Capitals

Maryland's nears decision on move to Big Ten

201211171433524262657-p2.jpeg

Maryland's nears decision on move to Big Ten

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) The University of Maryland's decision to stay in the Atlantic Coast Conference or join the Big Ten comes down to tradition versus money.

Given the plight of the school's struggling athletic program, the Terrapins' stature as a charter member of the ACC may not mean as much as the prospect of playing a home football game against, say, Ohio State, and being part of a league that generates more revenue.

The Board of Regents is scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the joining the Big Ten. If Maryland approves the move and applies for admission, Rutgers is expected to follow suit and leave the Big East. That would leave the Big Ten with 14 schools.

An announcement on Maryland's final decision is expected this week, maybe as soon as Monday.

The addition of Maryland and Rutgers, located in New Brunswick, N.J., about 40 miles south of New York city, would give the Big Ten an added presence in the East - along with Penn State - and add two huge television markets. Which explains in part why the Big Ten is courting Maryland and offering a fee to join, enough to at least partially offset the $50 million exit fee the ACC approved by vote in September after adding Notre Dame.

By leaving the ACC, Maryland would be breaking ties and rivalries with many schools it has competed against since 1953. There are few bigger college basketball games than Maryland vs. Duke, and Terrapins fans for decades have made up a decent portion of the crowd at the ACC basketball tournament.

Unfortunately, tradition doesn't fill the football stadium on Saturdays. Maryland can't sell out the luxury boxes at the newly renovated Tyser Tower inside Byrd Stadium, and only 35,244 fans showed up Saturday on senior day for a game against 10th-ranked Florida State.

Maryland lost to the Seminoles 41-14, its fifth straight defeat. The Terrapins (4-7) close out their second season under coach Randy Edsall at North Carolina next week, and he insisted Sunday that his attention was centered solely upon the present rather than the future of the program.

Asked his opinion of the potential move to the Big Ten, Edsall responded, ``My whole focus is trying to clear things up from Florida State and getting ready for North Carolina. ... I'm just concentrating on North Carolina.''

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood had a similar response when asked about the reports during a Sunday teleconference with reporters.

``''The best thing for me do to is not react to it,'' he said.

Maryland's six home games this season averaged 36,022 fans in a stadium that seats 54,000. Home matchups against Ohio State, Michigan and Nebraska would surely be sellouts. And, it is entirely possible that the school would consider expanding the on-campus stadium if it joins the Big Ten.

There's also the matter of the Big Ten television contract, which is far more lucrative than the one the ACC has currently in place. The Big Ten network has also become a cash cow for the league since it started in 2007. According to a May report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Big Ten schools receive about $24.6 million in revenue from the conference this year. With two more major television markets in the conference's footprint, that could go up.

Maryland this year cut seven sports programs because of budget concerns. Instead of merely surviving, the athletics department might even flourish if the Terrapins become part of the Big Ten.

But the prospective move would call for longer road trips. Instead of taking a bus trip to North Carolina for a basketball game against the Tar Heels, Maryland would be forced to fly to the Midwest, perhaps in a snowstorm. And while a visit from the Ohio State football team would be extremely interesting and unique, the curiosity factor would drop off considerably for a game against Minnesota or Iowa.

Those against the move cite tradition is the key factor. But university president Wallace D. Loh has no significant ties to the ACC. In fact, he came to Maryland in November 2010 after serving as the University of Iowa provost. Athletic director Kevin Anderson was hired in 2010 after a seven-year stint at Army.

Anderson did not respond to text messages from The Associated Press this weekend. It is likely, however, that the prospective move is being championed by Loh, who was slated to brief the Board of Regents on Sunday in advance of Monday's session.

The 17-member Board of Regents governs the University System of Maryland. Appointed by the governor, the regents oversee the system's academic, administrative and financial operations. It also formulates policy.

Quick Links

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Players to watch

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Players to watch

It doesn't take an expert to tell you players like Alex Ovechkin or Marc-Andre Fleury will play a big role in the Stanley Cup Final.

Both the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights will need their best players to be at their best to take home the Cup. But who will be the unexpected heroes? Who are the players no one is talking about who will have a big hand in their team's success or defeat in this series?

Here are five players you should be watching in the Stanley Cup:

1. Devante Smith-Pelly: Smith-Pelly had seven goals in 79 games in the regular season. Now he has four goals in just 19 playoff games.

Smith-Pelly has been one of those unlikely playoff heroes for the Caps this postseason with very timely performances such as scoring the series-clinching goal in Game 6 against the Columbus Blue and scoring the goal that put the game away in Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The physical play has really stood out as well for him, which fits well on the fourth line role he has settled back into now that the team is healthy again. Barry Trotz tried moving him to the top line in the absence of Tom Wilson and the results weren't great. He is best suited for the role he currently has and that will allow him to thrive.

2. James Neal: Neal came up just short of the Stanley Cup last season as a member of the Nashville Predators. He totaled nine points in 22 games during that run, a number he has already matched in just 15 games this postseason.

There are very few players on either team that boast the kind of postseason experience Neal has. He will be leaned upon this series for his leadership.

Vegas is a young team and their unprecedented success in the playoffs may make this feel like the first run of many for the Golden Knights, but not for Neal who is on the last year of his contract and came tantalizingly close to the Cup last season. He will play like there is no tomorrow because, for him, there may not be in Vegas.

3. Andre Burakovsky: Burakovsky was one of the heroes of Game 7 with two goals to put away the Tampa Bay Lightning. That marked just the latest peak in a career full of peaks and valleys for the young winger. Just two games before, Burakovsky was a healthy scratch and spoke to the media about his plans to speak with a sports psychologist in the offseason.

The talent is there and it certainly appears that the injury that kept him out earlier in the playoffs is largely behind him. Burakovsky’s issues have always been mainly between the ears. In a series against a fast team with strong depth, he can be an absolutely critical piece for the Caps. Hopefully, his Game 7 performance gave him the confidence he needs to continue to be effective.

4. Ryan Reaves: Vegas acquired both Reaves and Tomas Tatar around the trade deadline. If I were to tell you that through three rounds of the playoffs, both players were healthy, had played the same number of games (6) and had the same number of points (1), you’d think I was crazy. Yet, here we are.

Reaves was largely an afterthought in a complicated trade between Vegas, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators, but he has carved a nice role for himself on the Golden Knights’ fourth line and even scored the goal that sent Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final against the Winnipeg Jets.

Reaves is also an agitator on the ice, but what do the Caps do against a player like that when their normal fighter plays on the top line? We may see Reaves and Wilson come to blows this series, but it won't be very often because that is a bad tradeoff for the Caps.

5. Brooks Orpik: The elder statesman of the blue line, Orpik is the only player on the Caps with a Stanley Cup to his name and is the only one who has any idea what this experience is going to be like for the team.

Orpik is very diligent about keeping in shape which has allowed him to play in 81 games this season and all 19 playoff games despite being 37 years old, but you do have to wonder how much is left in the tank. Despite being the favorite whipping boy for the proponents of analytics, his physical play has been effective this postseason. The focus he placed on the skating in the offseason has paid dividends so far in matchups against the speedy Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Golden Knights will be the fastest team they have played yet. There is no denying Orpik is much more suited towards a physical style of game. Wil he continue to be effective or will Vegas exploit the Caps' third defensive pairing?

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

Quick Links

Capitals vs. Golden Knights Game 1 Stanley Cup Final: Date, Time, TV Channel, Livestrem

ap_18146636573129.jpg
AP Images

Capitals vs. Golden Knights Game 1 Stanley Cup Final: Date, Time, TV Channel, Livestrem

The wait is finally over. 

After two decades, the Capitals are back in the Stanley Cup Final. 

After a convincing 4-0 win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Capitals are in Vegas to take on the Golden Knights. They'll be facing off against a handful of familiar names, with former Caps GM George McPhee, fan favorite Nate Schmidt, and ex-Penguins goalie Marc Andre-Fluery are just a few of the names that'll be suiting up for Vegas. 

What will the X-factors in the series be? Who will be the unexpected heroes of Game 1? The action is almost underway, and here are all the details you need to know.

Game 1 Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Monday, May 28
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV.
TV Channel: NBCSN 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 FM)

WHEN IS GAME 1 OF THE CAPITALS-GOLDEN KNIGHTS SERIES?

Game 1 of the Capitals-Golden Knights 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final takes place on Monday, May 28 at 8:00 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.

WHAT TV CHANNEL IS GAME 1 OF THE CAPITALS-GOLDEN KNIGHTS SERIES ON?

The TV broadcast of Game 1 between the Capitals and Golden Knights is on NBC. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

5:00 p.m. — Caps Cup Preview
6:00 p.m. — Caps GameDay Live
6:30 p.m. — Caps Face Off
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Game 1 Capitals vs. Golden Knights
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM CAPITALS vs. GOLDEN KNIGHTS GAME 1?

Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Golden Knights is available for online stream on the NBC Sports App. Click here for the NBC Sports live stream page.

CAPITALS vs. GOLDEN KNIGHTS GAME 1 OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals digital producer JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.