ESPN's Scott Van Pelt is certainly one of the most visible Maryland super fans in the country, never hiding his Terptitude on TV or the radio and frequently coming home for games. So I think maybe he had his finger on the pulse when ESPN 980's Kevin Sheehan asked him this week if Mike Leach would be the school's next football coach.
"I'll say it this way: it had better be," Van Pelt said. "Because it's like Christmas time. A kid wants a bike for Christmas, not a book. Leach is a bike; anybody else is a book. And it had better be Leach."
I'd have gone with "Leach is a Sloop; anybody else is a Cat O'Nine Tails." Or maybe "Leach is a Brigantine; anybody else is a Doubloon." But the point is well-taken.
Sheehan also asked Van Pelt about Ralph Friedgen's firing, and he was like so many Terps fans on this issue: wistful but understanding.
"Well, it's very difficult, because Ralph's a guy who over his time here I got to know, both he and his wife Gloria," Van Pelt said. "As an alum, to take your team to bowl games in 7 out of 10 years is no small accomplishment, given the 10 years prior to his arrival. Having said that, Kevin, you were with me when we went to the Florida State game that night back in November, and you got about 45,000 people there on the same day that Penn State and Indiana drew about 80 at FedEx Field.
"So there are challenges economically for Kevin Anderson, the athletic director, to deal with, not the least of which are suites that are largely empty. And the business of college football is often brutal, and it doesn't feel fair, but I understand why an athletic director who's new comes in and takes a look at the situation and goes, all right, we've got some issues here. And he's chosen to make a move. I'll say this -- and I've had a chance to visit with Kevin Anderson -- I think he's a smart man, and I think he's got a plan that he hopes will come together.
"It's an incredibly ballsy first move, and I feel really badly for Ralph. But at the same time I'm trying to see it through the eyes of an athletic director that's got a fiscal challenge that he's trying to meet, and that's trying to get a fickle fan base back on board and filling up the seats and the suites at Byrd Stadium."