Maryland and Texas, a tale of two football programs
The year 2017 is a long way away, but the years pass quickly and programs change quickly. Seven years ago, Maryland was a 10-win program, Texas achieved its third straight season of at least 10 victories and was two years away from winning the national title with Vince Young. Now Maryland is knee-deep in a rebuilding process that may require new leadership after this season; season ticket sales are down, as are win totals in recent years. And Texas has established itself as perhaps the nation’s premier college football program from a business standpoint. In 2008, Texas generated an eye-popping $87.6 million in revenue from its football program (compared with $27.7 million for a successful program like Virginia Tech’s in 2008). Texas football is a corporation. An athletic department with a budget of about $130 million (Maryland’s is about $55 million) deserves its own television network and may well have it by the time the Terps and Longhorns clash in Austin -- one of America's best college towns --- to open the 2017 season.
Where will both programs be in seven years? That’s tough to predict, but it’s a safe bet that Texas is still challenging for the national title by that time. Maryland’s got a host of issues to fix in the coming years: dwindling attendance, suspect local recruiting and – oh, yeah – the win-loss record. Both schools have coaches-in-waiting. It is not out of the realm of possibility that current 59-year-old Coach Mack Brown – one of the most personable coaches in the game – is still on the sideline in 2017. But Will Muschamp, Brown’s eventual successor, could certainly take over before then. Maryland’s coaching situation is far murkier. No one sees a 70-year-old Ralph Friedgen on Maryland’s sideline in seven years. But what are the odds James Franklin, who is supposed to take over after the 2011 season, is leading the Terrapins at that point?
Overall, this game will be great for the area. I’m not from this area, but it’s been a little disappointing that it’s not a college football hotbed – it’s a cool college basketball area, for sure. By bringing games like USC-Virginia Tech a few years ago, Boise-VT this season, Notre Dame-Maryland next year and Texas-Maryland in 2018, it gives the area a taste of some of the college football excitement that some other regions enjoy throughout the fall. And that’s a very good thing.
| September 23, 2010; 1:02 PM ET
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