When we opened this dive almost two years ago, I billed it as a place where we could argue sports -- all types of sports -- while I mixed pithy banter with watered-down drinks.
For the most part, I’ve kept my word. The banter has been extraordinary and you can’t get a whiskey sour that tastes more like tainted ocean spray in any other place on the Eastern Seaboard. I am strangely proud of that.
We certainly have done our share of arguing (here’s hoping Putin is back for good to keep that going), and almost always in a civil manner.
But if I have pulled a Steve Slaton and dropped the ball in the past two years, it’s in that “all sports,” category. We do baseball and football with aplomb, and we get to horse racing and college basketball when necessary.
Unfortunately, we rarely discuss college football except at BCS time. That’s a shame, because I love college football. For years, I wrote columns for another newspaper about Penn State football. I still keep an eye on the Nittany Lions, partially because my in-laws are obsessed and I like to stay in good standing with them (the in-laws, not the Nits).
And although I do my best as a sports journalist to keep my rooting interests quiet, I have also admitted in the past (this is where Rob K. spits on the bar) that I am tied both by heritage and family tradition to a certain unnamed and overrated football program that recently fired its overweight head coach. Yeah, them.
Here’s my question: How does that happen?
Fridge seems like a good coach and a solid guy. His team was riddled by injuries this year, so maybe he deserves a little break. But the Terps went 2-10 in 2009. They have had losing seasons in four of the past six years. In the ho-hum ACC.
That’s not good enough. Sorry. But it’s not. At Maryland, or at any pseudo-big-time Division I program.
Yes, I am the same guy that defended Dave Trembley after another disastrous Orioles season. But the difference is that Trembley doesn’t go out and get the players. He gets stuck with them. And he was stuck with an inferior group in nearly every aspect.
The Terps squad that went 2-10 this year was recruited and assembled by Friedgen. If it stumbled due to injuries, than that is his fault for not mining better depth. Put it this way: Friedgen gets $2 million a year to win football games – more than quadrupling what Trembley receives for managing the Orioles. And Friedgen hasn’t done it with a flourish since that amazing run in 2001.
Again, I don’t want to ever see someone lose their job. But I just don’t see how Friedgen, after the first 10-loss season in Maryland’s history, kept his.
Illuminate me, oh football fans of Maryland. I know you are out there.
Daily Think Special: Explain to me why Ralph Friedgen deserves a shot in 2010?