Edsall on Penn State: “Let the rivalry begin now”

By Ryan Connors

Maryland's Sean Davis takes down a Penn State receiver during the Nov. 1 victory over PSU. Photo from diamondbackonline.com

Maryland’s Sean Davis takes down a Penn State receiver during the Nov. 1 victory over PSU. Photo from diamondbackonline.com

Can a rivalry really be made out of one game?  Head coach Randy Edsall certainly thinks so.

“Let the rivalry begin now. Let it begin. There should be a trophy for this game. It’s a bordering state. Let’s have some fun. Let’s really make it competitive,” Edsall said after Maryland’s 20-19 win against Penn State on November 1.

This rivalry talk comes not only after a close win, but after a highly publicized scrum between the two teams before the game, followed by Maryland’s captains refusing to shake hands with Penn State’s captains before kickoff.

Student opinions vary on whether or not you can call a team your rival after playing them for the first time in more than 10 years.

“I don’t think it’s rivalry yet, said sophomore journalism major Matt Ellentuck  I think Maryland is looking for its identity in the Big Ten, but rivalries take time.  Penn State leads the all-time series by a lot, so it’s going to be a long time before we even it up,” he said, speaking of Penn State’s utter dominance of Maryland in the past.  This was Maryland’s first win against Penn State in 53 years, and Maryland has lost 35 of their 37 meetings in the all-time series against the Nittany Lions.

“I think the whole rivalry thing is too forced.  It seems to me like the Big Ten is just trying to drum up drama for ratings,” Ellentuck said.

But many students agree with Edsall, for various reasons.

“I think Penn State will become our rival sooner or later simply because the only other school close enough to us is Rutgers.  And I don’t think anyone would be too excited to have a rivalry with them,” said junior computer science major Des Chandhok.  “Penn State is such a storied football school.  Rutgers doesn’t have nearly the same popularity or history.”

Even though Rutgers beat Maryland 41-38 on Thanksgiving weekend, Chandhok still doesn’t think they will be our rivals anytime soon.  “You could just tell by how the students talk about the games.  Everyone was talking about Penn State before that game.  Even after we lost to Rutgers, everyone just said it was a ‘letdown’ game.”

“I think we have a rivalry with Penn State, partly because of Maryland’s relationship with James Franklin,” said sophomore mechanical engineering major Patrick Armour.

Franklin and Maryland have a complicated history.  Franklin was named Maryland’s “head coach-in-waiting” by then-athletic director Debbie Yow in 2009 when he was the Terps’ offensive coordinator.

When Kevin Anderson replaced Yow as athletic director, Anderson did not view the agreement favorably, telling the Baltimore Sun, “I do not see how it serves this program well.”    In 2010, Franklin left College Park to accept the head coaching position at Vanderbilt, a position he held until accepting Penn State’s open head coaching spot this past offseason. Armour added that Franklin has been “talking trash” since he became coach of Penn State.

Franklin drew headlines last year when he said that he considered Maryland “in state recruiting.”  Franklin later went on to downplay those remarks at the Big Ten’s media day, saying, “I probably said some things I shouldn’t have because I’m trying to get our fans excited.”

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