It appears as though the chickens are coming home to roost. They say hindsight is always 20/20, but even then Maryland fans knew what personnel errors had been made. After a 9-4 revival season in 2010, that earned then-head coach Ralph Friedgen ACC Coach of the Year honors, athletic director Kevin Anderson made the difficult decision to let Friedgen go. He received much backlash from fans who had grown loyal to the man who took Maryland to it’s most recent BCS bowl appearance, the 2002 Orange Bowl. Then when you thought matters couldn’t get any worse, Anderson disregarded his promise to coach-in-waiting and then-offensive coordinator James Franklin and hired Connecticut head coach Randy Edsall instead. Franklin went on to fill the head coaching vacancy at Vanderbilt.
Maryland and Rutgers will be joining the Big Ten next year. I’ll spare details because they’re well documented but what’s key here is that it’s not known who Maryland’s new rival would be. An unfortunate situation, one of the draws of leaving the ACC was to stop the endless cycle of third wheeling UNC and Duke. No one was circling Maryland on their schedule in the ACC, now it’s time to wonder who’s gonna do it in the Big Ten.
Given the events of the last week, it’s a fair assumption to say that Penn State will have a giant red circle with big X through it and a description in the margin that says “MUST WIN” right next to Maryland week. Earlier this month after Bill O’Brien accepted an offer from the Houston Texans, Penn State looked at a long list of candidates and signed James Franklin of all people. Unfortunately for Maryland that’s the guy they left out in the cold, vengeance will be wearing blue and white next year.
As if that wasn’t enough, Franklin’s signing was the calm before the storm. Friedgen is expected to be named the Rutgers OC in the coming days. Rutgers will be joining Maryland on the move into the Big Ten, and will be in their vicinity in the standings for sure. Friedgen has been out of coaching since his spiteful departure from College Park, in which time the Maryland alum has burned his diploma and gone on record saying he wants nothing do with the University.
Randy Edsall is on the hot seat, and his job just got harder. The only thing he can look forward to is coaching the start of what I anticipate will be a long-lived rivalry between Penn State and Maryland. On paper it’s a fit for both. Penn State has been riding the coattails of the Michigan/Ohio State divide, a situation to which Maryland fans can easily empathize. The 2014 season is gearing up to be more competitive than people had previously imagined, but Terps fans have another year of Stefon Diggs and solid recruiting to look forward to in hopes of silencing the vengeance on the opposite sideline.