As Maryland plays out the final quarter of its regular season with its bowl hopes now extinguished, it becomes time to wonder about the trajectory of the program and just how the Terrapins move forward after a lost year.
The topic came up on coach Randy Edsall’s Sunday teleconference. His take:
“I’ve been through this before,” Edsall said. “I know how to handle it. I know what to do. There is no panic. It was like this the first year when we put the team together in Jacksonville. … It’s Connecticut all over again, 13 years ago. Jacksonville Jaguars all over again. It’s going to Boston College when we were there. I’ve been through all of this. This isn’t earth-shattering. It doesn’t have me discouraged. I have a vision of what we’re going to do and I know we’re doing things the right way.”
Well, yes, Edsall’s been in some rough situations in the past. That’s true. And all three of those places wound up enjoying varying levels of success while Edsall was around.
But a full understanding of those situations requires at least some context.
Boston College was coming off four straight losing seasons when Edsall arrived as part of Tom Coughlin’s staff in 1991.
Jacksonville was an NFL expansion team when Coughlin brought Edsall with him to the Jaguars as that franchise began play in 1995.
Connecticut was coming off a 10-3 season but was about to begin a transition to Division I-A when Edsall was hired for the 1999 season. The Huskies, with aging facilities (including a tiny stadium), uncorked three straight losing seasons before Edsall went 65-46 over the next nine years.
Maryland was coming off a 9-4 season and had made bowl trips in four of the five previous years (albeit only one in the top half of the ACC’s pecking order).
So how analogous is Maryland to those situations? It wasn’t in total rebuild like Boston College, it wasn’t starting from scratch like Jacksonville and it wasn’t changing levels like Connecticut. It appeared to be on solid footing just 10 months ago. At 2-7, it appears to be one of the worst BCS conference teams this season (though Colorado, Kansas and Indiana are statistically better choices for that unwanted distinction).
One thing, though, is a common denominator. Boston College was 4-7 in 1991. Jacksonville was 4-12 in 1995. Connecticut was 4-7 in 1999. Now Maryland is also assured a losing record in its first year with Edsall around – though it still has some work to do to get to the four-win plateau.