One of the best things about Maryland joining the Big Ten? The rekindling of a rivalry.
The Terps had a longstanding rivalry with Penn State, with the teams first meeting in 1917 and playing all the way up until 1993 (the Lions' first season in the Big Ten). But the early 1990s saw the rivalry come to an end.
The Terps and Nittany Lions will meet on Nov. 1 in Happy Valley, the first meeting between the two rivals in more than 20 years. Perhaps this meeting will see Maryland grab its second win in the series. That’s right, while this rivalry went on for decades, it was one of the more lopsided ones in college football history. Penn State leads, 35-1-1 (the tie came in 1989, the Maryland win in 1961). How lopsided? Here are the scores of the last three get togethers: 47-7, 49-13, 70-7.
But recently, the rivalry looks like it could get hotter off the field than on it.
James Franklin, the brand-new head coach at Penn State, has made no secret about his desire to start dominating recruiting throughout the region. He said at his introductory press conference how he’d like to control the state of Pennsylvania, and even more recently he’s shown a disregard for state borders altogether, claiming that nearby areas outside Pennsylvania still count as Pennsylvania.
And that includes Maryland.
"I made a comment earlier, and I think people took it out of context, but we're going to treat New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, D.C. and northern Virginia as in-state areas for us in terms of the attention that we put on it," Franklin said at a May press conference while on the Penn State coaches caravan. "You take a six-hour radius of campus, that's what we're going to treat as in-state, then we'll go other places to recruit nationally to do what we have to do to put our roster together. We're going to approach it as in-state.”
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Well, Maryland head coach Randy Edsall has an opinion on Franklin’s reworking of American geography.
"We're not gonna boast and brag. We're more about substance at Maryland," Edsall was quoted as saying in a story published by the York Dispatch. "We're gonna find guys that fit the profile we're looking for. We're gonna worry about ourselves and not worry about anything else. Talk is cheap.”
Hey now. Them be fighting words, wouldn’t you say?
While Edsall’s quote does read as a bit antagonistic, the Internet might have gone a little overboard on Tuesday. The story in the Dispatch made a point of saying this isn’t a war of words, and Edsall went on to talk about just how one-sided the historical rivalry between the two schools has been.
"Maryland has not had a lot of success against Penn State. We're (1-35-1) against them, but there's been some great games in that series," Edsall said. "I think it's something that can be a good rivalry. We have to do something about that on our end. I think it's just a natural fit. It'll be fun to play. To be able to play against them is fun. They're a good program and good school. Being a border rival is something, to me, that will be exciting for both schools."
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See? Not nearly as bulletin-boardy as some might have hoped. But make no mistake, the rivalry is back on. With both schools a part of the new Big Ten East Division, they’ll play every single year. And, if Franklin’s plan is put into practice, the two schools will be in direct competition for the region’s top recruits.
Already, the Nittany Lions have seven players on the roster from Maryland. The Terps have nine players from Pennsylvania.
Welcome back, Maryland-Penn State rivalry.