Randy Edsall could be facing his alma mater on a yearly basis in the future. (Photo Credit: The Washington Post)
According to reports on the Syracuse website citing deputy athletic director Herman Frazier, Maryland and Syracuse are strongly considering beginning a football series once the Terps move on to the B1G. Maryland coach Randy Edsall confirmed on ACC Media Day Monday afternoon that they are working on scheduling that series down the road. Of course, for now at least, Syracuse is in the ACC and will only face Maryland this season on November 9th at Byrd Stadium.
Judging by Maryland’s 2013 non-conference schedule, that portion could use a face-lift. The Terps will face Florida International, Old Dominion, and West Virginia only a year after opening the 2012 season against lowly William & Mary. It certainly would behoove Randy Edsall to go the route similar to that of basketball coach Mark Turgeon. In Turgeon’s first year at Maryland, he scheduled a weak non-conference schedule and didn’t played many good teams except for Kentucky in the Barclays Center Classic.
For the past two seasons, Edsall has faced West Virginia and a few other sub-par teams. It’s time for Edsall to take the program to the next level and raise Maryland’s competition. However, would a series with Syracuse be the way to go?
If you look at Syracuse’s performance in recent years, it becomes clear that the Orange are far from a football powerhouse. The Orange did make it to a bowl game in 2012, ironically against West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl. However, the success just hasn’t been consistent over the last several seasons. Syracuse played (prior to their move to the ACC) in the less-than-stellar Big East, a conference that is seeing many teams leave for greener pastures. They’ve play a much weaker schedule than Maryland, and are more widely recognized as a premier basketball school.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why Edsall would want to start a series with Syracuse. It is his alma mater and he spent 15 years there — four as a player and 11 as a coach. It makes complete sense for Edsall to want to make a trip to upstate New York or have the Orange travel to College Park. It’s a non-conference contest that would be within close distance of Maryland’s campus, relatively speaking.
How the Orange have fared the past several years
In the past five years, Syracuse has finished with an above .500 record in only two of those seasons; the other three saw a high of five wins and a low of three. The Orange had an 8-5 record during the 2010 and 2012 and ended up reaching the same bowl game in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl (they defeated West Virginia and Kansas State in those games). Over those five years, Syracuse posted a 28-34 overall record and 21 of those wins took place in the 2010 and 2012 seasons. You have to go all the way back to the 2004 season to find a .500 record before the success of the 2010 season.
Flip that on its ear and dissect Maryland’s play in recent years.
The Terps have played in six bowl games over the past 10 years and won five of those contests. Yes, they have had some dreadful seasons but were successful overall under Ralph Friedgen. Over the past 10 years, Maryland has posted a 71-66 which mostly came under Friedgen (minus the past two dreadful campaigns under Edsall).
The Terps beat some pretty decent programs in Tennessee, Purdue, and West Virginia. They had five winning seasons during that time frame which is more than we can say for the Orange. With a decent team, Maryland can hang with pretty much anybody. Even in Perry Hills’ third collegiate start, the Terps gave Geno Smith and the Mountaineers all they could handle last season. Another factor to consider is that Edsall is tearing it up on the recruiting trail, so the talent in College Park should definitely be on the rise.
In closing, it wouldn’t be an absolutely horrendous thing if Maryland began a series with Syracuse. However, the Terps may be a few steps above the Orange in a few short years and could face a little more daunting competition. Judging by Syracuse’ recent history, Maryland could do much better in terms of a future non-conference opponent.