Big Ten eyes Rutgers and Maryland for expansion

Kristian Dyer

Late Penn State coach Joe Paterno once said he thought Rutgers would be an ideal fit for the Big Ten.

Ten months after his passing, Paterno might get his wish.

Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel confirmed that Maryland and Rutgers are looking to bolt from the ACC and the Big East respectively to make the Big Ten a 14-team conference. According to multiple reports, negotiations between the two colleges and the Big Ten are ongoing but an announcement could be coming as early as Monday.

The move makes sense for the Big Ten, which has been adamant that is wants to expand from its current 12 teams to enhance the depth of its championship game on its football side. The Terrapins also would bring the Maryland and Washington D.C. television markets with them and Rutgers would be a way for the conference to tap into the lucrative New York City market, as well.

The Big Ten expanded to 12 teams in 2011 when it added Nebraska from the Big 12.

A request for comment by Yahoo! Sports to the University of Maryland went unanswered. A Rutgers spokesman declined to comment on the status of any negotiations between the university and the Big Ten.

News of a potential move comes a little over two months after Notre Dame, a prime target by the Big Ten for the next round of expansion, announced that it will move to the ACC for all sports except football in 2014.

While 4-7 Maryland is going through a difficult season, Rutgers adds a little credibility to the Big Ten based off this year's somewhat surprising 9-1 record. Currently, the Big Ten has just two ranked teams in the latest BCS rankings in what has been a down year for the conference.

A Big Ten team hasn't won the national championship since 2002 and the conference has only won one of the last eight Rose Bowls.

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Kristian Dyer is a freelance writer. Follow him @KristianRDyer

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