Before I go all sunshine & roses here, I'll acknowledge the obvious: These are hard times for us Terp fans.
Since athletic director Kevin Anderson arrived and installed new head coaches for both major revenue programs, Maryland has been in sports jail, so to speak.
We can talk about potential, we can talk about direction, we can talk about foundation, we can speculate until sunset, we can argue best-case and worst-case scenarios until we're blue in the face. And frankly, we do all those things pretty much all the time here at Testudo Times.
Well, since Randy Edsall arrived Maryland's record in football is 13-24 with one bowl appearance -- a double-digit loss to a mid-major. Meanwhile, the Mark Turgeon basketball era has averaged 14+ losses per season with zero NCAA Tournament appearances.
Faust was supposed to be the program savior and a bridge between the Gary Williams and Mark Turgeon tenures. He never became that.
So long, Seth
Reaction to Allen news
Allen was an immediate-impact guy who's value to the team was immeasurable. His return to the lineup from injury last year was the plain-to-see divider between the hugely underwhelming early portion of the season and team's late-season emergence into a game, dangerous opponent for all comers.
A change in perception
Even the most ardent supporters of Mark Turgeon were taken aback by the news of Allen's release and the rampant rumors that forward Charles Mitchell -- another vital piece of the program -- might also be leaving.
The Edsall Way
Further, we have no idea what the view of Turgeon from within the athletic department is. The last 72 hours or so would've been a decent time for Kevin Anderson to issue some kind of statement, one way or the other, to his stressed-out base of fans and alumni, but that hasn't happened. For all we know, the die is cast and Mark Turgeon is already a lame duck. Maybe he'll usher his celebrated 2014 recruiting class into the door and get them settled for one season, then be dismissed. You can't rule that out.
Oops, let's reboot
Remember way back up at the top of this story when I mentioned sunshine & roses? Well, some 1,000 words later, it's still raining and the flowers are dead. I sat down to write something uplifting and instead it reads like a gut-punch. Sorry about that. Let's try and brighten things up a little.
Take a deep breath and repeat after me: Maryland is going to be a better team next season.
1. Seth Allen is replaceable
Next in line?
Next in line?
2. Romelo Trimble
The future of the program
3. The Terps will be a more well-rounded team next season
4. Maybe this isn't a Mark Turgeon issue
"The transfer culture begins in high schools, where transfer rules are especially lax at private schools, prep schools and the fly-by-night schools that appear and disappear from the landscape each season. It's not uncommon for a high school player to be thrown out of a school for disciplinary reasons and find himself in uniform for another school within 48 hours.
And there are no rules for AAU programs, where players change teams week by week, often depending on who can offer them more gear or perks. The lesson becomes obvious in high school: If you are tall and talented, there's always greener grass or a second chance.
'It's definitely out of control," said Chris Sparks, the coach at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, a prep school in Massachusetts. "I think transferring is at a point right now where it's condoned.' "
And then consider the comments ESPN analyst Jay Bilas told the Baltimore Sun shortly after the Allen news broke. (H/T to terpsontop for introducing this to us in a related fanpost).
If you don’t play in a position, if you have to make a sacrifice, if you have the ball in your hands or don’t have the ball, now it’s more acceptable to transfer. You don’t want to overuse the word culture, [but] even players in AAU jump from one team to another with no rhyme or reason."
"Sometimes when guys leave that are not happy, it improves things, " Bilas said. "It improves the situation for the guy that leaves and it improves the situation for the environment he leaves behind."
And that leads nicely into the final case I'll make for Maryland's improvement next season ...
Bilas said it perfectly. If Faust, Cleare, Peters, Allen, and possibly Mitchell don't want to be here, then it's better that they aren't. Good bye and good luck.
Meanwhile, we've seen some emphatic tweets from existing Maryland players and others around the program that are strongly supportive of Turgeon and the direction of the program. Apparently, Turgeon held an either-you're-in-or-out type of meeting, and the guys who are still in the program now are 100-percent in it. The 2014-2015 Terrapins are going to be a united bunch with a collective chip on their shoulders and a coach they believe needs vindication.
By all accounts, Maryland basketball is one more middling season away from blowing the whole thing up. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see how the Terps respond.
Am I more optimistic than most? Let's take the temperature with a poll.