LANDOVER, Md. — The University of Maryland Terrapins
went through the motions lost to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 45-21 Saturday night at FedEx Field.
The good news (for me) is that I won’t be attending another Maryland football game this season.
That’s where the good news ends.
This isn’t the final game on the schedule for the Terps (2-8, 1-5) this season, but I’ll guess it will be the final time I offer more than a handful of words to discuss them. I’ll imagine most of you can understand.
I remember back in August I had a thought that the team’s visit to North Carolina State November 26 could have ACC Championship implications. I remember thinking that with the Baltimore Ravens set to host the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving night I would have my weekend free and perhaps a trip to Raleigh would be in order.
As you’d assume, I have no travel plans for my Turkey Day weekend.
I’ve paid my dues. I’ve showed up for every game the Terps have played this season in the state of Maryland. The first game (Miami) was fun. The second half of the second game (West Virginia) was fun too. There was no more fun to be had this season.
I don’t write this in hopes to illicit sympathy from anyone. I write it because I know I’m not the only one who has suffered through the misery of Randy Edsall’s first season in College Park.
There’s no way of polishing this. No lipstick here can make this not look like a pig. Randy Edsall’s first season in College Park has been an unparalleled mess.
That would probably be an appropriate way to describe Maryland’s effort against the Irish (7-3) Saturday night as well.
“We’ve got to tackle better, get off on third down, (we’ve) got to make third downs, we can’t drop the ball” Edsall said after the loss, but even that probably couldn’t fully describe the effort.
After inheriting a team that finished with nine wins (including a Military Bowl triumph) a season ago, Edsall’s Terrapins (with aide of significant injury) have been unthinkably impossible to watch in 2011. Not only has the team struggled to win games, they’ve failed to maintain relevance. Not even the return to the buzzworthy Under Armour “PRIDE” uniforms could generate interest Saturday night, as the 70,251 fans who packed the home of the NFL’s Washington Redskins Saturday night overwhelmingly backed the home team.
The home team wasn’t Maryland. The team from South Bend, Indiana played that role Saturday night.
It isn’t so far-fetched to have thought Maryland would struggle after their transition from former coach Ralph Friedgen to Edsall. Many first year coaches are forced to establish roots before they can find future success. There was hope Maryland wouldn’t experience those types of growing pains as they returned the ACC Rookie of the Year (QB Danny O’Brien) and many of the players who experienced a victorious postseason one year earlier.
The best the Terrapins can hope for at this point would be a 4-8 finish (3-5 ACC), but a 2-10 (1-7 ACC) finish appears more likely with trips to Wake Forest and NC State left on the season.
Making things worse for a team that has been awful is the unwatchable nature of the games they’ve played in the past month. Instead of growing as a team during the course of the season, this team appears to have taken significant steps in the opposite direction.