BY DAILY SPORTS STAFF
Published December 10, 2012
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Erik Bakich left Maryland after last season to take the head coaching job at Michigan. In College Park, he built an underachieving program into a successful team. Now he’ll have to play them each year.
The Wolverines have captured the Big Ten regular season title for the five years straight. They were the first team in the country east of the Mississippi to win a National Championship. Maryland has the best chance of challenging the Wolverines for Big Ten supremacy. Rutgers — not so much.
Since the NCAA added field hockey as a championship sport in 1981, Michigan has won one National Championship, in 2001. That puts them tied atop the conference, which has two National Championships. Maryland has eight.
Both the Terrapins and the Scarlet Knights appear to be on the rise. Maryland earned its highest ranking since 2004, and Rutgers’ new coach has injected new life into the program. The Big Ten is already a strong conference, with six teams in the top-25 last season. In 2014, it will get even stronger.
The Scarlet Knights fit well in the Big Ten — academically at least. The Terrapins don’t. But don’t blame the team — there isn’t one. Maryland can compete in non-conference competition, but that’s it. It competes at the club level only.
Rutgers and Maryland aren’t exactly tennis powerhouses.