As reported earlier, Ralph Friedgen has been informed that he will not be returning to the Maryland Terrapins as head coach in 2011. That leaves Friedgen with just a couple options: retire, or get fired. The only difference would be a matter of buyout terms and public civility.
Well, according to the Baltimore Sun, Friedgen's not in the mood to acquiesce; he's reportedly refusing to retire, which would appear to force Maryland's hand. A firing's always uglier than a retirement, even one that's forced, but if Maryland's dead-set on ending the Friedgen era then the ends'll justify whatever means are necessary.
Now, that supposedly means the Mike Leach era is at hand, and now the real question is what this does to Maryland's Military Bowl appearance on December 29. Does Maryland fire Friedgen as of December 30 and give him one last hurrah (along with his buyout)? Does Maryland fire him straight away and install defensive coordinator Don Brown as the interim head coach? Or, if the deal with Leach is as imminent as the Washington Post report suggests, is the Dread Pirate Leach crashing the Military Bowl?
And last, between Vanderbilt taking Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin (which likely started this whole Friedgen mess) and Florida hiring Will Muschamp from Texas, isn't it time to assume that declaring an assistant coach the "Head Coach In Waiting" isn't that wise of an idea? It makes the assistant that much more valuable without actually obligating him to a thing at his current school, it makes him a more attractive hire for a school trying to make a splash, and his inevitable departure creates even more havoc than if he were just, y'know, an assistant. It's probably safe to say Maryland and Texas didn't exactly think this cunning plan all the way through, and now here both schools are, surrounded by more questions about their programs' futures than they'd have imagined just two weeks ago.