Maryland Head Coach Randy Edsall Says Penn State Is His Team’s Rival
Big Ten Football Media Days got underway on Thursday with seven of the conference’s 14 head coaches speaking to the press en masse for the first time since last season. Penn State and James Franklin will speak Friday morning at 10:30 a.m., and while he’ll be asked about many storylines entering the 2015 season, one of the most recent is how he’s holding a press conference in Chicago after throwing the first pitch at the Phillies game Thursday night.
Thursday’s event featured the head coaches of Illinois, Michigan State, Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio State. Each coach was allotted 15 minutes in front of the media room, with time for miscellaneous interviews before and after. Most of the coaches used their time to talk about their programs, but one branched off to talk about his program’s perceived biggest rival.
When Maryland’s head coach, Randy Edsall, was asked about who he considered the Terps’ rival to be, he answered, “Well it’s Penn State now.”
Maryland’s first meeting with Penn State as a member of the Big Ten went in the former’s favor, as the Terrapins won a frustrating 20-19 affair. The longest lasting impresson came before the game, though — after a pregame scuffle, Maryland players snubbed Penn State’s captains at the handshake line. While Edsall and Maryland’s athletic director issued apologies after the game, it was an interesting way to start the teams’ first B1G matchup.
Who Penn State’s rival is has been a popular subject of discussion this summer. We talked about it in our podcast and Black Shoes Diaries took a mathematical approach, but we both came up with the same lists — either Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Pitt, or even Rutgers, but likely not Maryland. That being said, Edsall’s logic was sound — rivalries begin in recruiting, and Penn State has been a popular pick for recruits from the Old Line State.
“Well, I think the one thing [about recruiting] is in terms of any time that you beat teams from your area or if you beat a team that you haven’t had really particular success against — when you’re 1-35-1 against a program that you played consistently, you know, through the ’60s, the ’70s, the ’80s and those eras, to be able to go and beat them in Happy Valley for the first time and the first time you’ve ever beaten them there and also the first time since 1961, I think it showed kids in our area that we can compete with them and we can win. And I think kids look at that. High school kids look at that,” Edsall said.
“And Penn State has always had a niche for being able to come down to Maryland and take players up there,” he added. “And that’s one of the things that we knew if we wanted to get some recruits, we’d have to beat them on the field.”
Depending on who you ask, last year’s display was either the beginning of a heated rivalry or the first of an annual dirty game. Either way, one thing is certain — when you’re 2-35-1 against a program and refuse pregame gestures of good sportsmanship, you’ll certainly get the Lions’ attention.
The two teams will meet up at MT&T Bank Stadium on Oct. 24 to settle whether or not last year was a fluke or a sign of things to come.