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Maryland Ranked #23, #24 in Final AP, Coaches' Polls

Coming into the season, Maryland football wasn't ranked. During the season, they were never ranked. But hey, only the final ranking counts. And in those final rankings, Maryland finally did make an appearance. They were ranked 23rd in the AP Poll and 24th in the Coaches' Poll, both exceedingly high marks considering where Maryland was expected to finish at the start of the year (that is, dead last).

(As a quick side note: we'll hear a lot about how "ironic" it is that Ralph Friedgen was fired, or that this shows that Friedgen's firing was "unfair" or a bad idea, or that this shows how Maryland was reaching too high, or any number of other ways to say "Firing = bad, because top 25."

Of course, all of that is poppycock. Maryland fired Ralph Friedgen for a lot of reasons, not just his performance. Was performance a reason? Yes, but ultimately, a small one. Had he won an ACC championship, he'd still be on board. Anything short, and you just can't afford to extend someone with Friedgen's track record, health, and, most importantly, age, without any idea who will be surrounding him. He could've won his way into a contract extension, but the circumstances - namely, James Franklin leaving - required essentially an ACC championship season, and that didn't happen. It was unfair, but it wasn't irrational, and this doesn't change that.)

But I digress. This isn't about the Friedgen / Edsall situation, which is still alive and annoying. This is about Maryland's football team rocking the season. And think about this: Maryland returns eight starters on offense (including four of five offensive linemen and the star QB, Danny O'Brien) and six starters on defense, assuming Kenny Tate doesn't return. If he does come back, consider it one giant cherry on top. (Not to mention the natural progression that Danny O'Brien, Joe Vellano, and D.J. Adams should see).

Considering where they were this year and how much is returning, the Terrapins will be ranked in the top 25 to start the season next year. If they can knock off West Virginia, the only real early season challenge, and win the other games they're supposed to, they'll be top 20 or 15 in short order. For those fretting about ticket sales, fans will come to see a winning team.

Congrats to the team on the high ranking. They deserve it.