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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 01/26/2011

Talkin' Terps: What are your expectations for Maryland football?

By Matt Bonesteel

Using Steve Yanda's profile of new Maryland football coach Randy Edsall as a jumping-off point, I'd like to get a discussion started about what, exactly, do Maryland fans expect out of the football program? Bowl games every year? An occasional ACC title? (Maryland has won or shared the ACC title nine times, most recently in 2001.) Finishing the season in the AP top 25?

We've all discussed the pros and cons of Edsall's hiring numerous times, so perhaps it's time to go in a different direction. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

We're going to try to make this a semi-regular feature on the blog during football and basketball season. If you have any subjects that you think are worth discussing, shoot them my way at bonesteelm@washpost.com.

By Matt Bonesteel  | January 26, 2011; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Next: NCAA bracket guru: Wins over ranked teams overrated

Comments

Appreciate the off-season football coverage. After all, UM is NOT the upper echelon basketball program that many in these parts like to proclaim.

Bottom line: UM Football has incredible upside potential. As George Allen might say, The time to ramp is now!

My realistic expectations scenario: 7-8 victories per season.

My "dreams realized" scenario: 9+ victories per season. This, I would add, is the spoken AND unspoken promise of AD Anderson.

My "drop the program" scenario: A return to the lost decade of the 90s or 3-5 victories per season.

Posted by: MerlinTerps | January 26, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I frankly just want the Terps to be competitive. That said, there should be no reason that the Terps do not win an ACC title in the next two years. Although keeping Kenny Tate and Torrey Smith would've guaranteed it in my mind.

Posted by: sanjuan1227 | January 26, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

At least 6-7 wins and a bowl game every year. 2-3 division wins and 1-2 ACC titles every decade. I would be a very happy camper with that.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 26, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Had Anderson kept his word and Ralph returned, I think we would have been able to reasonably expect a 10-2, 9-3, 8-4 at the worst type of season and quite possibly an appearance in the ACC Championship depending on how things shook out.

But because Anderson wanted some "pizzazz" and "new energy" surrounding the program, I'm thinking another 8-4 regular campagin and outside shot at the ACC Championship Game is the best we can expect as the players adapt to a new offensive system and new coaching staff. 7-5 or 6-6 is more likely.

Some of it though does depend on how the schedule is put together.

Posted by: CapsNut | January 26, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I expect a bowl game nearly every year and an occassional ACC Championship. Anybody who says there is no reason the Terps can't win the ACC Championship EVERY year is delusional. There are places that only exist because of football like Tallahassee and Blacksburg. Their entire society revolves around it. That said, the Terps are capable of finishing in the Top 25 consistently. As for next year, Jim Zorn could win 8 games with this team. I wish Ralph would have come back cause I'm fairly certain he would've won the ACC next year. But, it's water under the bridge now. I expect the Terps to be in the ACCCG next year and would love to beatdown the Hokies on national TV (if they make it!).

Posted by: aviscardo | January 26, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I want the program to do better. I believe that was why a change was made at HC. If we do better than they will get the butts in the seats at Byrd and sell the suites. My expectation is for a minimum of 8-9 wins a year against decent competition, not lots of cupcakes. An ACC Title every few years and a shot at the National Title before I die (I have already lived seven decades so let's get a move on).

Regarding Edsall. That was a nice piece by Yanda today. Coach brings a lot to the table, but not the "buzz" that was suggested to be needed to get improved attendance. I wish our new coach nothing but great success but the proof will be in performance. GO TERPS!!!

Posted by: JoeR123 | January 26, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I will have to give 2 answers here. My expectations for Maryland football, regardless of who is coaching is:

1. Competitive in the ACC Atlantic Division
2. Win 7 games
3. Go to a bowl every year, with a miss every 4-5 years
4. Finish the season with votes in both polls
5. Compete for a BCS bowl/ACC Championship every 5-6 years.

With Randy Edsall coaching and the expectations articulated by Anderson:

1. Have a home attendance average over 40,000
2. Increase the APR over 950
3. 8 wins minimum per season with a drop down to 6 every 4-5 years (no bowl misses)
4. Win the ACC Atlantic Division every 2-3 years
5. Win the ACC Championship every 4-5 years
6. Win a BCS Bowl every decade
7. Compete in the BCS Title Game every 10-15 years

The second set of expectations would not have existed had Anderson not fired Fridge, but now that he did, Edsall's got some serious weight on his shoulders.

Posted by: Russtinator | January 26, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Had Anderson kept his word and Ralph returned, I think we would have been able to reasonably expect a 10-2, 9-3, 8-4 at the worst type of season and quite possibly an appearance in the ACC Championship depending on how things shook out.

But because Anderson wanted some "pizzazz" and "new energy" surrounding the program, I'm thinking another 8-4 regular campagin and outside shot at the ACC Championship Game is the best we can expect as the players adapt to a new offensive system and new coaching staff. 7-5 or 6-6 is more likely. Posted by: CapsNut | January 26, 2011 12:38 PM |

Well, yes, you can put up a 10-2 record next season for what it would have been under Ralph, and who can argue with that? No one. We can't know.

There's no question that Anderson had to make a move. When Franklin left, everything changed, and an adjustment to the one-year plan was needed. How many recruits would stay with a one-year commitment to Ralph--especially when many of them expected continuity of the program via Franklin? And how would recruiting go the next recruiting season, given uncertainty over the future of the program? It would have to be a down year in recruiting. What quality of offensive coordinator could you get for one year?

Anderson was at the crossroads. A one-year solution (without Franklin there) was a formula for treading water or worse.

Could you make a 5-year commitment to Ralph to provide the necessary continuity? I doubt it. It is not just a question of age (Gary is older than Ralph, and is doing a fine job). It is a question of physical condition as well. The risk was too great, not just for U of Md but for Ralph as well, who seriously does need to get back to sound health.

If Ralph is a coveted coach, some top program will want him multi-year. But Anderson looked several years into the future, and just didn't see it for Maryland. I support the decision, as much as I like Ralph.

Posted by: EdDC | January 26, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

BCS Bowl games every year and nothing else.

Pretty simple answer to a pretty simple question.

Yeah, yeah, spare me the "that's an unrealistic goal" speech.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | January 26, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

My barometer is simple: beat Virginia Tech and I'll know the Terps have progressed beyond the high water mark of the Fridge era.

Posted by: RITerp | January 26, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I expect 7-8 wins next year, but, just like usual, we won't beat FSU or VT (I don't even know if we play them next year). If we get more than 7-8 wins, great. It's possible that we could reach the ACCCG next year, since Ralph won it his first year as coach. Who knows?

I also expect recruiting to hover around the top 50 to ensure more of the same for years to come.

That means I definitely do not expect a national title anytime soon.

Posted by: SirPelleas | January 26, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

VaTech is not on the schedule until 2013 (in Blacksburg) and 2014 (in College Park). The Terps play next year in Atlanta, Talahassee, Winston Salem, Raleigh, and Raljohn (Notre Dame). The rest of the games against Towson, Temple, WVU, Clemson, BC, UVA, and Miami, are at Byrd.

Posted by: Russtinator | January 26, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

@aviscardo -
Tallahassee happens to also be the State Capitol of Florida. A little more than football going on there with the Capitol of the third largest state but I get where you are going with that.

Posted by: wponline | January 26, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Well since Ralph had us in the ACC title hunt very late in the season (until the final game or two) in 6 out of 10 years, that's my expectation going forward. Meaningful November football games, with a trip to the ACC championship game still on the line, 2 out of every 3 years. You do that, you'll find yourself in some pretty nice bowl games every other year. If we go to the Gator Bowl, Peach Bowl, Orange Bowl, Champs Bowl, and a few other lesser tier bowls in the next decade, I'll be satisfied.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 26, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I've been to Tallahassee many times. Trust me: it's all about football there. As soon as you walk in the airport, all you see is Seminole stuff. Simply put, it is their reason for being.

Posted by: aviscardo | January 26, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Well since Ralph had us in the ACC title hunt very late in the season (until the final game or two) in 6 out of 10 years, that's my expectation going forward. Meaningful November football games, with a trip to the ACC championship game still on the line, 2 out of every 3 years. You do that, you'll find yourself in some pretty nice bowl games every other year. If we go to the Gator Bowl, Peach Bowl, Orange Bowl, Champs Bowl, and a few other lesser tier bowls in the next decade, I'll be satisfied.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 26, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

With no coaching change the expectation for 2011 would have been 10 win minimum. That obviously wasn't good enough. Anderson is telling us by this coaching move that the new expecation must be higher, therefore if there isn't an ACC championship this year then you have to fire the coach. Nothing against Edsall, in fact I prefer him to Leach, but if you fire a man to bring in a new "better" guy then that new guy has to have higher expectations placed on him.

Posted by: mcmelton | January 26, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The program should be in the hunt every year.. The ACC is not a strong conference.
What I would like to see are improvements made to Byrd on the upper deck side.. If you want crowds to come, they shouldn't have to miss what's going on with the game waiting in line at the concessions.. In the past, I've had friends miss half a quarter waiting in line, would be nice if they would wire the concessions and bathrooms with at least the radio broadcast of the game- I'm not asking for TV's on the concourse.. Also, from my seats in the front row, you can see the side of Cole Field House.. For years I've been saying put the Terps logo on that side that faces Byrd, so we can see it from the stands... It might sound trivial to some, but I think it would look great and add something to Cole...

Posted by: frostanna | January 26, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I want to be rid of the 2-10 seasons, 5 win seasons..those are okay, but only once every 3-4 years, not the norm.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | January 26, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Ralph put up 9 wins this season and it is hard to argue that the team would not be better next year...even with a tougher schedule, its reasonable to have expected that Ralph would post 8,9 or 10 wins....

That being said, KA fired Ralph and PAID $2M for the privelege....If Edsall doesnt put up 8+ wins, KA is going to have a tough time justifying Edsall.....the old " we will be better in 5 years and I didnt want to lose a recruiting class" isnt going to sit well with a lot of people and isnt going to fill the stands

Fans are going to focus BOTH on # Wins AND quality of wins....


My opinion is 8 Wins Minimum and that number should include wins over WVU, FSU, or Notre Dame......blowing out Towson and then getting kicked in the face by ND isnt going to get it done

Posted by: TerpfanMA | January 26, 2011 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Said another way:

5,6 or 7 wins: Who is this clown?

8 or 9 wins: Fridge coulda done that?

10,11 or 12 wins: Ok, Anderson knows what he was doing

Posted by: TerpfanMA | January 26, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

My expectation for next season is a minimum of 11 wins. Steady state (with RF) it would have been 10 wins, but since the moves were made to take the program to the next level, 11 wins is what I expect. The moment 11 wins are mathematically impossible expect me to display some serious negativity. We cannot afford to waste the DOB era with excuses.
BCS bowl within the next two years.
Regards-

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | January 26, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

My expectations are that the coaching staff keep some of the top kids in the area at Maryland. This area is packed with talent within 100 miles (Tidewater, Pennsylvania, NJ, MD, DC, etc.). The type of talent that should be competing for the ACC title every year. Any coach who can put a consistently high quality defense with excellent special teams on the field can compete in the ACC.

I expect the coaches to field a disciplined team that executes. You don't need a 1200 page playbook; you just need to execute, not turn the ball over, not have the penalties, and in general, not beat yourself.

During the Friedgen era, either the players committed a bone-headed play (untimely penalties) or the coaches made terrible decisions. For those believing Fridge would have had them at 9-3 or 10-2 next season, DREAM ON! Not that I was a fan of Franklin, but remember when Fridge was the OC & HC? Not good results. His teams were good when Taffey (former HC) was the OC and Blackney (former HC) was the DC. Who was he gonna get to be the OC next season? Anderson made good choice when Franklin left. His only mistake was announcing Fridge was staying with 2 games left (could have been genius to motivate Franklin to leave).

Edsall's first good decision was retaining the DC. He got a name OC, as well. My expectations are that the team executes and plays mistake-free football. They should be challenging for the Atlantic Division title every year, winning the ACC every 3 - 4 years, and winning BCS Bowl games half the time they get there. They should be top 25 3 out of 4 years. Top 10 once every 4 to 5 years. That's excitement. A team picked to be good that follows through. In the ACC, that's very achievable; just look at Va. Tech.

As for next season, with Brown being retained and Edsall coming in, I expect the defense to be stellar. I expect the special teams to be tops in the ACC. I expect having one of the top young QBs in the country, a young offensive line, and quality running backs, not to mention a stockpile of receivers, that this team make a major move in the ACC. If Edsall doesn't win the ACC in the next 2 seasons, I'll be disappointed. His Connecticut team was outmanned, outgunned, and outclassed against Oklahoma and he kept them in the game for 3 quarters. He was able to recruit at UConn and win the Big East. Maryland has to look like Utopia after that. Instead of the excuses and underachieving we've had for the past 7 seasons, I'm expecting a blue collar approach that talleys victories.

Posted by: kicknit | January 26, 2011 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Terps should be playing in a bowl game every year. Most years they should win 8-9 games (regular season). They should be competitive for the division title every year. Winning the ACC title is realistic maybe once every 3-4 years. I see their ceiling as being ranked like 10th. They would really have to run the tables to compete for a national title with their weak schedule in a weak conference.

Most importantly as Fridge said at the end of his tenure, he wasn't sure MD was willing to make those necessary changes to be "elite" whether this is lowering admission standards, having better facilities, paying assistants more, etc.

On admission standards, all schools like to think they have the toughest. I heard the same thing when I was at CU, in terms of not getting the "best" athletes. In the ACC I venture to say Maryland is in the middle of the pack in terms of academic requirements AT BEST, with Duke, Wake, UNC, UVA, BC, even Miami in their conference, having arguably tougher admission standards.

One area MD has (marginally) improved is Assistant Coaches salaries. The Crowton hire was huge in this regards. But let's see if this trend continues.

Posted by: break20 | January 27, 2011 12:54 AM | Report abuse

"My "dreams realized" scenario: 9+ victories per season. This, I would add, is the spoken AND unspoken promise of AD Anderson."
-->Umm that happened this year, so since we're upgrading, you have to atleast one up it.

Posted by: break20 | January 27, 2011 1:45 AM | Report abuse

"At least 6-7 wins and a bowl game every year. 2-3 division wins and 1-2 ACC titles every decade. I would be a very happy camper with that.

Posted by: Section505203"
-->Fridge did that!

Posted by: break20 | January 27, 2011 1:46 AM | Report abuse

"I want the program to do better. I believe that was why a change was made at HC. If we do better than they will get the butts in the seats at Byrd and sell the suites. My expectation is for a minimum of 8-9 wins a year against decent competition, not lots of cupcakes. An ACC Title every few years and a shot at the National Title before I die (I have already lived seven decades so let's get a move on)."
-->You have to play to your competition and MD's schedule is pretty weak. That's a major reason people don't come to the games is the only two attractive opponents the past two years have been VTech and FSU. Who wants to see Towson, Morgan State, Duke, or Wake? And MD won a national title in the 50s, so I believe you we're around for that.

So since your saying 8-9 wins a year against decent competition, you really think they should only 1-2 games against the top one or two top 10 teams they face?

And in terms of attendance, why aren't people showing up at Stanford. Hate to break it to you, but MD fanbase for football isn't that strong and even a winning team is no guarantee as long as the Ravens have their success AND the Redskins are a prominent part of the landscape.

Posted by: break20 | January 27, 2011 1:55 AM | Report abuse

Well said Russinator with your "Edsall standards." Expectations have been raised and clearly Edsall needs to take this program to new heights. Generally I am in favor of giving a coach some time to grow the program, but not in this case. To me anything less than 10 (regular season) wins will not be a success. Really all their games are winnable next year, they might not even play a top-15 team all year.

Posted by: break20 | January 27, 2011 2:04 AM | Report abuse

Some really good posts. I share Russ' second scenario but I like Poopy's moxie.

What really strikes me as I read though the thread are the high expectations that many people put on football (when we have virtually never been known as a football school) coupled with their acceptance of how our basketball program has been going... mediocre. Guess they just don't drink the Koolaid at football games.

Posted by: petecard | January 27, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Dang boys, you realize you are maryland don't you? You will have a nice season from time to time, but you will never been FSU or Miami...We celebrate our football program in tallhassee because we have some tradition and a proud history. I am sorry some of you are jealous about that. Looking forward to having yall in the doak next year...we'll show you why you aren't NC material..scalp em

Posted by: SeminoleInDC | January 27, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Seminole fan, you dom realize that FSU and Miami are not in the CFB elite anymore? No one is saying that they xcpect the terps to win 12 games a year and be in the BCS title game. Expecting and 8+ wins a year and to be competitive ing the Atlantic Division is not unrealistic.

Posted by: baydawgs | January 27, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"You will have a nice season from time to time, but you will never been FSU or Miami."

Huh? We have beaten those teams several times. In 2006 we beat them both in the same year (the first team to do so in a generation). In fact in the last 6 years, MD has beaten FSU twice and almost beaten them several other times.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 27, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

"My expectations are that the coaching staff keep some of the top kids in the area at Maryland. This area is packed with talent within 100 miles (Tidewater, Pennsylvania, NJ, MD, DC, etc.). The type of talent that should be competing for the ACC title every year. Any coach who can put a consistently high quality defense with excellent special teams on the field can compete in the ACC."
-->You could make that same argument with any other D-1 program than including Virginia, Temple, Rutgers, etc. Why aren't those schools doing that great consistently. Sorry that unrealistic and go to Texas and less so Florida and California for real football talent. DC/Baltimore metropolis is good but not that good.


"During the Friedgen era, either the players committed a bone-headed play (untimely penalties) or the coaches made terrible decisions. For those believing Fridge would have had them at 9-3 or 10-2 next season, DREAM ON! Not that I was a fan of Franklin, but remember when Fridge was the OC & HC? Not good results. His teams were good when Taffey (former HC) was the OC and Blackney (former HC) was the DC. Who was he gonna get to be the OC next season? Anderson made good choice when Franklin left. His only mistake was announcing Fridge was staying with 2 games left (could have been genius to motivate Franklin to leave)."
-->The Fridge era was one of the most successful eras in MD football history. Umm do you remember the period between ross and Fridge? (and most others from the late 1950s on)


"If Edsall doesn't win the ACC in the next 2 seasons, I'll be disappointed. His Connecticut team was outmanned, outgunned, and outclassed against Oklahoma and he kept them in the game for 3 quarters. He was able to recruit at UConn and win the Big East. Maryland has to look like Utopia after that. Instead of the excuses and underachieving we've had for the past 7 seasons, I'm expecting a blue collar approach that talleys victories."
-->More like he had checked out against OK. Maryland is an upgrade, but not much so. And his record against the big boys SUCKS. The ACC is the 2nd worst BCS conference, and if you think otherwise your delusional. Btw, I read this you think MD is equivalent to a school like Florida.

Posted by: break20 | January 27, 2011 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm not expecting much of an offense with Edsall. He sure didn't show any imagination or much of anything else at Connecticut.

Posted by: J56D | January 28, 2011 10:27 PM | Report abuse

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