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Less Fan Interest in Maryland?

I’ve talked about this with some other reporters and longtime team observers the past couple weeks, so I wanted to throw it out there: Is there less fan interest in this team this season?

I get the sense there is a little less. Is it because the team is young and expectations aren’t as high? Is it because some fans are tired of middling records and bowls? Is it because some fans are counting down the days until the start of basketball season because the Terps should contend in the ACC this season? I’m curious what everyone thinks. Maybe some feel there is actually more fan interest in the football team this season.

Maryland is having a fan luncheon with Coach Ralph Friedgen on Friday. We’ll see how many turn out for that after the loss to California. I’m still a little perplexed at the overreaction by some fans to the Cal loss, but perhaps it’s because I really didn’t expect Maryland to win the game. Again, I thought there was a better chance the Terps would get blown out than that they would win the game.

By Eric Prisbell  |  September 9, 2009; 9:59 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Comments

I am an alum. I love my school. But truthfully the past 3 or 4 years has me bummed out with respect to football. I also want to add that I am a big Ralph F. fan. But the mediocrity and inability to rise to the next level has been frustrating. I have 5 season tickets and I travel 3 hours each way to every home game. This year I definitely weighed renewing more heavily than ever before. And if we don't get this thing going soon I have to wonder if the commitment both in time and money is worth it. I am not all about winning all the time, but this program should be better than what it is currently. We just can't seem to get all of the pieces lined up at the same time.

Posted by: psipes | September 9, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I definitely get the sense that fan interest has waned over the last couple years. The team has settled onto a plateau of mediocrity, and tends to disappoint at the most inopportune times (ACC title game in its grasp, on national tv, etc.)

I also feel that the lack of ability to get decent seats is a factor. Unfortunately for the average Joe fan, there will never be any additional seats added between the 20's; that is something that the expanded Tyser Tower has guaranteed.

New ticket purchasers will typically have to get seats in the upper deck, and that's not too appealing to many people. Of course a new ticket buyer can pony up the Terp Club fee to get better tickets, but the team's results are probably not worth it to a lot of folks.

Posted by: sargeantmofo | September 9, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

PSIPES, Iagree with ya..Ralph really needs to go. In his early years they won..but with whos recruits!!not his.. now he has had his time and done ZIP.. I will be very curious how many folks show up at his outings and mark my words!!there will be less and less folks at the games...Why do ya think they are giving packages away..

Debbie your legency is going south as long as ya keep ralph..He cannot coach and sure cant recruit...Other clubs are rwally comming on GT.Carolina why new coaches who know how to recruit

proof will be in ticket sales and outings

Posted by: carolina1 | September 9, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I am a huge fan of the Fridge. Still I hope he keeps the transitional schedule for Coach Franklin to take over, starting in the 2012 season or a little before. This transition is part of Fridge's legacy, and hopefully it goes smoothly.

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/college/maryland_terps/blog/2009/07/friedgen_franklin_and_the_1m_promise.html

Posted by: EdDC | September 9, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

My interest has increased every year since I graduated in 2007.

Posted by: Colm1 | September 9, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I find myself less interested this year. I graduated in May of 2008. Even though I moved away from College Park to New York I still was very interested in the team last year. I watched every game on my computer via a slingbox. This year, however, I'm not feeling it as much. I watched a little bit of the Cal game, but while I was doing something else, not as a dedicated, sit-down activity.

I think the basketball team has real potential, and of course I was always more into hoops than football anyway. It might just be due to other things going on in my life, but I know I'm going to struggle to pay attention to Fridge and the boys this year. It might help if I can get down to CP and actually go to a game this year, something I also managed to do last year. Pretty much all of my friends have graduated by now, though, so it's seeming like it'll be harder and harder to make that happen, too.

Posted by: pipkin42 | September 9, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I don't live in the area any longer and neither do most of my friends and fellow alums, but there's definitely less interest in Terp football with good reason. It's accumulated over the years with mediocre teams that not only disappoint at the worst times (bowl games and national TV), they get blown out and humiliated. And, remember Mid Tenn St last year? Ugh. What's mind boggling is there's no reason for it. UMd should compete in the top 20 every year for an ACC school in the Balt-Wash area, but Fridge is incapable of recruiting top-tier players, just like Gary Williams. My friends and I used to have season tix, travel to big games (Orange Bowl, Notre Dame, WVU) but Md would get waxed every time. Why bother spending the time and money? Why bother watching them (hopefully) beating JMU at Byrd? Sure, they pull some upset every season, but they offset that by losing to the Mid Tenn States of the world. There's no consistency and only excuses from Fridge. This year it's a young team. What was the excuse last year? It's the same old frustrating sad story. So, no, there won't be anymore trips to Byrd or away games, no donations, not until this program fulfills its potential. Maybe Debbie Yow is ok with mediocrity, but the fans and alums are not.

Posted by: HireBillCowher | September 9, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

For the Terp fans that only started to like the football team after Fridge arrived, I am sure their interest has faded somewhat. I have been going to games since the late 80's and I remember how the stadium was so empty that you could run across the stands and throw a football without hitting someone! It is disappointing that we have not been able to close on the ACC title game but Fridge has brought us a long way. Considering that we are not the biggest show in town, let alone our own campus, I am impressed with what we have done. It is very hard to build a huge program in a pro town, especially a transient area like MD/DC.

Posted by: garrett4 | September 9, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

In 8 seasons, Fridge has had 5 winning records. Seems only ok, but in the 15 seasons prior, MD had 2 winning seasons. I'll take Fridge as long as he wants

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryland_Terrapins_football_seasons

Posted by: CharlieF | September 9, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Two factors at work here: 1) the "bubble" of Ralph's first few years has worn off, and interest is commensurate with the quality of the team; 2) the team plays an inconsistent, uninspiring brand of football. There is no offensive flash, no defensive dominance, and frankly they lose too many games they should win or make make close too many games they should win by 30.

Being the ACC doesn't help. Nationally it will always be seen as a basketball conference, especially by recruits.

The talent level - across the board - is not there. Who wants to go play for Ralph or James Franklin when you can go play for Frank Beamer, Nick Saban, Joe Paterno, etc. James Franklin might be a great guy but if I'm a recruit he feels small-time or second-tier, much like Ralph has become. And don't kid yourself, these kids have huge egos and they need to be fed.

I love Ralph and I appreciate all he's done, he got the program on the right course, but now its time to hand things over to someone else, someone with a national presence who can get into the homes of these blue-chippers.

Posted by: kingrob76 | September 9, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

New ticket purchasers will typically have to get seats in the upper deck, and that's not too appealing to many people. Of course a new ticket buyer can pony up the Terp Club fee to get better tickets, but the team's results are probably not worth it to a lot of folks.

Posted by: sargeantmofo | September 9, 2009 10:38 AM

I just went online and was offered 2 season tickets in Section 28. Not the primo higher up rows, but 28 nonetheless. And for only $205 a pop.

Posted by: Kev29 | September 9, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

you guys are spoiled...we were one game away from playing in the acc championship game the past 2 our of 3 years. We play in a freakin bowl every year.

Do you remember football prior to the fridge? The stadium was empty...we stunk...we were blown out every game except for Duke. It was pathetic.

Posted by: jdgreger@yahoo.com | September 9, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Is there a loss of interest in Maryland football? There is for me. Maryland was never in the game against Cal. Cal is good, but they shouldn't be thirty points better than Maryland. Losses like that on national T.V. are an embarrassment. Maryland gets blown out way too often by the top teams in the nation. Why should Maryland get crushed by Va Tech year after year. Va Tech was just beaten by Alabama, but that was anyone's game until the fourth quarter. At least Va Tech showed up. Maryland has way too many games where they don't even show up, and the occasional upset against teams that it's clear simply overlooked them doesn't make up for the embarrassment of a thirty point loss. When's the last time Va Tech lost by thirty?

Posted by: sonny2 | September 9, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The issue with football at MD is not Ralph Freidgen--he is an outstanding and passionate coach. Just as with Gary Williams, we are lucky to have Maryland Men coaching Maryland teams. Everyone was ready to run Gary off last season before he did one of his best coaching jobs. The issue for MD football is somewhat similar to that of Cal. I am familar with both situations as I am a UM alum and letterwinner. I also lived 15 minutes from Cal's campus for 14 years. The issue is simple--does the University want to be Penn or Penn State in football. The is a huge difference. And it all comes down to academics and money. Because it all comes down to having the players and the facilites. Cal plays in one of the greatest venues in all of college football--Memorial Stadium in Strawberry Canyon. But the structure is 75 years old and falling down. The university had to tear down the press box 7 or 8 years ago because it wasnt earthquake proof--it still hasnt been rebuilt because the new press box will be part of a renovated stadium. The renovation hasnt been started either--as promised to Coach Jeff Tedford when he took the job. He like Ralph is an outstanding football coach. They go through coaches every four or five years at Cal because they dont have the facilities to keep up with the big boys. So does all of this sound familiar? Md is just now getting around to meeting facility commitments it made to Bobby Ross in 1981. My father, as a young architect, helped to design Byrd Stadium. It was supposed to be a double decked horseshoe similar to Ohio State's stadium. It was never finished because----MD ran out of money on the project. The rest rooms and concessions were done on the cheap because UM ran out of money. There is no indoor practice facility and the new press box(beautiful by the way) looks like it does because the Upper Deck on the north side of the Stadium was done on the cheap and can't be retrofitted for suites between the goal lines--enabling the stadium to be balanced on both sides of the field. Academically, Cal has more a more laxed admissions standard for its athletes than MD--I know because several of my friends kids in CA went there to play ball and were not close to be qualified to be there---and they played Rugby--so you can guess what they do for football players. These kids all graduated with their degrees. At UM, recruits have been routinely lost to UVA, Va Tech, Penn State over academics. These are schools rumored to be more prestigeous than MD(they are not) and have had great success on the field. So lets not throw Ralph Freidgen under the bus for having average teams when the problem is not the man--it is the school!! I love MD, always will and have been very generous over the years. But the question remains--are you Penn or Penn State in football?? I would suggest that MD is trying to be both--with average results.

Posted by: beardown29 | September 9, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Recruit one solid quarterback...please! Either good at running or passing, doesn't matter to me.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | September 9, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Please don't mention Gary. And please don't mention the Terp's "little engine that could" performance last season in which they were virtually the last team accepted into the NCAA tournament and somehow managed to win one game prior to being completely blown off the court in the second. Trust me, that was fool's gold. Maryland will be on the tournament bubble once again this year.

Posted by: sonny2 | September 9, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

beardown29,

I would like to follow up with you on your comments. If you wouldn't mind, please shoot me an email at yandas@washpost.com at your earliest convenience.

For that matter, I encourage any and all of you to shoot me an email and let me know what you think on this topic.

Posted by: steveyanda | September 9, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Yanda -

I have been under the impression for years that MD has higher academic standards for its athletes than most of its competition. I recall that one of the reasons that Bobby Ross left the program. Is this still the case? I recall that Bobby Ross stated that MD had tougher admission requirements for athletes than Stanford at the time. Could someone confirm this? I suspect Barno could delineate the differences for athletic admissions off the top of his head...

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | September 9, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

EP The word on ACCBoards is there is a boycott against your blog? FREDTERP

Posted by: FREDTERP44 | September 9, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I'll put in simply:

A fans interest should be independent of wins and losses. You're either in or you're out. If you want to bandwagon, be my guest, I could care less. However, the joy it will bring you when the program reaches its pinnacle will not compare to those who stuck with the team thru thick and thin....and I know who you are. You are the guy who bought the Basketball National Championship T-shirt but never traveled to see games in the late 80s/early 90s when you couldn't watch them on TV. I can see it in your eyes. You are fooling no one. Enjoy yourself though. I won't tell.

Posted by: fushezzi | September 9, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

And Sonny2....Terps will be a 7 seed or higher for this years NCAA. Hardly fools gold and hardly a bubble team. Book it...Money in the Bank.

Posted by: fushezzi | September 9, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm a 1991 Graduate and still bleed Terp Red!! Had spirit and interest then (when things were very lean) and just as much now! I'll stick with them thru thick and thin - Terrapin Club member and season ticket holder! Go TERPS!!!

Posted by: TerpGrad | September 9, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Great post and it is obviously striking a nerve with so many well thought responses. I am a season ticket holder and share the general theme that of fan disinterest. I will still make as many games as I can go to and give away my tickets to those who can make the game if I cannot. My 2 children, both UMD grads are ticket holders as well and agree with my concern for Terp football. The reason for this fading interest I think is a lack of impact players especially on the defense. Coaches, you need to find another smash mouth in your face linebacker like "Lights Out". And fast.

Posted by: norfolkoms | September 9, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

people don't realize that univ of md is not bumblef*ck alabama or penn state or some other rube town in which 100% of town revenue is college sports.

ralph is god and whomever is complaining should sit in for some home games my freshman year in college...1996 or 97 or 98 or 99. WE SUCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TUMBLEWEEDS AND CRICKETS WERE IN THE STANDS

Posted by: jdgreger@yahoo.com | September 9, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Mark this post.Debbie will fire Ralph if they have a bad season To her a bad season will be 500.Yes, we may go to a bowl however it will be a money losing event.

All it will take is 1 major bowl and we will be out of the woods.

It sure would be nice to go to fla,ariz or even ga in December...Golf,football and fun..

Really getting tired of watching everyone else play in top shelf bowls and we play in zip...

HELP

Posted by: carolina1 | September 10, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Ah, Nostradamus from our rival state is back and he's bringing his idiotic and always proven wrong predictions with him. Carolina, when are you going to pay me for the bet you lost? This clown actually thought the spread was going to move from Cal -21 to Cal -3, instead it moved the other way to Cal -21.5. Intelligent, he is not.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 10, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I also feel that the lack of ability to get decent seats is a factor. Unfortunately for the average Joe fan, there will never be any additional seats added between the 20's; that is something that the expanded Tyser Tower has guaranteed.

New ticket purchasers will typically have to get seats in the upper deck, and that's not too appealing to many people. Of course a new ticket buyer can pony up the Terp Club fee to get better tickets, but the team's results are probably not worth it to a lot of folks.

Posted by: sargeantmofo | September 9, 2009 10:38 AM

Sargeantmofo, you're talking out of your *ss bro. You can get a ticket at midfield lower level right now for dirt cheap. Call the ticket office buddy.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 10, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Fans across the country are attending less games this season and last year. TV ratings aren't down, attendance is.

It's the economy, stupid.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 10, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Barno says "it's the economy stupid."

However, this economic downturn hasn't seemed to adversely affect Alabama, USC, Ohio State, Louisiana State, Florida, and Penn State. And those are areas where people have less money to spend and unemployment is much higher.

The athletic dept announced that they have sold 8% less season tickets than a year ago. I would attribute that more to the mediocrity of the program than economics.

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | September 10, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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