose father grew up near Ranson. (Fun fact: Ranson is commonly known as "Uncle Bino" in the city.) Dalonte Hill is well-known for his ability to recruit the D.C. area. And Turgeon's chief assistant Scott Spinelli has significant northeastern prep ties. Syracuse joining the ACC means more competition in this area, but Maryland hasn't had this impressive and varied a recruiting set-up since the days of Lefty Driesell.
How are things going with Randy Edsall? Though he's a Syracuse grad, we're really not too fond of him over here. Think he'll be fired this season?
TT: Ah, ol' Rangoon. Yeah, we aren't really too fond of him, either. I'm sure you know last year was a trainwreck on the field, but the issues stretched so much farther than just losing games. The man has as much tact as a ten-dollar hooker (bless their hearts). He lost the locker room, drove players away, and was a disaster with the media. The rabble had the pitchforks out by the end of the year, and some big names were asking some very serious questions.
Thing is, Kevin Anderson's job security as AD is directly tied to Edsall's as coach. (Remember: as well as the Mark Turgeon hire looked to turn out, he could've had Sean Miller or maybe Brad Stevens had he not dillied about and blown the Miller interview. The only reason someone like Turgeon was available was the stature of Maryland basketball. Anderson has done little well in his time here.) If he fires Edsall, it's likely that Anderson will be on the way out with him. So he'll give him as much time as possible. If there's another 2-10 or 3-9 season this year, that could be the end of the road for both of them. But if he can get four or five wins he's probably safe, especially with the recent, Mike Locksley-driven recruiting turn-around (and his way-too-big buyout).
Any tips for getting by in the ACC (dos, don'ts for fans)?
TT: Do: like basketball and lacrosse; be nonchalant about the oblong ball; have a taste for Bojangles, Food Lion, and Havoline, because literally everything the conference does will be sponsored by some combination of those three. Don't: be from somewhere other than Carolina.
I'm sure you've heard that before, but we Marylanders especially pound it into the ground. We were the red-headed stepchild in the north (despite being a founding member) for decades, and those who were around in the 70s will tell horror stories (of admittedly questionable repute) about officiating in the '70s. Hating the ACC-Carolina connection is simply ingrained in the culture by now.
Thoughts on Syracuse overall? (both as an institution and an athletic program)?
TT: I have nothing but respect for Syracuse, really, on both institutional and academic grounds. (Considered going there for a spell, until I realized what a Syracuse winter would mean.) Boeheim can be annoying and cranky, but he was good friends with Gary so he's always been on my good list. I like the orange color scheme, and having a citrus fruit as a mascot is bold and probably delicious. My only qualm: Hopkins is ours. Find your own lacrosse rival. But other than that, if Maryland were a private school in the Northeast, we'd probably be Syracuse.
Thanks again to Ben Broman for taking the time out to answer these questions!
John Cassillo authors Atlantic Coast Convos, which chronicles ACC (Plus Syracuse & Pittsburgh) football. Check out the blog, and follow him on Twitter: @JohnCassillo