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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.

By Eric Prisbell  | September 23, 2010; 1:02 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Next: Your FIU-Maryland game predictions

Comments

"No one sees a 70-year-old Ralph Friedgen on Maryland’s sideline in seven years."

Prisbell, why would you make such a statement? Plenty of people can envision him sticking around til then, including him. His public comments about his future have gone something like this:

"And when the coach-in-waiting was explained to me, it was as long as we were doing well, I could be the coach as long as I wanted to be.”

and

“My feeling is – and maybe I’m wrong on this – but I think if we do well the next two years, I think regardless of who it is, I have good enough support from our alumni that they’ll want me as coach,” Friedgen said. “And if they don’t, then I’ll go somewhere else. But I don’t think that will happen.”

So to say "no one see Friedgen here in 7 years" is not necessarily true at all. I for one hope he is here a long time.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 23, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

There are at least 1 million reasons why Fridge won't be the coach in 2017, and my guess is that if the Terps are paying $1 million to buy out Franklin, it's not to keep Fridge as head coach.

I do hope the Fridge can turn this thing around, but there's an awful lot of evidence to suggest that he will not be the coach in 2017, including the fact that just about every BCS program has gone through at least one coaching change since 2001.

Here's the list of the current longest tenured coaches at BCS schools.

Fridge--10 years
Jim Grobe (Wake)--10 years
Greg Schiano (University of New Jersey)--10 years
Gary Pinkel (Mizzu)--10 years
Mark Richt (UGA)--10 years
Jim Tressel (OSU)--10 years
Bob Stoops (OU)--12 years
Randy Edsal (UConn)--12 years
Kirk Ferentz (Iowa)--12 years
Mack Brown (UT)--13 years
Bill Snyder (K-State)--18 years
Beamer--24 years
Joe Pa--45 years

A 10 year strech at a single school is pretty rare these days, and the fact that only 13 of the 66 BCS jobs have been occupied for 10 or more years goes to show that very few are able to hold onto their jobs for more than a decade.

Also, take a look at those coaches that are in their 10th year. ALL of them, aside from Tressel at OSU, are going into this season with serious question marks about their programs with some futures more certain than others. Grobe is probably safe becuase of his more recent success, and Schiano might be able to hold on another year if he can get through a pretty soft Big East, but Pinkel could be done at the end of the year, and Richt's seat might be even hotter than Fridge's because of the pressures of winning in the SEC.

Further up on the list, Edsall has really only been in a BCS conference for a few years (he started coaching UConn when they were still D1-AA), and Ferentz and Brown could probably go as long as they wanted, but both have question marks (Ferentz has a strong group of boosters that have tried to get him out for nearly 5 years no because Iowa has been so close so many times, and Brown has Musschamp looking over his shoulder). Snyder should have been gone at the turn of the millenium, but somehow hangs around, and we all know the stories about Beamer and Joe Pa.

As much as I like Fridge and think he's brought a program back from the dead, 10 years may be all that a college football coach should really do.

Posted by: Russtinator | September 23, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Return game in 2018 in College Park?

Posted by: cao091402 | September 23, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

If the Fridge is going to stick around, he's going to have to start winning again. He had 3 great seasons, but the program has slid into mediocrity. Depending on how this season turns out, it may be time for a change, though Franklin certainly isn't it either.

Posted by: SirPelleas | September 23, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the business end of Maryland football is disappointing, always has been. The reasons are principally these: (1) Most undergrads are commuters; (2) the competition with Redskin and Raven pro football; and (3) a large number of UVa, WVU, VT, ND, Penn State, Army, Navy, etc. etc. in the area. I recall occasional attendance in the teens and low twenties (x 10^3) in the glory days of Jim Tatum and perennial top 10 teams in the early fifties.

Posted by: AncientTerp | September 23, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Hell, I'm just glad they actually finalized this - I got my B.A. at Maryland and went to grad school at UT. Looks like I'm planning a return trip to Austin! In, uh, 7 years...

Posted by: JtotheG | September 24, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

At least I can stay at my brother's houde in Austin while I go to the game...

Posted by: ecglotfelty | September 24, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

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