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The One That Got Away

With the Big Ten adding Maryland and Rutgers, we take a look back at a school that would have made fewer dollars but far more sense.


So it looks like the Big Ten ACC Challenge will look a bit different in the near future. Fellow Chelonii enthusiasts from College Park, Maryland will be coming over to the good side and are bringing the Scarlet Knights of the Meadowlands with them. While the conference is (supposedly) adding a great deal of television exposure in Baltimore, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City, no one can pretend that the Big Ten geographically makes sense anymore. The era of sensible conferences is no more.

It makes all the sense in the world monetarily, but in this week of rivalries I am left wondering what could have been. When Nebraska joined up, there were rumors and rumblings that the Cornhuskers may have been bringing fellow Big 8 founding member Missouri with them. It was ultimately decided that the St. Louis and Kansas City markets just were not appealing enough to make the addition worth it and our neighbors to the southwest moved to the SEC. And like any responsible adult, I'm left wondering what could have been.

I've always felt a little letdown by the fact that Illinois has no true rival school. I want to feel that hatred. I want to bask in the glory that is unreasonable anger at a team just because they exist. And while Tim Beckman's attempts to make the Northwestern rivalry a real thing (which I am all for), it just doesn't have that real feeling. You know what would have felt real? A rivalry with the Tigers.

We already play them every year in basketball in what usually turns out to be a pretty interesting and enjoyable game (even when we wind up losing). And you can't tell me you wouldn't be more excited to watch a yearly football game against Mizzou as opposed to one against the Wildcats. Sure, recent history suggests that wouldn't go too well for us, but we'd finally have a rival that is more like us and what do people hate more than themselves? NOTHING.