NCF Nation: Debbie Yow

Rutgers is hiring Louisville's Julie Hermann as its next athletic director, colleague Brett McMurphy reports. The Star-Ledger first reported Hermann's hiring, and an official announcement is expected later Wednesday.

Hermann, who currently serves as Louisville's executive senior associate athletic director, will become the second female athletic director in Big Ten history, following Merrily Dean Baker, who was Michigan State's AD from 1992-95. Hermann beat out Wisconsin deputy AD Sean Frazier for the top job at Rutgers, where popular AD Tim Pernetti resigned last month in the wake of the Mike Rice scandal.

Hermann has spent the past 15 years in Louisville's athletic administration working under AD Tom Jurich. She currently oversees 20 sports, including women's basketball, as well as the marketing department, the sports medicine group and the strength and conditioning staff.

She has a Big Ten connection (sort of) as a volleyball player at Nebraska, where she helped the Huskers win four Big Eight championships. She was Tennessee's head volleyball coach in the 1990s, and spent one year as an assistant for USA Volleyball.

Hermann becomes one of just three female athletic directors at a BCS-level program (N.C. State's Debbie Yow and Cal's Sandy Barbour are the others).

More to come on Hermann's hiring later today and this week ...
Head coaching salaries have been on the rise for years. So have assistant coach salaries, sparking a further separation between the programs that can pay and the programs that cannot.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that athletic directors have seen their salaries grow as well.

USA Today, which annually compiles head coaching salaries, recently found FBS athletic directors make an average of $515,000. That is an increase of more than 14 percent since USA Today last reported on AD salaries in 2011.

The ACC beats that average. Of the available salaries compiled by USA Today, ACC athletic directors were set to make an average of $602,829 in 2013. All but two made more than $500,000 -- Kevin Anderson at Maryland ($499,490), and Randy Spetman at Florida State ($350,00).

That doesn't count incoming Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, who makes a cool $1.4 million -- the highest paid athletic director at a public school. Only nine athletic directors make $1 million or more. The next highest paid public school AD is Dan Radakovich at Clemson, checking in at $725,000.

Boston College and Miami, two private schools, did not disclose figures.

While Spetman's salary has remained the same for the past several years, it still surprises me that the athletic director at one of the most high-profile football programs in the nation is the lowest paid in his league. And one of the lowest paid in the entire state of Florida. Florida AD Jeremy Foley makes more than $1 million; USF AD Doug Woolard makes nearly $500,000; Todd Stansbury at UCF makes just a smidge more ($375,000); and FIU AD Pete Garcia makes $441,832.

I know Spetman has faced his share of criticism, and the Noles have fought through some financial problems. They do pay Jimbo Fisher $2.75 million -- the highest paid coach in the ACC. But something seems off when the ADs at FIU, UCF and USF make more than the guy at Florida State.

Here are is the complete list of AD salaries in the ACC, thanks to USA Today.
  • Tom Jurich, Louisville: $1.4 million*
  • Kevin White, Duke, $906,536
  • Dan Radakovich, Clemson: $725,000
  • Ron Wellman, Wake Forest: $688,000
  • Mike Bobinski, Georgia Tech: $625,000
  • Jim Weaver, Virginia Tech: $621,529
  • Steve Pederson, Pitt: $596,595
  • Craig Littlepage, Virginia: $586,750
  • Daryl Gross, Syracuse: $570,057
  • Bubba Cunningham, North Carolina: $565,000
  • Debbie Yow, NC State: $500,000
  • Kevin Anderson, Maryland: $499,490**
  • Randy Spetman, Florida State: $350,000
  • Brad Bates, Boston College: NA
  • Blake James, Miami: NA

*Louisville expected to join ACC in 2014

** Maryland will depart ACC in 2014
The ACC presidents say they're sticking together. Stop laughing, guys. They're serious.

OK, I'm laughing, too. Can't help it.

Here's the statement the ACC presidents released today:
"We, the undersigned presidents of the Atlantic Coast Conference, wish to express our commitment to preserve and protect the future of our outstanding league. We want to be clear that the speculation about ACC schools in negotiations or considering alternatives to the ACC are totally false. The presidents of the ACC are united in our commitment to a strong and enduring conference. The ACC has long been a leader in intercollegiate athletics, both academically and athletically, and the constitution of our existing and future member schools will maintain the ACC's position as one of the nation's premier conferences."

Well, isn't that nice, the illusion of solidarity. I don't buy it, you don't buy it, and even the ACC presidents, if injected with truth serum, don't buy one word of this. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany wouldn't buy it, either, if he wasn't so busy counting his money.

It would be nice if the statement were true, but what we've seen in the past two and a half years invalidates every word. Remember when the Big East put out a similar statement in September 2011?

The realignment rage is far from over, and the chances of the ACC preventing another raid from a richer league like the Big Ten are slim to none.

Is the Big Ten expanding now? No. Were the rumors last week about talks with Georgia Tech substantiated? Not according to league officials I spoke to in Indianapolis. Is the Big Ten in a mad dash to become the first league to 16? No. In fact, the Big Ten has been reactive more than proactive.

But the Big Ten eventually will become a 16-team league, and odds are the additional schools will come from the ACC. If you want to speculate about the Big Ten's next expansion targets, look at big markets with good recruits and lots of Big Ten alumni.

Georgia Tech is a strong candidate because of its location, and schools like Virginia and maybe even North Carolina -- the white whale for the Big Ten, in my view -- could be in play. And while the ACC claims it's sticking together, there's simply too much money involved for individual members to say no.

NC State athletic director Debbie Yow, who previously held the same post at Maryland, expressed displeasure at Maryland's recent departure for the Big Ten.

"Maryland will be on a plane to play Wisconsin in the middle of the winter," Yow said. "Hope that money is really, really good."

Of all people, Yow should know why Maryland needs the Big Ten's money so badly. And yes, the money is really good and will only get better after the Big Ten finalizes its mammoth TV deal in a few years.

These types of statements insult fans' intelligence. What is that line about anything you say can and will be used against you? Brace yourselves, ACC.
The ACC, historically one of college football’s most inconsistent leagues, had stability at the top from the preseason through the postseason, with Florida State and Clemson holding onto a firm grasp of the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the power ranking, respectively. That hasn’t changed as we head into bowl season.

With the regular season and the championship game officially behind us, here is how the ACC stacks up heading into the new year:

1. Florida State (11-2, 7-1 ACC; LW: No. 1) -- The Seminoles won their first ACC title since 2005 with a 21-15 win over Georgia Tech. It was a disciplined defensive performance against the nation’s No. 3 rushing offense, and the Noles will represent the ACC against Northern Illinois in the Discover Orange Bowl.

2. Clemson (10-2, 7-1; LW: No. 2) -- After finishing the regular season with a loss to rival South Carolina, Clemson has a chance to redeem itself against the SEC against LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Clemson has won seven of its past eight games and could win an 11th game for the fourth time in school history.

3. Miami (7-5, 5-3; LW: No. 3) -- The Canes will be home for the holidays after their second straight self-imposed postseason ban, but the success this season was something to build on for next year. Running back Duke Johnson was named the ACC’s Rookie of the Year.

4. Georgia Tech (6-7, 5-3; LW: No. 4) -- The Yellow Jackets had a chance to upset the Noles in the ACC title game, but an interception with a minute remaining in the fourth quarter ended any hopes of it. Georgia Tech needed a waiver from the NCAA to play in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, where it will face USC.

5. North Carolina (8-4, 5-3; LW: No. 5) -- It was a successful first season for coach Larry Fedora; now it is a waiting game to see if star running back Giovani Bernard will leave school early to enter the NFL draft, and if there is any substance to the coaching rumors surrounding Tennessee’s interest in Fedora.

6. Duke (6-6, 3-5; LW: No. 6) -- The Blue Devils will face Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl as Duke returns to the postseason for the first time since 1994. David Cutcliffe was named the ACC Coach of the Year. Duke is making its ninth bowl trip and has a 3-5 record in postseason games. The Belk Bowl will be the program’s first appearance in a bowl game in North Carolina.

7. NC State (7-5, 4-4; LW: No. 7) -- Athletic director Debbie Yow didn’t waste any time hiring Dave Doeren from MAC champion Northern Illinois. Instead of coaching in the Discover Orange Bowl against FSU with his old team, Doeren immediately began working for NC State, which will play Vanderbilt (8-4) in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible will coach the Pack in the bowl game.

8. Virginia Tech (6-6, 4-4; LW: No. 8) -- After going 0-2 against the Big East during the regular season with losses to Pitt and Cincinnati, the Hokies will have a chance to redeem themselves against Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

9. Wake Forest (5-7, 3-5; LW: No. 10) -- The Deacs’ main priority now is recruiting, as it was another trying season for coach Jim Grobe and his staff. Wake Forest ended the season with three straight losses.

10. Virginia (4-8, 2-6; LW: No. 9) -- Coach Mike London made sweeping changes following a disappointing season, firing four of his assistants, including defensive coordinator Jim Reid. It’s likely the next coordinator will have a different, more aggressive defensive philosophy and scheme.

11. Maryland (4-8, 2-6; LW: No. 11) -- Anything and everything Maryland did this year on the field was overshadowed by its intent to join the Big Ten for the 2014 season. The ACC announced its intent to sue Maryland in order to force the university to pay the $50 million exit fee in full. As Randy Edsall and his staff recruits this offseason, they will do so looking for athletes to compete in the Big Ten.

12. Boston College (2-10, 1-7; LW: No. 12) -- Coach Frank Spaziani was fired, and first-year BC athletic director Brad Bates hired Temple coach Steve Addazio.
It is obvious what NC State athletic director Debbie Yow saw in Dave Doeren: man who elevated a good Northern Illinois football program into a great football program.

That is what she wants for her Wolfpack.

NC State is not a program in major need of a rebuilding job or an overhaul. NC State is a winning program, as evidenced by its recent bowl streak. It just needs somebody to get 'em over the top, to win the important games that simply haven't been won before on a consistent basis. Doeren has proven he can do that.

[+] EnlargeDave Doeren
Peter G. Aiken/US PRESSWIREDave Doeren comes to NC State after rebuilding a Northern Illinois team on the verge of a BCS bowl.
The Huskies have been one of the best teams in the MAC over the last several years. Doeren didn't rebuild a loser. But they also had a reputation for not being able to win the big games. The year before Doeren arrived, a Top 25 Northern Illinois team was upset in the MAC championship game. That group went on to win 11 games.

Rather than tear up the foundation, Doeren enhanced it -- and made the entire program better. He won MAC championships in consecutive seasons -- which just so happen to be his first two seasons as a head coach. He went 23-4 and 17-1 in conference play in two seasons in charge. The team he leaves behind is on the verge of making history as the first MAC school to potentially play in a BCS game.

That is textbook elevating good to great. But look at his conference mark. That had to be a huge factor in why Yow hired him. Tom O'Brien went 22-26 in ACC play in six seasons. That is the big number inked in red and circled, and highlighted on the school's press release announcing his dismissal.

The only area that could give NC State observers pause is recruiting. Remember, Yow said last week she wanted a coach who could bring in "Alabama-type talent." That has ratcheted up expectations out of the gate.

Doeren has no recruiting ties to the state of North Carolina, holding coaching jobs primarily in the Midwest throughout his career. He said during his introductory news conference Sunday that he recruited Florida heavily when he served as an assistant at Wisconsin for five seasons.

That helps, because creating pipelines into Florida should be a priority. But Doeren also talked about making North Carolina his No. 1 priority, even listing top in-state players who left North Carolina for their college opportunities.

"We will recruit the right way, we will recruit extremely hard, we will involve the high school coaches, we will turn over every stone and those stones are going to start in-state," Doeren said. "We will fight for every kid who belongs here. ... Recruiting is competition, it's relationships and I love both of those things. I look forward to selling what we have here."

Doeren also called NC State a "destination job" and said NC State was the only position he considered. He is not going to get much time on the clock to get NC State to live up to expectations, especially since the bar already is set so high. Doeren knows he is in the toughest division in the ACC, with Florida State and Clemson clearly at the top. And yet, he says he is not much for looking at past performances.

"My job is to make this team a champion," Doeren said. "I don't know how long it will take. I don't think it's my job to look at what happened before me as much as what I can do now."

What he can do is start immediately on the recruiting trail to try and build a winner.

NC State hires Dave Doeren

December, 1, 2012

NC State hired Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren on Saturday, a day after he led his team to a second straight MAC championship.

Doeren replaces Tom O'Brien, fired last week after six seasons on the job.

The Wolfpack made quick work of their coaching search, hiring a rising star in the college football ranks. Doeren has done terrific work in two years with the Huskies, going 23-4 overall and 17-1 against MAC competition. His team ended Kent State's BCS hopes on Friday night in the MAC championship game, winning 44-37 in double overtime.

"Coach Dave Doeren is a highly motivated overachiever who shares our goals to pursue aggressively a high level of achievement in the classroom and on the field of competition," NC State athletic director Debbie Yow said in a statement.

His offense has been particularly prolific in two seasons, as his quarterbacks -- Chandler Harnish last season and Jordan Lynch this season -- have been equally adept and running and passing. This season alone, Northern Ilinois averaged 40.8 points per game, and is in the top 15 nationally in rushing offense (ninth), scoring offense (10th), third-down conversions (15th), and total offense (15th).

"I am honored and excited to join the Wolfpack. NC State has world-class facilities and fans that are second to none," Doeren said in a statement. "I want to thank Chancellor Woodson and Debbie Yow for this tremendous opportunity. My family and I can't wait to get to Raleigh and become Wolfpackers. While I look forward to our future at State, I want to acknowledge and thank the Northern Illinois players and fans for their support the last two years, especially President Peters and athletic director Jeff Compher."

Doeren will be officially introduced Sunday.

Mediocrity undoes Tom O'Brien

November, 25, 2012

Tom O’Brien might have been his own worst opponent this season.

After all, he is the one who raised expectations this past summer by claiming that this was his deepest and most experienced team of his six-year tenure in Raleigh.

That team just finished 4-4 in the ACC with two glaring blemishes -- an ugly 33-6 homecoming loss to a struggling Virginia team, and a loss to in-state rival North Carolina.

If the ceiling for the best and brightest under O’Brien is seven wins and a mediocre bowl game, athletic director Debbie Yow made the right call on Sunday in her decision to fire him. The fact that O’Brien -- and not embattled Boston College coach Frank Spaziani -- was the first ACC coach to be fired after the end of the regular season was surprising, but it wasn’t entirely unexpected considering the Wolfpack fell well below even O’Brien’s expectations this year.

Heading into this season, it looked as though NC State had enough pieces in place to be a dark-horse contender in the Atlantic Division race. The media picked the team to finish third in the division behind Florida State and Clemson, and with good reason. The Pack returned one of the ACC’s most accomplished quarterbacks in Mike Glennon, and four of five starters returned on the offensive line. NC State’s secondary was billed by many as one of the best in the ACC, if not the country.

[+] EnlargeTom O'Brien
Daniel Shirey/US PresswireIn six seasons in Raleigh, Tom O'Brien compiled a 22-26 record against ACC teams.
A loss to Tennessee in the season opener quickly exposed NC State’s weaknesses, though, and a loss to Miami had the Pack playing from behind in the ACC race from the start -- a trend under O’Brien.

Injuries to the offensive line were a factor in NC State’s struggles, but Wolfpack fans have grown weary of hearing about them. A plethora of injuries to key starters early in O’Brien’s career in Raleigh contributed to three straight losing seasons, but in his sixth season, the staff should have been able to recruit enough depth and talent to overcome such obstacles.

O’Brien is a good, well-respected coach among his peers. He and his staff fared well with the talent they had to work with. The problem is the talent they had to work with. NC State has not been known for its recruitment of elite athletes under O’Brien’s staff, and that is a philosophy that differs from Yow’s.

O’Brien proved he could win big with the talent he brought in. He just couldn’t do it consistently enough to be a factor in the ACC race.

For the second straight season, NC State shocked the ACC with an upset of one of the conference’s best teams. Last year it was No. 7-ranked Clemson. This year it was No. 3-ranked Florida State. But the program’s inability to translate those upsets into meaningful postseason play finally caught up with O’Brien. His slow starts and strong finishes had become trademarks of the program under his watch, but the end results amounted to just three winning seasons in six years, two bowl wins and a 22-26 record in the ACC.

It wasn’t until this season at Maryland that O’Brien finally notched his first road win against an Atlantic Division opponent, improving his overall record in division road games to 1-14. Overall, he was 11-19 against Atlantic Division opponents.

NC State lost three of its final five games this year, beating only ACC bottom dwellers Wake Forest and Boston College in the month of November.

O’Brien is the one who set the bar higher this year.

It wasn’t the first time the program fell below expectations under his watch, but it was the last.

NC State fires Tom O'Brien

November, 25, 2012
NC State coach Tom O'Brien has been fired after a disappointing 7-5 season, the school announced Sunday.

O'Brien will not coach in the upcoming bowl game. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible has been named interim head coach, and all assistants have been retained through at least the bowl game, with an opportunity to pursue positions with the new head coach.

[+] EnlargeTom O'Brien
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesTom O'Brien was 40-35 in six seasons at NC State.
A national search for a successor is now under way.

Even though O'Brien has led the Wolfpack to three straight bowl games, his teams have failed to live up to expectations throughout his tenure. O'Brien went 40-35 in six seasons -- but just 22-26 in the ACC.

This season provides the perfect example of how NC State fell short of what many believed could be an outstanding season. The Wolfpack were embarrassed in the season opener by a Tennessee team that won only one SEC game. But they pulled the upset of the season when they took down then-No. 3 Florida State 17-16 to put NC State in the driver's seat in the Atlantic.

But that was a short-lived dream. NC State ended up dropping games to North Carolina and a head-scratcher to Virginia, finishing with losses in three of its final five games.

"Coach O’Brien’s service to NC State over the last six years has been sincerely appreciated by Wolfpack Nation,” athletic director Debbie Yow said in a statement. “We especially appreciate his attention toward NCAA rules compliance, a value that will continue to be held by NC State. We wish him well in future pursuits.”

A closer look at his overall ACC record reveals an 11-19 mark against Atlantic Division opponents -- including 1-14 on the road.

“I appreciate the opportunity to have coached at North Carolina State University and I feel that the program is in a better place now than when I started,” O’Brien said in a statement. “I’m proud of the young men that I have coached here, for their accomplishments on the field and in the classroom. Wolfpack football is as sound academically as it’s ever been with a [single-year] APR of 990 to be reported this spring. I appreciate all of my coaches and wish them the best and I look forward to life after football.”
On the surface, NC State has looked like one of the most inexplicable teams in college football this season -- reaching an all-time high with a monumental upset of then-ranked No. 3 Florida State last month, only to crash last week in a baffling 33-6 loss to Virginia, a team that had previously lost six straight.

Look a little closer, though, and you’ll see 19 very good reasons for NC State’s struggles: 19 combined turnovers in the four losses, and 19 dropped passes in the past two weeks. Also a factor has been the numerous injuries to offensive linemen, and the dismissal of running back Mustafa Greene, both which have compounded the problems in the running game.

[+] EnlargeTom O'Brien
Daniel Shirey/US PresswireThe pressure is mounting on coach Tom O'Brien and NC State after losses to UNC and Virginia.
“We’ve gotten great effort,” said coach Tom O’Brien. “We didn’t seem to have it last week. [There are] a lot of hypothesis on what happened last week, and I haven’t accepted any of them, because I think you can play well each and every week. It still comes back to the fact, we don’t turn the football over and we don’t give up the big play on defense. That’s been the underlying fact when we’ve lost four football games. When you turn the ball over four times in five wins and you turn it over 19 in four losses, it’s pretty apparent what you have to do to be successful.”

O’Brien will be the first to admit his team hasn’t handled success too well. The program has struggled to translate big wins into a lead in the division standings, and this season is no different. The loss to Virginia last week increased the heat on O’Brien, and how the team fares in its final three games of the regular season -- all against Atlantic Division opponents -- will help determine whether or not he returns to Raleigh for another season. A home win against Wake Forest this weekend would make the Wolfpack bowl-eligible, and a road win at No. 13 Clemson next weekend would likely make it tough for athletic director Debbie Yow to make a change.

This past summer, O’Brien touted this season’s team as one of the most talented and experienced he has had since he was hired at NC State. After back-to-back losses to rival North Carolina and Virginia, NC State is in the all-too familiar place of having to readjust its goals.

“I’ve been around long enough to know that there’s only one team that meets its goals every year, and that’s the team that wins the national championship,” O’Brien said. “That’s what you go in, you try and win 14 games, that’s what you want to do. Life’s about readjusting and setting different goals as you go along. You only worry about the things you can control. … You don’t know what team you’re going to have until the trainer tells you who’s going to practice and what you have. You take that product and you do the best you can and try to put yourself in a position to win each and every Saturday.”

The problem now, though, is that every Saturday has become a must-win for O’Brien.
Full disclosure: I have a lot of respect for Tom O’Brien as a coach and a person. I appreciate his sense of humor and his bluntness, which often go hand in hand. He’s a good coach.

But this is a business, and this year, O’Brien isn’t meeting the bottom line numbers: Wins. As NC State prepares to host rival North Carolina on Saturday, O’Brien is staring down what could be a career-defining game in Raleigh. NC State still needs three more wins to reach bowl eligibility, and with Atlantic Division leader Clemson still on the schedule, the best chances are against the Tar Heels, at Boston College and in the season finale against Maryland -- three teams with losing records in conference play. No game looms larger for O’Brien, though, than the rivalry game against UNC:

A win means: O’Brien goes 5-0 against the Tar Heels and helps restore faith in his leadership of the program. It gives the Wolfpack’s bowl hopes a huge boost, and it would be a historic win in the series. The Wolfpack won five in a row over the Heels from 1988-92 under coach Dick Sheridan, with two wins at home and three on the road. Although the two teams have met 100 times, State has never won three in a row at home.

A loss means: O’Brien is officially on the hot seat, if he wasn’t before. NC State drops to 1-4 in the ACC and 4-5 overall and is in a must-win situation in its final three games to get to a bowl game. O’Brien’s detractors will grow in number and noise, and athletic director Debbie Yow could have a decision to make. For now, O’Brien has her full support, but it’s rare that an athletic director would comment on personnel matters during the season. Don’t forget that Yow kept former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen on staff after a 2-10 season.

Saturday’s result won’t provide an answer for NC State and O’Brien, but it will certainly help determine which direction they’re both heading.
The Big Ten expansion buzz has died down significantly since Nebraska came aboard, but a potentially key development took place during the weekend. Debbie Yow, the longtime athletic director at Maryland, left for the same post at N.C. State.

Maryland has long been mentioned as a fringe candidate for Big Ten expansion, and the buzz about the Terrapins increased in the days just before and just after the league added Nebraska. It's very possible that the Big Ten won't expand any further, as sources tell the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein, but the league is only six months into an expansion study that could last until June 2011. The Big Ten is back on its own timetable now, and it could "act again," as commissioner Jim Delany said, late this fall or early this winter.

If you've read anything about Maryland and the Big Ten, you've probably seen quotes like this from Yow:

"I haven't heard anything from the Big Ten, and, to the best of my knowledge, Dr. [C.D. 'Dan'] Mote [the university president] has not either. The Big Ten is a terrific conference, but Maryland is a charter member in 1953 of the ACC and we are happy in the ACC. These are deep roots."

More from Yow:

"Why would we go anywhere? For money? I think we have less callous, bottom-line motivations than that."

Yow seemed pretty clear about her ACC allegiance, but she's no longer at Maryland. The school also soon will have a new president, who Mote said likely will select the next athletic director.

Hmmm, new president, new athletic director ... new outlook toward the Big Ten?

I put the question to colleague Heather Dinich, who knows way more about Maryland athletics than any of us. Heather has covered Maryland for both and The Baltimore Sun. She also knows the Big Ten well, as an Indiana alum who covered Penn State.

Here's what she had to say about how Yow's departure affects Maryland and the Big Ten:

Yow's departure opens the door for anything and everything at Maryland, not only because she is leaving, but because the university will also be bringing in a new president soon. Yow had said repeatedly that she had had no contact with the Big Ten, and that there was no interest in leaving the ACC. A new administration might feel differently. The question is whether or not Maryland would actually be a good fit for the Big Ten. Competitively? I say no. (And I'm sticking to college football when I say that.) For example, look at Maryland's record against Penn State: 1-35-1. It's no wonder they haven't played since 1993. Why pick the Nits as an example? Well, because it's the only Big Ten school Maryland has played with any regularity. Also because Penn State recruits the state of Maryland, and has made a habit out of beating the Terps for their top in-state talent, though Maryland has picked up its recruiting efforts recently under offensive coordinator James Franklin.

Overall, Maryland is 4-44-1 against the Big Ten, but hasn't played anyone other than Michigan State more than five times and hasn't faced Illinois, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa or Northwestern. Do Maryland fans really want to, though? A 2-10 record in the ACC won't translate well into a conference that just got bigger and better with the addition of Nebraska.

Man, 4-44-1. I didn't realize Maryland's Big Ten record was that brutal, although Penn State is the big reason why.

I look at Maryland a lot like Rutgers: a program with limited tradition in football that has the potential to help the Big Ten in several ways. Maryland gives the Big Ten an increased presence in a major metropolitan area, which should help grow the Big Ten Network. And like Rutgers, Maryland is located in a good area for high school recruiting, as teams like Penn State and Illinois already have found out. If the Big Ten chooses to expand again, it must make recruiting a bigger factor.

Does Maryland move the needle in football? Nope. But it gives the Big Ten a reason to be in the Washington D.C./Baltimore/Northern Virginia area.

In the end, that might be enough.
It’s time to move forward in the ACC, as in 10 years forward. What can the conference expect over the next decade? Here are 10 predictions, in no particular order:

1. Ryan Williams leaves early for the NFL. Odds are Williams and Darren Evans share the carries in 2010, with Evans, the older of the two, getting the first shot to stay on the field. That could prompt an early exit, but so could a standout solo performance that makes the NFL scouts drool.

2. The ACC produces a Heisman finalist. Not quite ready to say winner yet. But it could happen as early as 2010 or 2011, as Christian Ponder, Jacory Harris, and Williams should all be viable candidates. Younger players -- E.J. Manuel comes to mind -- could be in the mix later.

3. Push for conference realignment is turned down. Following the 2015 season, ACC officials can start talking about this again to see if there’s something else that makes more geographical sense. (The only problem with this is that it’s taken half the decade for everyone to realize which teams are in which conferences now.) Despite a push from fans, and maybe even schools like Boston College and Florida State, the ACC stays status quo with the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions.

4. Changing of the guards at Virginia Tech. Frank Beamer retires, Bud Foster takes over, and AD Jim Weaver steps down. The first is inevitable. The second isn’t a guarantee. And the third could be prompted by health concerns. Foster’s latest agreement will do a good job of keeping him in Blacksburg, though, and it would be a public relations nightmare if Virginia Tech picked anyone else to succeed Beamer.

5. The rise of Duke. Not only will the Blue Devils go to a bowl game, they’ll win the Coastal Division under coach David Cutcliffe. In just his second year, Duke controlled its own destiny as late as November.

6. Somebody other than Ralph Friedgen and James Franklin coaches Maryland. Mike Leach, anyone? There are some good head coaches out there still looking for jobs, and by keeping Friedgen on board despite his 2-10 record, Debbie Yow made it less costly to buy her way out of the head-coach-in-waiting deal. Even if Franklin stays on, how much different will it really be in College Park?

7. The ACC title game will change locations again only to come home to Charlotte. The city of Charlotte is locked in for the next two years, but after that it’s open season again. Charlotte will show increased attendance, but the ACC will also try another location, maybe D.C. or Baltimore, as well as moving it to the campus of the higher rated team in the BCS. Eventually, though, it will go back to Charlotte and stay there.

8. Miami contends for the national title. It could be any number of teams in the ACC that make the big game -– Florida State, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, North Carolina –- but I’m giving the Canes my vote for the ACC’s first team to the BCS national championship this decade.

9. Florida State and Miami face each other in the ACC title game. It’s only a matter of time before both of these programs return to elite status, and considering the similar paths they’re on, odds are they get in each other’s way.

10. The ACC finally gets an at-large BCS bowl bid. It hasn’t happened since before ACC expansion. The conference came very close this year to having two BCS bowl-bound teams, as Miami and Virginia Tech both flirted with top 10 BCS rankings but eventually fell out. Considering how close the conference came this year with still-young teams, it’s bound to happen sooner than later.

Friedgen staying at Maryland

December, 1, 2009
On Tuesday morning, Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow asked coach Ralph Friedgen to return as head coach in 2010, Yow said this morning in an e-mail. She also said that any staff changes are his choice, and as of this morning, she was unaware of any. A school spokesman said Friedgen is still evaluating that decision.

This isn't entirely a surprise, as there really isn't an affordable answer right now that would make a dramatic difference for the Terps. It doesn't make sense to pay $4 million to fire Friedgen only to promote offensive coordinator James Franklin, who obviously isn't the answer to the problem right now. The only other option would be for Maryland to buy its way out of the coach-in-waiting plan as well, and that would cost $5 million. How much could the department then afford to hire a new coach capable of making a difference?

What needs to happen now is Friedgen needs to make some staff changes, and the position in the most dire need of a change is at recruiting coordinator. Maryland's recruiting has been the heart of its problems since Ron Vanderlinden's players graduated. First-year defensive coordinator Don Brown did well and the defense showed progress this year, so he should be safe. And Franklin is obviously covered because of the coach-in-waiting plan.

After a 2-10 season, though, changes have to be made, and now it's up to Friedgen to make them.

Yow is in Indiana with the men's basketball team and was unavailable for further comment. Friedgen will have a teleconference at some point today, so stay tuned.

ACC power rankings: Week 12

November, 16, 2009
There are only two more weeks remaining in the regular season, which means there’s little time for anyone to make a serious move in the conference race. We know who is the best -- and who is the worst -- in the ACC. Georgia Tech is No. 1 until somebody proves otherwise. We’ll find out this week if Clemson will get that chance in the ACC championship game. Maryland remains No. 12.

Here’s how the ACC hierarchy looks heading into Week 12:

1. Georgia Tech (10-1, 7-1 ACC; LW: No. 1) –The Yellow Jackets clinched the Coastal Division title with their convincing win over Duke, and have the bye week to enjoy it before hosting rival Georgia. They remain at No. 7 in the BCS standings this week, and have earned their spot as the top one-loss team in the country.

2. Clemson (7-3, 5-2; LW: No. 4) – With their win over NC State, the Tigers are finally in a position to make the program’s first appearance in the ACC title game. First they need to guarantee it with a home win over Virginia this weekend. It's been an impressive season for the Tigers in the first full year under coach Dabo Swinney.

3. Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2; LW: No. 3) – The Hokies got a complete effort against the bedraggled Terps, and haven’t given up on their goal of a 10-win season. While it’s not the finish they had been hoping for this year, Virginia Tech deserves credit for regrouping instead of letting back-to-back losses to Georgia Tech and North Carolina snowball into a disaster.

4. Miami (7-3, 4-3; LW: No. 2) – The Canes have been struggling on both sides of the ball lately, and turnovers have been costly. This isn’t the same team that started the season with a 3-1 record, and the loss to North Carolina on Saturday ruined any remaining shot Miami might have had of receiving a BCS bowl bid.

5. North Carolina (7-3, 3-3; LW: No. 6) – The Tar Heels have reversed their fortunes, and now look capable of contending for the Coastal Division. Unfortunately for them, it’s too little, too late. Still, the program is capable of improving upon last year’s eight-win season and earned a bowl appearance. Hardly the disaster it started out to be. I know UNC just beat Miami, but I keep my power rankings the way my Top 25 looks, and I just sneaked the Tar Heels in this week at No. 24.

6. Boston College (7-3, 4-2; LW: No. 5) – The Eagles have found ways to overcome their weaknesses all season, and Saturday at Virginia was no different. BC picked up its first road win of the season, and kept its hopes alive to sneak into the ACC championship game. They’ll need some help from Virginia this weekend, though, as BC needs Clemson to lose.

7. Florida State (5-5, 3-4; LW: No. 9) – With Christian Ponder watching from the sidelines, backup quarterback E.J. Manuel made a smooth transition into his starting role, and everything was clicking on offense for the Noles in their win over Wake Forest. They seem to have salvaged their postseason hopes, but can’t afford an embarrassing slip-up now at home against Maryland.

8. Duke (5-5, 3-3; LW: No. 7) – Duke proved that there is still a significant gap in the Coastal Division between the best team and the Blue Devils, though the conference standings indicated Duke and Georgia Tech were closer. Duke still has a chance to become bowl eligible, though, and they’ll be catching Miami while it’s down.

9. Wake Forest (4-7, 2-5; LW: No. 8) – It was a disappointing home finale for senior quarterback Riley Skinner, who had an uncharacteristically off performance in the loss to Florida State, and the Demon Deacons will be home for Christmas. Wake has a bye week this week, but it does the Deacs little good now.

10. Virginia (3-7, 2-4; LW: No. 10) – If athletic director Craig Littlepage hasn’t begun to think about the program’s future without Al Groh, now is probably the time to start. With only one home win this season -- against Indiana -- the Cavaliers’ fans have had little to cheer for. The only hope left is to play spoiler against Clemson and beat rival Virginia Tech.

11. NC State (4-6, 1-5; LW: No. 11) – The Pack has lost five of its past six, but this one stung particularly hard because it ended NC State’s hopes at bowl eligibility. It won’t get any easier as the Pack will face a ranked Virginia Tech team on the road this weekend.

12. Maryland (2-8, 1-5; LW: No. 12) – The best news for the Terps is that there are only two weeks remaining. They’ll have to face a Florida State team on the road this Saturday during a game in which the Seminoles are still playing for something. Even if Ralph Friedgen were to lose his job -- a costly $4 million option for Debbie Yow -- little would change in 2010.

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Lenn Robbins of the New York Post reported on Wednesday that "two sources said the eight-team Big East would consider adding a ninth member by exploring whether there was interest on behalf of Maryland to jump from the ACC, and for Boston College to rejoin the league."

First of all, as Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow pointed out, there are no names associated with the statement. Yow said in an e-mail that no one from the Big East has contacted Maryland, nor does she expect to hear from anyone. It's a non-story, as far as Maryland's AD is concerned.

The same can be said for BC's athletic director.

It seems unlikely that Gene DeFilippo would be welcomed back with a hug and a smile after leaving the Big East for the ACC and angering some of his former colleagues during the process. Forget past history, though -- DeFilippo has no interest in going back, nor did he even hear about this until a reporter called him to ask about it.

"Nobody from the Big East contacted me," DeFilippo told "As long as there is an Atlantic Coast Conference, BC will be in it."

A greater possibility of any restructuring would be after 2015, if the ACC would decide to realign the conference divisions. But as far as Maryland and BC joining the Big East? It's exactly what Yow said it is -- a non-story.