If the Terrapins were playing for the national championship, whatever tacky color scheme Kevin Plank could put them in would be the least of my concerns. Hell, I’m reasonably certain that if Maryland were playing for the National Championship we’d sign off on them playing naked if we had to.
That’s the strange thing about the comparisons made between Maryland and Oregon.
For some reason that is completely foreign to me, fans have made it seem as though there would be something wrong with Maryland becoming “the Oregon of the East.”
Maryland football could only PRAY to become “the Oregon of the East.”
While not the predominant power in their conference (that honor still goes to USC despite probation), Oregon has become one of the nation’s strongest football programs. They’ve missed postseason play just once since the turn of the century, winning or sharing the conference title four times during the stretch and reaching three BCS bowls.
In the same time period, Maryland has missed the postseason four times, winning just one ACC title (2001)-which lead to their only ever BCS bowl appearance.
I make fairly regular appearances with Mitch Levy on KJR in Seattle to discuss Ravens football. Following the dismissal of Ralph Friedgen in College Park, I was asked to discuss Maryland football on the same show. During the segment I argued that Maryland and Oregon were different because the Terrapins football program could not survive without the direct life blood provided by Plank and Under Armour. It was at that point that Levy informed me Oregon football could have never reached their level of success without the direct tie to Nike.
Without having much of an argument to make to the contrary, it’s hard to imagine he’s not correct.
Perhaps SI’s Michael Rosenberg said it best earlier this year when he contended that “without Knight, Oregon would be … (gasp!) Oregon State.”
At the moment, Maryland pretty much IS Oregon State.
Actually, Maryland football might not even quite be at the level of Oregon State.
If Maryland football is ever going to succeed at an Oregon-type level, they desperately need significant involvement from Plank and Under Armour.
Both Athletic Director Kevin Anderson and football coach Randy Edsall sang the praises of Plank and UA’s work at Monday night’s event. Edsall exclaimed emphatically that Plank “got it done, DONE” in creating the team’s new jerseys, citing a saying that is apparently popular in UA’s Charm City offices.
It will be on Anderson and Edsall to take every advantage of the relationship between the school and Plank/UA in hopes to breathe life into a football program that has struggled simply to fill seats at Byrd Stadium in recent years.
Now with new uniforms, new branding (you’ll see “Maryland” a lot more than “Terps” these days) and a new coach, it’s on Maryland football to get the job “done DONE” moving forward. That will have to happen both on the field and off it.
The good news for Maryland is that much like Oregon, they have the support and backing of one of the most significant athletic companies on the face of the planet.
Unquestionably, they could do much worse.