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Welcome to the BIG Blog

Hello everyone and welcome to a new and exciting adventure!

New? Aren’t you that guy that used to write the mildly interesting and occasionally humorous ACC column as The Courtmaster?

Yes, I am, thanks for remembering, I think.

And exciting? Prove it pal.

(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)

Well, maybe I’ll just start out with mildly interesting and occasionally humorous and build from there.

It’s been ten years since I laid down The CourtMaster gavel. Recently, I’ve felt the itch to get back into sports writing, which prompted this inner dialogue between the current me and my 2007 writing self (followed by copious amounts of Tylenol):

2017 Jim: Hey! Hey, wake up!

2007 Writer: Who are you, and why are you yelling at me?

2017 Jim: I’m the part of your brain that shut you down, but it’s time to get back to the keyboard and write!

2007 Writer: Okay, how long have I been asleep?

2017 Jim: Ten years.

2007 Writer: Ten years? Wow! Do we have flying cars yet?

2017 Jim: Sadly, no.

2007 Writer: Too bad. So, did I miss anything important? We’re still talking about sports writing, right?

2017 Jim: Yes, you did miss a couple of things. And we’re going to write about the Big Ten now, not the ACC.

2007 Writer: Why would I want to do that? Did they learn how to do math yet?

2017 Jim: No, and they’ve grown from eleven to fourteen teams.

2007 Writer: Fourteen teams! How’d that happen! Remember when the WAC had 16 teams and split into two, giving us the Mountain West? Remember when the Big East got to 16 schools and we called it The Enormous East? Who got added to the Big Ten/Fourteen?

2017 Jim: They added Nebraska…

2007 Writer: That kind of makes sense actually, adding a Mid-Western school to a Mid-Western conference.

2017 Jim: …and Rutgers.

2007 Writer: Rutgers! How’d that happen! That doesn’t make any sense.

2017 Jim: The Big 10 wanted to tap into the New York market for their network.

2007 Writer: What! The Big Ten has their own TV network?

2017 Jim: Yes, and it’s actually doing quite well.

2007 Writer: Hey wait a minute, that’s only thirteen teams? Who’s the fourteenth. Oh, I know, they finally got Notre Dame to join, right?

2017 Jim: Actually, the Fighting Irish are part of the ACC now.

2007 Writer: The ACC! How’d that happen! That doesn’t make any sense. Football too?

2017 Jim: Kind of, they play five ACC teams every year.

2007 Writer. Go figure, but I guess it’s kind of cool to see the Terps play in South Bend every so often. So, who is the fourteenth Big 10 school and why should I care?

2017 Jim: Don’t get your heart set on seeing Maryland play Notre Dame in football anytime soon. You see, Maryland is the fourteenth school…

2007 Writer: Fourteenth school to do what-get in line to play Notre Dame?

2017 Jim: No, Maryland is in the Big Ten now.

2007 Writer: Holy Testudo!!!!!!! HOW’D THAT HAPPEN?????

2017 Jim: Yeah, I know. I even boycotted most of Maryland’s games for the first year. It’s been three years now and I’m starting to get used to it.

2007 Writer: So we’re on the Big Ten Network now. Do we play Penn State in football every year?

2017 Jim: Yes, and the Terps actually beat them, in Happy Valley, in 2014.

2007 Writer: Amazing! How’d that happen?

2017 Jim: It wasn’t pretty. Penn State was still transitioning after Paterno.

2007 Writer: Oh, Joe Pa finally retired?

2017 Jim: He passed away actually. Our friend Robin visited the campus and got a picture on Joe Pa’s statue wearing a Ravens’ cap before they took the statue down.

2007 Writer: Why did they take the statue down-was it drawing too many people to pay homage? I assume he set the all-time wins record before he passed away.

2017 Jim: He did, but they took a lot of them away as a result of the scandal.

2007 Writer: Scandal! How’d that happen?

2017 Jim: After we finish this peppy dialogue we’ll do a Vulcan mind meld and I’ll catch you up. It’s a long sad story.

2007 Writer: So I guess the Big Ten wanted Maryland for the TV market, but why did Maryland want the Big Ten? I know the ACC got a bit watered down when they added Virginia Tech, Miami, and Boston College, but the Big Ten? Why?

2017 Jim: Come on buddy, you’ve missed ten years but you don’t have amnesia. What drives any decision like this in college sports?

2007 Writer. Oh yeah, I remember, money. I suppose there’s more to be had from the Big Ten with their own TV network than the ACC could offer. How acrimonious was the split?

2017 Jim: Not so much acrimonious as it was expensive. After the lawyers got done, Maryland had to pay $31,361,788 to leave. Their Big Ten revenue is being phased in through 2021, but a full share in 2016 was $34.8 million. They’ll make it back soon enough.

2007 Writer: Sigh. Okay. Did they get West Virginia in to replace them?

2017 Jim: No, they had added Pitt and Syracuse, then Louisville when Maryland left. West Virginia is in the Big 12?

2007 Writer: Does anyone understand geography anymore? Well, at least the Big 12 could do math.

2017 Jim: They only have ten schools now. They lost Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC.

2007 Writer: This is a confusing world you’ve dragged me back into. Why?

2017 Jim: I need you CourtMaster! My passion for college sports has faded since I stopped writing. I need to get back to the keyboard and have the CourtMaster revive that passon!

2007 Writer: The CourtMaster’s days have passed, my friend. These are different times with BIG issues, BIG money, and BIG games to write about. We need a BIG blog!

2017 Jim: Yes! Welcome back my friend. Let’s find the keyboard and start banging out some mildly interesting and occasionally humorous columns!

2007 Writer: By God let’s do it! By the way, you remember how much we liked The Apprentice TV show, is that still on? I just can’t get enough of Trump-you’re fired!

2017 Jim: If you can’t get enough of Trump, you’re going to love 2017. He’s President.

2007 Writer: Of what?

2017 Jim: The United States.


2017 Jim: Let’s just stick to sports, ok?

2007 Writer. Absolutely! Geez, I thought the sports stuff was strange. I’ll stick with that where it’s still relatively safe.


There we are folks, the beginning of a new era, if you even believe I get an era. I’d really like an era so work with me on that, okay?   Since I stopped sulking Maryland after joined the Big 10, I’ve found the conference to be very interesting with a lot of good stories to tell.

I’ll be here every week sharing some of those stories, often from the point of view of how the Terps are impacted. I’ll start next week with a look at the East Division of Big 10 Football and evaluate the Terps’ chances of competing. You can also follow me on Twitter @The_BIGBlog and reach me by e-mail at [email protected] I’ll also be hanging out on the message boards, mostly in the University of Maryland & NCAA sections so we can share our thoughts there.

Until then, live large and have a BIG week everyone.

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Written by Jim Johnson
9 months ago
College Football,

Jim Johnson

Jim Johnson is a life-long Maryland Terrapins and college sports fan and a proud U of Md. alum. Jim started writing about the Terps on his own blog during the Steve Francis season of 1998-99. He then moved on to cover ACC hoops and football across the Internet, adopting the moniker "The Courtmaster" and becoming a frequent "expert" guest on Bob Haynie's old WNST show and other sports radio stations across the country. You can find some of his classic (?) work on his old blog. Jim laid down his gavel in 2007 and is returning to sportswriting after a sabbatical he spent furthering his career as a non-profit executive and senior accounting professional, becoming an ordained minister, and gnashing his teeth/sulking about Maryland joining the Big Ten. He figured the best way to scratch his sportswriting itch was to dive in head first to learn about the Big Ten, the current teams, schools, and history, and share what he learns with our readers. Jim enjoys interacting with readers, exchanging ideas, and most of all having fun. You can chat with him on the message boards or by e-mail at [email protected]


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