In BBroman's post about Bowden's firing, he points out that the standard has now been set for coaches in the ACC - going 3-3 to start the season, despite having a great winning record and taking you team to 8 bowl appearances can get you fired. There is now a standard. But I ask, does Maryland live up to that standard? Is Maryland's football program on par with Clemson's? If the Terps lose their next 2-3 games, would Debbie Yow seriously consider firing Ralph Friedgen? Ralph's record is as good as Bowden's, he has an ACC title (something Bowden lacked), has a 3-2 Bowl record and has taken his team to the post season in 5 of his 7 seasons as head coach. I personally think that unless the Terps lose out, Ralph's job is safe. But you say "Bowden got fired for going 3-3, took the Tigers to 8 bowl games, and had a 72-45 record, firing Fridge is definitely justified, especially if the Terps don't do well this year."
I just don't think that Maryland's football expectations are as high, nor should they be, as Clemson's. Clemson's stadium capacity is 85,000+, has won 59.0% of its games through the 2006 season, placing it 37th on the all-time winning percentage list and Clemson is also currently the leader among ACC schools for conference championships at 13 - although none came under Bowden (from Wikipedia).
Maryland has had decades of domination in football but they seem to always be followed up by a decade of disaster. Ralph Friedgen is trying to build a program like Clemsons - one that sells out to season ticket holders, one that is constantly expanding their stadium and improving their facilities, and one that avoiding a huge, 2-3 win season.
I think Terps fans were spoiled by Ralph's success in the first few seasons at Maryland. Rather than building to 5-6, 6-5, 7-4 records with improvement year after year, Ralph's early success of double-digit win seasons in his first 3 seasons set the bar high for Terps fans who quickly forgot about not going to a bowl game for 10+ seasons.
I don't think Maryland's program is on par with Clemson's or some other ACC schools, such as FSU, but despite having a few bad seasons, the program has continued to build under Friedgen. You're seeing it in season ticket sales, stadium expansion and in facilities improvements. Ralph has planted the seeds of a national football program. He just needs to grow that into wins. And has to be able to get his players to play for him no matter who their opponent is. If he can't do that, then the keys to his program will be handed over to another coach who can. But I ask Terps fans to wait - 2 more years. I think by that point, expecting Maryland to be perennial top 25 team who works towards a national title are reasonable expectations to have. But not yet. Soon, but not yet.