The Maryland Terrapins open up the 2013 season Saturday against Florida International with hopes of a winning record and reaching a bowl game, and it might take just that for head coach Randy Edsall to keep his job.
Edsall is just 6-18 as he heads into his third year at Maryland. With the school set to join the Big 10 next year, now would be a really good time for Edsall to start winning some football games on a consistent basis. It's only going to get harder from here on out.
If you try hard enough, you can give him the benefit of the doubt for the struggles of the past two years. Year 1 saw massive roster turnover as Edsall tried to change the culture from the Friedgen era and mold the program to his liking. Year 2 saw small improvements, but a historical rash of injuries at the quarterback position forced him to put a linebacker under center for nearly half the season.
Edsall has done a better job of dealing with the media, fans and taking it a little easier on his players after a disastrous first season in College Park. The public relations campaign has at least stemmed the tide of irate fans and negative publicity around the program, as has improved recruiting thanks to the hiring of offensive coordinator Mike Locksley.
There is some positive buzz around the program, and the fact that the athletic department still has some financial issues also gives Edsall a bit more rope than many would like.
With plenty of depth at the quarterback position and a lot of talent at other skill positions, Maryland is primed for a breakout season. Stefon Diggs is one of the top offensive players in the country, and the Terps have a lot of talent at the running back and wide receiver positions.
Maryland also has a relatively easy schedule that should allow them to win the most games in one season under Edsall. Other than games against Florida State and Clemson, the Terps should be favorites or small underdogs in every other contest. The Terps also have a chance to finally beat West Virginia again, as the Mountaineers are a bit down this year after losing their star quarterback and wide receiver.
The Terps have a chance to leave the ACC with a bang. Edsall has a chance to prove to the fans that he is the man to oversee the Maryland football program as it moves from the ACC to the Big 10. Whether or not he is up to the challenge remains to be seen, but it should be the most entertaining season of his short tenure in College Park.