Maryland has officially fired head football coach Randy Edsall, and it shouldn't be hard to line up a quality replacement – as long as Maryland makes the right sales pitch.
The Terrapins, as a football program, are miles from perfect. The fans don't pack old, rickety Byrd Stadium every Saturday, and the Big Ten East is one of college football's hardest divisions to win. But there's a lot going on here that prospective candidates should like, and that means Maryland has no excuse not for hitting it big with Edsall's successor.
Whether the search begins this weekend or in 10 years, here are four reasons Maryland should be able to get the right person for the gig:
1. The Under Armour connection
Beside Oregon and Nike, no school and apparel designer are as closely intertwined as Maryland and Under Armour. UA founder Kevin Plank is a former Maryland football player, and his company gives Maryland the kind of support few schools get from the businesses that make their equipment. Because of Under Armour, Maryland has cool uniforms that recruits should love, a distinct brand identity and also ...
2. The new Cole Field House
Plank ponied up $25 million for Maryland's massive renovation of Cole Field House, matching the contribution of the state government itself. The project is questionable from a state and university budgeting priorities standpoint, but it's an absolute home run from a football standpoint. In five years, Maryland's going to have the nicest football headquarters of any university anywhere (save, maybe, for Oregon). Coaches like that, and so do recruits. Speaking of which ...
3. Fertile recruiting ground
The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area has a lot of good football players in it. So does the state of Maryland as a whole, in fact. Next year's incoming class of Maryland high school players has 12 four-star recruits, according to 247Sports. The year after that has eight. Those aren't quite Texas or Florida numbers, to be sure, but here's the thing: Maryland doesn't need them to be. The Terps are the only major college program anywhere in the state, and the only geographic competitors to in-state prospects should be Penn State and perhaps Pitt and Virginia. Of course, other factors come into play – coaches, relationships, prestige, family situations, scheme fits and more – but geography's a helpful starting point. Overall, it is also in Maryland's favor.
4. The Big Ten
The Big Ten isn't by any stretch the country's best college football conference. But the league offers every bit the big-time atmosphere recruits want, and that shouldn't be underestimated. Edsall himself has cited the Big Ten as a recruiting edge, and perhaps it helped him put together what is, for now, one of the country's better classes for next season. Maryland gets to – or has to – play against Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan every year. Some years, they'll play multiple games in front of crowds bigger than 100,000 and in a league that has a deal with ESPN and its own TV channel. That's a good pitch for recruits, and it should be a good pitch for a head coach, too.