Maryland Football: 7 Things Holding Terrapins Back from BCS Bid
The University of Maryland cannot seem to buy its way into the Bowl Championship Series nowadays.
Maryland football used to have a solid football tradition, but it seems to be a distant memory.
This past season was as turbulent as it could get for the program with the team finishing 2-10.
Despite playing in a less-than-stellar football conference in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Terrapins have not cracked the BCS since the 2002 Orange Bowl.
What is holding them back from winning the conference and earning a spot in the BCS?
Although there are several reasons, here are seven of which that truly stand out.
The Firing of Ralph Friedgen
Right before Marlyand's trip to the Military Bowl at the end of the 2010 season, Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson announced that long-time head coach Ralph Friedgen was terminated effective after the ensuing bowl game.
The reasons? So Friedgen would not enter the final year of his contract as lame-duck coach, making it "impossible to recruit high-level assistant coaches and student athletes to the program for the short-term."
The Terps were up and down for a good portion of Friedgen's tenure despite him going 74-50, but they always had Friedgen for stability in the program.
Firing him instantly made things a bit unstable.
Now Friedgen is not the second coming of Paul "Bear" Bryant, but at least he provided a face to the program that recruits could look at.
Hiring Randy Edsall
Let's not pile on Randy Edsall and completely blame him for the reasons as to why Maryland finished 2-10 last.
He was put into a situation that is almost never successful in college football.
Unless you're at a dominant football powerhouse, being a first-year head coach in college football is usually rough.
What all of that means is that firing Friedgen and hiring anyone new was going to set the program back a couple of years.
Edsall just so happens to be the the guy at the helm, so he'll shoulder most of the blame.
The ACC Adding Miami (Fla.), Virginia Tech and Boston College
Before 2004, the Atlantic Coast Conference was known for its football.
Even to this day, it's still not the most prestigious football conference around.
The lack of football powerhouses along with playing football programs like Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest for years helped Maryland in the ACC.
That all changed when Miami (Fla.), Virginia Tech joined the conference in 2004 and Boston College joined in 2005, all three being very good football programs, which meant—and still means—the loss of recruits.
Before they joined the conference, if a high school player wanted to play in the ACC, his options were Florida State, North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Maryland.
Now, he has three more schools to choose from—all of which have a richer football tradition than Maryland, not to mention spreading out the talent in the ACC.
Those programs aren't exactly dominating the ACC landscape, but it certainly did not make things easier for the Terps as far as recruiting.
The evidence is clear as the Terps have not won an ACC or division title since those programs joined the conference.
The Addition of Pitt and Syracuse in 2014
This has not hurt the Terps as of yet, but it will not help come 2014 when another solid football program in Pittsburgh joins.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse joining the Atlantic Coast Conference was more of a basketball move, but it did not come without its football ramifications as well.
Pittsburgh has a solid program. With it joining the ACC in football, it may be able to recruit further south of the Mason-Dixon than it has before because of its ties with the conference.
The further south Pitt recruits, the better athletes it may collect, meaning it will be another team in the way of Maryland.
Lacks Major Football Tradition
When a recruit visits for a game at Maryland, there isn't much to be in awe of.
The stadium, Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium, only holds 54,000 seats, according to Maryland's preseason media guide.
That pales in comparison to programs (Alabama, Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee) who have stadiums that hold more than 100,000.
Filling those 54,000 seats have been a completely different issue.
Even during successful seasons, Maryland struggle to sell out football games.
During Friedgen's last season in 2010, the largest crowd to see a nine-win Maryland team was 48,115. The Terps had crowds as small as 33,000.
A recruit would be very unimpressed by the lack of tradition and seemingly pride in the football program.
A lack in tradition and gameday atmosphere means a lack of good recruits, which then turns into a lack of wins.
Schools that house more 100,000 spectators can recruit based off that alone.
Maryland does not have that same luxury.
The Atlantic Coast may have not been a football factory, but Florida State was the dominant team for years in the conference.
Even more dominant was FSU over Maryland.
The two programs have gone head-to-head 22 times in each others' history, and Maryland has only come away with two victories — the last came in 2006.
When the Seminoles joined the ACC in 1992 and began to play Maryland every season, they defeated the Terps every year until the Terps finally beat them in 2004.
Maryland won eight ACC titles before FSU joined in 1992. Since, Maryland has only won one.
Lack of Talent
All of those things I listed in previous slides have led to this: a lack of talent.
That's what it comes down to at the end of the day—the talent on the field.
The Terps are sorely lacking as of right now. Maybe Randy Edsall can change this in due time. Maybe crazy uniforms may do it. It has worked out for Oregon so far.
All of that aside, Maryland was 10th in the ACC in scoring offense and dead last in scoring and total defense.
All of the other things are intangibles that play into football program's success or lack their of, but when the team is giving up 35 points per game it doesn't matter when the old coach was fired, who the new one is, how many people are in the stands or what teams are in the conference, you're going to lose—a lot.
That's where the Maryland football program is today.