First-year Maryland coach Randy Edsall said Monday that he would rather not open the season against a conference opponent, as the Terrapins will Sept. 5 against Miami. He would rather have been allowed to stick to the original plan, which was for Maryland to begin its 2011 campaign Sept. 3 against division I-AA Towson.
But, as Edsall noted at the ACC Football Kickoff in Pinehurst, N.C., ideal situations don’t always materialize. And so the Terrapins will fulfill the wishes of the ACC and ESPN – the league’s primary television partner – and prepare to take on the Hurricanes in prime time on Labor Day.
“I don’t prefer it,” Edsall said. “But, you know, I didn’t have much say in the matter. . . . It’s a great opportunity for us, great exposure on our home field. You know, the only thing that we can do is just play the schedule that’s given to us.”
The nonconference portion of a team’s schedule typically is determined years in advance, and when Edsall arrived in College Park in January, his first opponent was supposed to be Towson. But Edsall said he was informed in February that his team instead would open its season two days later against Miami.
That kind of relatively last-minute schedule swapping can create problems, Edsall said, because coaches try to plan out their seasons factoring in what they will have returning in terms of player personnel and the lineup holes they will have to fill while preparing the overall unit for conference play.
“Because of TV obligations that the ACC has with our TV partners, they have a slot there [Labor Day night] for that game,” Edsall said. “And that game usually has been Florida State-Miami. And so this year they decided to change that. And that’s what they did.
“It’s one of those things that you hope in the future that you’re able to set your nonconference schedule because you’d like to play all your nonconference games – at least I would – your first four weeks. And then get yourself into the conference after those first four weeks.”