The calendar's set to turn, and that means it's New Year's resolution time. In the final installment of our 12 for '12 series, we list 12 things -- in no specific order -- on Maryland's 2013 to-do list.
It's a time of change and hope for Maryland sports, with a full plate on the 2013 slate.
Return to the Sweet 16.
Given Maryland’s light early schedule, it’s too soon to determine whether or not this squad has the makings of a Sweet 16 team. But let’s face it: it’s been far too long – 10 years, believe it or not – since the Terrapins have been around for the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. A couple of NCAA wins would rejuvenate the fanbase and add a huge dose of credence to the growing sentiment that Mark Turgeon has Maryland on its way back to national prominence.
Blow the ACC a Few Goodbye Kisses.
For a school that’s long considered itself a second-tier citizen of the Atlantic Coast Conference, there would be no sweeter way to bid its neighbors to the South farewell than winning a trophy or two. Maryland basketball’s poised to compete for a top spot this season, and could be even better next season, which is Maryland’s final as a member of the conference. The football program, meantime, has the makings of a potential ACC darkhorse next season. In light of the contentious debates resulting from Maryland’s announcement to join the Big 10, it’s safe to say the Terps would love to have the last word.
Convince Alex Len to Come Back.
When Len arrived in College Park, the plan was for him to stay two years and then head for the pros. His season-opening showing against Kentucky seemingly cemented him as a top-five NBA Draft pick, and it’s difficult to find anyone who believes he won’t take advantage of his rising stock. That said, New Year’s resolutions are all about high hopes; Len seems to love life in College Park, and he could become far more NBA-ready with another season in college while making the Terps a clear-cut top-five team.
Capitalize on the Football Rebuild.
When Randy Edsall was hired, few expected immediate success. Edsall’s a long-term builder, and he was brought in with a plan to remake the program from the ground up. But now, with two seasons spent shaping the roster, boosting recruiting and implementing a new culture, rebuilding mode is – or at least should be – complete. The ACC’s hardly been a battlefield in recent years, and on paper the Terrapins will have a talented roster, especially on offense. Maryland football is due for a breakout.
It's time for fans to begin packing the house again for Mark Turgeon.
Snag a Top Basketball Class.
Player by player, Mark Turgeon has dramatically boosted the program’s talent level. The large 2012 class is expected to be the engine for the new era of Maryland basketball, one that will be souped up by the 2013 and 2014 groups. After taking a two-man class this year, Maryland could take three players next year. Turgeon got off to a strong start with Romelo Trimble and could put the Terps over the top by snagging a couple more top-50 caliber prospects.
Bring the Crowds Back to College Park.
Maryland’s decreasing football and basketball have been a hot topic, and for good reasons. The program’s lack of cash is partially related to decreased attendance, including a 15 percent drop in football this season that was the second-biggest BCS plunge. Not only could Maryland use the additional revenue, but it’s past time for Terps football games and basketball games against schools other than Duke to feel like buzz-worthy events again.
Avoid the Football Injury Bug.
Randy Edsall’s first year at Maryland was marred by defections ad injuries and Year Two brought an ACL epidemic at the quarterback position. The Terps are increasingly talented but still lack the sort of depth needed to overcome such obstacles, so they’ll need relative health in order to get back to playing winning football. For all of Edsall’s early detractors, many have begun to warm up to him, and he deserves a chance to prove himself without combing the concession stands for a signal caller.
Find a Home for the Lacrosse Teams.
The move to the Big 10 was a no-brainer in most categories, with lacrosse serving as one the most glaring exceptions. While football and basketball draw the most interest, Maryland’s rich tradition and strong following in men’s and women’s lacrosse is another consideration that hasn’t been resolved. Because the Big 10 doesn’t play the sport, Maryland’s administration will be challenged to find a solution that provides the lacrosse teams a new home without significantly hurting their exposure and regional rivalries.
Between the ACC departure, finding a home for lacrosse and more, it'll be a busy 2013 for Anderson.
Break Ground on an Indoor Practice Facility.
Maryland has long needed an indoor practice facility for the football team. Not having ne is a competitive disadvantage on both the field and the recruiting trail. Maryland plans to build an all-purpose indoor facility for use by the football team and other athletes, likely funded to some extent by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, and now that the program’s set to receive an influx of cash from the Big 10, it’s time to get moving – especially with the move to a conference whose members boast impressive football facilities.
Save More Sports.
When Maryland announced its move to the Big 10, athletic director Kevin Anderson cited as one reason the ability to fund some of the sports that were cut due to financial constraints. Outdoor men’s track has already been restored thanks to private donations, but it’s expected some of the newfound revenue will be used to resuscitate other non-revenue programs.
Tell More Friends About InsideMDSports.com
With their favorite teams set to break out and their administration having pulled off a conference realignment coup, one of Maryland fans’ first priorities should be spreading the word about the absolute best Terps site on the Web to other passionate fans can. A no-brainer, here.
Keep the Change.
The ACC expects Maryland to pay $50 million in exit fees before it departs. Maryland officials are hoping to settle on an amount in the neighborhood of half of that. There’s a lot of money on the line for both sides. And for the ACC, making Maryland fork over the full fee would be a warning blow to other conference members with wandering eyes. For Maryland and its fans, skating with a lesser bill would also deliver gut shot to a conference that’s never seemed to cater to them.