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Rutgers to Big 10 makes perfect $ense

Rutgers to the Big Ten makes all the sense in the world. Sure, geographically it might look a little funny, but in the grand scheme of things where a team resides in this country doesn’t really matter.

Syracuse and Boston College are in the ACC, West Virginia is in the Big 12, Hofstra is in the CAA, a conference where most of its teams resides south of Pennsylvania. Even Stony Brook plays its football in the Big South or at least the Seawolves will until next season.

The bottom line is Rutgers bolting for the Big Ten shouldn’t create too many ripples. Another reason Rutgers leaving for the Big Ten isn’t really a big deal is because the Big East doesn’t have a real football tradition and there are no big time rivalries.

Does anyone really care that you likely won’t see Rutgers against Louisville again? How about that annual Rutgers-UConn tilt? What about Rutgers vs. Cincinnati or the Scarlet Knights against Temple? Sorry, no sale here. There just isn’t anything of value that Rutgers is leaving behind.

If anything, Rutgers could build a rivalry with Penn State. Both are big state schools that reside in states that border each other. Rutgers and Penn State’s recruiting lists do overlap to an extent. With the programs in the same conference, the recruiting wars will intensify.

Moving to the Big Ten will increase Rutgers’ profile, expand its recruiting base and probably boost its enrollment. And we can’t forget the money. Rutgers will be the beneficiary of an annual $22 million-plus payout from the Big Ten Network every year.

We’re pretty sure that Rutgers administrators and New Jersey State government officials are smiling about that.

Here’s another reason why this move makes sense. ESPN.com reported that Boise State, San Diego State and BYU had discussions with the Mountain West about returning to the league. That would be another blow to the Big East if those teams bolted.

Those discussions reportedly began after the BCS commissioners decided to award a berth in a BCS bowl to the highest rated champ from the Big East, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt Conferences.

Then there is the psychological impact. Rutgers in the Big Ten? Five or 10 years ago no one, including the Scarlet Knights faithful, would’ve even dreamed something like that was possible. Just to say you are in the Big Ten will bring more respect and media coverage.

As for what this means for the Big Ten, people are overstating things a bit. The theory is Rutgers football and basketball will bring the New York tri-state area television market into the mix.

Really?

With all due respect to Rutgers, which has made six straight bowl games (winning 5) and is on the verge of another postseason appearance this season, how many people are actually tuning in to watch them? There will certainly be a few more eyes, but not enough to tilt the balance of power in the Nielsen Ratings.

That theory could change, however, if the Big Ten Network is added to any of the major cable networks (Cablevision, Time Warner, Comcast) in the New York Tri-State area. The same holds true for the Maryland/Washington D.C. television market.