For those who have read or seen “Cloud Atlas”... the above quote makes perfect sense in the changing world of college athletics.  Without safeguards and regulations, men and women and businesses and organizations succumb to self-preservation.  One way to be the best conference?  Pick off valuable pieces of other competing leagues.  The SEC helped send the SWC to irrelevance when it plucked Arkansas in 1990…and the ACC helped demolish the Big East by swiping Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College (followed by Syracuse and Pitt).  The Big XII lost schools to the Pac-12, SEC and Big Ten before  settling on West Virginia.  What was once the WAC is now littered across the landscape like the bones of an antelope that’s been savaged by beasts higher up the food chain.  And now Maryland leaves a league it’s been in for almost 60 years to join the Big Ten.

Two questions that have no relevance:  will the Big Ten use this opportunity to change its name to the BIG 13 or BIG 14 (if Rutgers follows as expected)?  And will the Terps be in the Leaders or Legends division?

Money is the root of all conference expansion… and despite the $50 million buyout, Maryland will make money in the long run from TV revenue.  For a school that had to slice 8 sports earlier this year, the infusion of cash cures all bad financial deals.  While parents won’t be able to see their kids play in Minneapolis, Miami and Boston weren’t day trips.  While football will likely be buried for the first few years (Illinois and Indiana may the only two schools the Terps can be expected to beat regularly)… basketball won’t be harmed with the direction Mark Turgeon is taking the program in.  But beware, the Big Ten is a league where 37-33 mens’ basketball scores occur.

Non-revenue “Olympic” sports will have tougher travel… and one wonders what sort of drag on revenues there will be.  But this is the world of college athletics we are living in… and as long as the NCAA decides to stay out of conference behavior (because they can definitely do that with student athletes) the weak remain the meat that the strong do eat.

Alma Mater Update– Pinstripes never smelled so good.  The Orange rally past Missouri… meaning the necessary 44 wing salute is pending.  Basketball can wait.

Virginia falls to 4-7 and out of bowl contention with a 37-13 loss to North Carolina.  A year that began with promise and elation ends like many have in Charlottesville recently.  Cavalier Congrats:  they actually won time of possession?  Cavalier Concerns: 2 for 15 on third down… and the quarterback carousel continues to confound.  Next Up:  Saturday at Virginia Tech.

Maryland also drops out of postseason possibilities with a 41-14 loss to #10 Florida State.  Before losing four quarterbacks, their leading rusher and leading tackler for the season this team looked like it might grit its way to 6 or 7 victories.  Instead, they now have to focus on getting Northwestern and Iowa film for 2013.  Terrapin Triumphs:  Kevin Dorsey caught a pair of TD passes in his final game at Byrd… and Kenny Tate notched 3 sacks in the final home game of his injury-marred career.  Terrapin Troubles:  two first quarter fumbles buried a team that needed to play a perfect game…and a combination of holding the ball and not holding blocks resulted in Shawn Petty getting sacked 5 times.  Next Up:  Saturday at North Carolina.

Virginia Tech keeps bowl hopes alive with a 30-23 overtime win at Boston College.  Just to show the state of the ACC, the Hokies may be one of five 6-6 teams when all is said and done.  Hokie Highlights:  thank goodness for Logan Thomas- 2 touchdown passes and a touchdown run keep Beamer’s bunch afloat.   Hokie Humblings:  BC is VERY BAD (2-9, 1-7) with their only league win coming against a 4th string QB that tore his ACL during the game.  And VT needed overtime?  Next Up:  Saturday vs Virginia.