There are many bad things —- ranging from the merely observational to the downright spiteful (if you’re inclined to be spiteful) —- that could be said about Maryland’s football season.
At 2-10, there isn’t much the Terrapins can do to defend themselves. They just posted the first 10-loss season in school history. And though they could correctly note they lost five games by a possession or less, their two wins each came by a field goal.
Which is to say that coulda-woulda-shoulda works in both directions, and this bunch could be 7-5 or 2-10 or 0-12.
In any case, probably the most damning series of words that can be used in assessing the program or noting a trend therein are a variation of what follows:
“worst [insert facet here] since Ron Vanderlinden‘s final game” —- henceforth to be known as SRVFG
It’s damning not because of anything Vanderlinden did, but rather simply because he’s Friedgen’s predecessor. All of Friedgen’s successes could be compared to how Vanderlinden (and the coaches who came before him) could not achieve as much. It works in reverse, too, when the Terps sink back to where they were nearly a decade ago.
Sure enough, Maryland hit a particularly tart note in that regard today, recording its worst attendance figure SRVFG.
Maryland drew an announced crowd of 35,042, which actually isn’t that far off what it looked like. Student turnout was dismal, which was to be expected with a shaky team and a holiday break. The rest of the lower bowl filled in respectably, if not completely.
The Vanderlinden finale drew 24,701 for a bludgeoning at the hands of Georgia Tech in 2000. Which means there’s still quite a gap between the level of apathy then and where the program stands now.
To be fair, the average announced attendance on the season dipped to 44,451 today. That’s a whole lot better than the 34,129 average from the final pre-Friedgen season.
Still, it’s not a fun comparison —- especially for a coach whose fate is far from certain.
—- Patrick Stevens