The Big Ten added Maryland and Rutgers as members to its conference this week. The moves by the Big Ten were clearly to try and make money by moving into the largest TV market in the country in New York with Rutgers, and the ninth and 26th largest TV markets in Washington, DC, and Baltimore with Maryland.
Though the moves did not really have to do with performance on the football field by Rutgers and Maryland, listening to all the pundits and commentators one would think that Maryland and Rutgers were the two worst footballs schools in the country. I’m a Rutgers football fan, and have been since we went undefeated (11-0) in 1976.
Here is why Maryland and Rutgers football will be fine in the Big Ten based upon a very telling stat. That stat is the number of football players each school has in the NFL.
College football programs that can attract enough players who end up playing in the NFL can compete in any college football conference in the country.
- Maryland – 23 current NFL players went to Maryland
- Rutgers – 16
While Rutgers has seven less players in the NFL today than Maryland does, the Scarlet Knights have a number of seniors who will be in the NFL in 2013. Khaseem Greene is going to be a first round pick, while Logan Ryan and Brandon Coleman are almost certain to make NFL rosters next year. Rutgers has three or four more seniors who could also play in the NFL in 2013.
Rutgers also has many current underclassman who will end up in the NFL too. So Maryland and Rutgers have already shown they can attract NFL talent players to their football programs. Now let’s take a look at how many NFL players each Big Ten team has.
- Ohio State – 37 NFL players
- Iowa – 29
- Nebraska – 28
- Michigan – 25
- Wisconsin – 25
- Penn State – 23
- Illinois – 21
- Michigan State – 17
- Purdue – 17
- Indiana – 6
- Northwestern – 6
- Minnesota – 3
The average Big Ten team has 19.75 players currently in the NFL. So Maryland actually has more NFL players than the average Big Ten team, while Rutgers is pretty close to the average.
Based upon those stats, Maryland and Rutgers football can already compete in the Big Ten from a talent perspective. If joining the Big Ten helps Maryland and Rutgers recruit, they should do even better going forward.
The numbers listed above are fluid, as NFL teams make roster moves everyday. Rutgers had 17 NFL players a few days ago, and Michigan State had 16 until the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to sign Plaxico Burress.