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A Statistical Look at Ralph Friedgen's Last Five Years

As Ralph Friedgen's job security gets closer and closer to absolute zero, you'll hear a lot of arguments both for and against firing Ralph. One of the primary arguments against the termination will surely be Ralph Friedgen's past performance. I won't argue against his first three years - can't complain about 30 wins - but his last five years have been a completely different story.

Actually, his team has averaged a ranking in the top half of all FBS teams in just three of the nine categories I measured (passing offense, rushing offense, total offense, passing defense, rushing defense, total defense, scoring offense, scoring defense, turnovers), none of which were actually in his specialty as an offensive coach. It seems like the only things he's done even averagely in the past five years wasn't even his work, but his defensive coordinator's.

In fact, the supposed offensive genius' team has finished in the top half of rushing offense zero times, the top half of passing offense just twice (though the second time, this year, isn't done yet), total offense just once, and scoring offense not even one time. Yikes.

On top of that, his most successful year in terms of the record was in 2006, when he led the Terps to a 9-4 record and a win in the Champs Sports Bowl. Surprisingly, that year wasn't any better statistically than the losing record years; in fact, it was worse than some of the surrounding years.

If they weren't successful statistically, that must mean luck played a big role, right? Maybe that's why Maryland hasn't seen the best of luck lately; it's gotta even out eventually. But you can bet Ralph wouldn't say his team was worse than the teams they beat that year.

Here's the numbers sadly statted; the number of teams in the NCAA I-A (or FBS) division is in parentheses:


Not pretty, is it? Ralph's a great guy, but he hasn't been lighting the world on fire; in fact, the only thing that he's been able to do with any measure of consistent success in the past five years seems to be letting his defensive coordinators coach.

It's also worth noticing that the turnovers aren't a one year deal, like some have said. In fact, outside of 2007, Maryland has finished in the bottom 35 of turnover margin every year since 2004. That's not on the players.

Now, if you don't believe Ralph Friedgen's past performance is a reason for termination, then this did nothing. But then I'm not sure exactly what you're basing his performance on, because it's clear, statistically and in terms of the record, something has stopped clicking since 2003.