As Maryland prepares to move to the Big Ten this summer, games against the likes of Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers – in addition to its traditional series with Johns Hopkins – are tantalizing matchups on the upcoming schedule.
But who the Terps can retain from their days in the Atlantic Coast Conference could be just as compelling.
For decades, the program battled with Duke, North Carolina and Virginia. And when Notre Dame and Syracuse joined the league for the 2014 campaign, the contests were must-see opportunities for fans.
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So which rivalries will Maryland prioritize for the 2015 season? Coach John Tillman acknowledged that history could be a factor in those decisions.
“I think we have to be sensitive to the long-standing rivalries,” he said. “When you play the traditional and long-standing games as long as we have, I think those games mean more to the schools, the alums. So we’re going to work hard, and we’ve been open in our dialogue with them. We’re going to do everything we can to make that work. We know we have to be flexible. It has to work on both ends.”
Using Tillman’s comments as a guideline, it would seem that the list begins with Virginia, which has played the Terps 91 times. Duke is second at 82, and North Carolina third at 63.
Maryland has met Syracuse 16 times and Notre Dame just eight times, which would seem to put them on the bubble. But Tillman noted that many alumni of the program have expressed an interest in seeing the Orange and Fighting Irish on an annual basis.
“We also know from some of our other alums that the other ACC schools, how important that’s been to them,” he said. “So I’m going to really work hard to try to do that. For Syracuse and Notre Dame, it will boil down to what works best for them and if they can fit Maryland in and if that works for them.”
In the end, what may work boils down to available dates. Using many conferences’ preference for league contests to occur in late March and April as a template, games against Syracuse (which was played on Feb. 22), Duke (March 1) and North Carolina (March 22) could fit the Terps’ schedule if those schools have openings around those dates, too. Contests against Virginia (March 30) and Notre Dame (April 19) would appear to be more doubtful.