Terps drop Military Bowl, still finish winning season
There was an undeniable tone to the social media conversation in the hours after news broke that Vanderbilt head coach and former Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin would become the next head coach at Penn State.
It was a catharsis, a purging of frustrations about the fact that Franklin was right under Maryland's nose, but was allowed to slip away to Vanderbilt amidst administrative uncertainty in College Park after Maryland's appearance in the 2010 Military Bowl.
That's all well and good. Maryland did at one time have a coach on staff who is now a rising star in the industry, getting interest from professional and major college teams after his success in Nashville. But there is a major flaw in the argument, the argument that somehow Franklin would currently be the cure for all of Maryland's ills and--most importantly--a permanent fixture.
At this moment, had Franklin hypothetically become the man to succeed former coach Ralph Friedgen and had a few years of success in College Park, would he still not flirt with the opening at Penn State? Would those years of success suddenly make Maryland a destination job and Penn State worth turning down?
The power players in college football will always be the power players. They can hand pick whomever they like, write a check, and hope to reel them in. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher was rumored to be (at least in some capacity) in the running for the Texas job. He just won a national title in Tallahassee.
The idea that somehow Franklin would be insulated from those outside influences in flawed. If he had succeeded as the head coach in College Park, the Terrapins could very well have been in the same position as the Commodores were over these past few weeks.
Could the program hypothetically be in a better place, not having to have struggled through two down seasons before reaching a bowl game? Yes.
If that's the argument, there's nothing incorrect about that. But to think that Franklin would not have entertained or ultimately taken the Penn State job had all else been the same except he was at Maryland instead of Vanderbilt can't be assured.