Maryland, Penn State could start a rivalry

CHICAGO — With the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, there is that undeniable competitiveness between the coaches, the players and the fan bases.

Fans say ridiculous things to each other, whether it's in person on Facebook or on another form of social media.


Players like Terrell Suggs wear t-shirts that say, "You bet your sweet [expletive] I hate the Steelers."

There is even some bad blood among the coaches, as was documented by USA Today in 2012.


All in all, it's a game that both organizations are passionate about, and each matchup is played with a playoff-like intensity because of that natural competitiveness and disdain between both sides.

Maryland doesn't have anything like that, at least not yet. With the move to the Big Ten comes opportunities as far as recruiting, exposure and building fan interest. The move — and the subsequent annual games against Penn State that come along with it — also gives the Terps an opportunity to build that sort of Steelers-like rivalry that it never truly had in the ACC.

"I could definitely see that happening," Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown said. "That would be great for college football. That would be great for our school. That would be great for their school. So I definitely see that playing out."

The necessary elements are there.


The two schools are only a few hours away from each other. They are constantly competing for the same recruits. They both have numerous players from either Maryland or Pennsylvania, players that are familiar with each other and maybe even competed against each other in high school.

There is also the coaching side to it.

James Franklin was passed over for the Maryland job when the Terps hired Randy Edsall in 2011, and Edsall was irritated at some of Franklin's comments about Franklin's plans for recruiting in the state of Maryland in May.

Edsall was asked on Monday if he had talked to Franklin at all during the early portion of Big Ten media days.

He shook his head and said, "Just said hello, just like I did with all the other coaches around the table. That was about it."

Is this Ravens-Steelers yet by any means? No. But Brown acknowledges that there is a noticeable buzz building around this Maryland-Penn State relationship.

"Of course you do," he said.

However, as Brown and cornerback Jeremiah Johnson both pointed out, most of the animosity and the traded words to this point have simply been between the coaches.

"I've always felt like a rivalry is solely off of what happens on the field," Johnson said. "I think if it comes down to being an epic game or a tight game the whole game, then you can call it a rivalry. But for me, all the off the field stuff, it's not what makes the rivalry. I think it's more so the players. When you step on the field and say, 'Man, I don't like these guys' or 'I want to beat them,' and I don't think there's any animosity between the players."

Like Johnson also alluded to, the great rivalries also typically involve consistently competitive games or both teams being consistently competitive on a national level.

Ohio State and Michigan are both consistent BCS contenders.

So are Auburn and Alabama.

Maryland doesn't have that caliber of resume. The Terps have also been thoroughly dominated in their history against Penn State.

The two schools have not played since 1993. But as it stands now, Penn State is 35-1-1 all-time against Maryland and won the last three matchups by a combined score of 166-27.

"I've stated on numerous occasions that it's more on us than anybody else because when you take a look at the record, it's not very good," Edsall said. "There's been some great games played, but that's up to us to make sure that happens. And the best way you do that is going out and preparing yourself each and every day to be the best you can. If you do that and you go out and beat people, that creates the rivalries and creates the enthusiasm that comes with playing other teams."

Some in the media have talked about a potential rivalry building between Maryland and Rutgers as well, but there doesn't seem to have the same buzz at this point as the one between Maryland and Penn State.

"I do think there's a regional aspect to it," Franklin said."There's no doubt about it with those two schools. I think they're a great addition for the conference as a whole [for] a lot of different reasons, [and] I'm looking forward to competing with them in recruiting, looking forward to competing with them on the field."

The first matchup will be Nov. 1 at Penn State.

Both teams will have several important games before that point, and how both teams do in those games will likely either increase or decrease the level of interest in this potential rivalry game. But that buzz seems to be building.

"I hope it happens," said ESPN college football analyst Todd Blackledge, who played quarterback at Penn State from 1979-82."When I was at Penn State, we played Maryland every year. We played Rutgers every year. Penn State was the beast of the east when I was there, and I think having that little eastern flavor back in the Big Ten will be fun."

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