Great Moments in Maryland Football History: Maryland Beats Florida State (2004)

When football powerhouse Florida State joined the Atlantic Coast Conference, which was historically strong in basketball but weak in football, in 1992, it might be fair to say that the Seminoles dominated most of the teams in the conference most of the time for years to come. Some of the schools like Miami that have long football traditions were not yet members, other schools like Duke and North Carolina that have had “up” seasons recently were also-rans way back when.

Meanwhile, FSU won national championships- and conference championships. Lots and lots of conference championships. In fact, from 1992-2000, they literally won the ACC championship every year. They tied with Virginia in 1995 and with Georgia Tech in 1998, because at the time there was no ACC title game and if two teams finished with the same record in-conference, they were both champions.

So, with that disclaimer about the ties out of the way, it is fair to say that the Seminoles won the ACC championship *nine years in a row*.

Who broke that streak?

The Maryland Terrapins. Maryland won an undisputed ACC title (No tie) and went on to the Orange Bowl in 2001, the year Florida State’s reign of terror ended. Maryland did have one, and only one, regular season loss, though- to the Florida State Seminoles.

In fact, Maryland got to bowl games the next two years as well, but still couldn’t beat Florida State. 2003 marked the Terrapins’ 12th loss in a row to the hated Seminoles.

But that would all change in 2004:

Watch closely, and you can even see future Penn State head coach James Franklin, an assistant at Maryland who was never good enough to be our head coach, screaming at an official on the sideline on our behalf, before his turn to the Dark Side.

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Penn State’s Franklin Takes Another Shot at Maryland

At first, Penn State and James Franklin seemed like a match made in heaven.

After all, Penn State was perhaps best known for Joe Paterno, a head coach who allowed his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who has since moved on from Penn State to the state pen, to rape children in the football team’s showers. Not only did Paterno fail to report Sandusky to the proper authorities, he let Sandusky keep the keys to the locker room and keep bringing kids to the showers after hours.

When they were finally forced to fire Paterno, Penn State students poured into the streets and held a big rally protesting his firing. When sanctions were lifted, they chanted for the reinstatement of his wins and the return of his statue, prompting Keith Olberman to opine that:

This could be discussed for hours but the only two things that are to my mind essential points right now, the naiveté which still much exists in the minds of NCAA and Penn State and defenders of Joe Paterno as if this decision or anything else will ever lessen the guilt the university and Paterno share, or ever reduce the disgust which the names Penn State football and Joe Paterno will produce for decades to come. This is Joe Paterno’s legacy. This is Penn State’s legacy. Football was more important to them than saving children.

And the second point. It is hard to believe that the NCAA and the school could take the most nauseating, the most horrifying, the most indefensible institutionalization of corruption in American sports — the Jerry Sandusky scandal — and make it worse, but today they just did.”

Bill O’Brien took over only to depart after two years, telling confidendants that he was sick of dealing with boosters who were more concerned about preserving Joe Paterno’s legacy than program building.

So, who could bring these child molester enabler revering boosters together? Well, James Franklin may have turned out Vanderbilt co-eds to attract recruits and then tried to silence a rape victim, so he had something in common with them from the start. He also had a reputation for being arrogant and hard to get along with- two traits highly regarded in Happy Valley. It looked like Penn State had found it’s next Paterno!

Of course, times haven’t been very happy at Happy Valley, what with Penn State having gone 0-6 against Ohio State, Michigian, and Michigan State during his tenure, and losing to Maryland after infamously bragging that Maryland was considered in-state recruiting for his team, named after a fictional species of redneck hill dwelling Lions who poor academic standards lead Penn State alumni to believe are real.

Even the players aren’t particularly happy with Franklin, as QB Christian Hackberg helped indicate through omission, when he thanked everyone except James Franklin when declaring for the NFL draft.

Franklin, though, still feels he can talk shit about Maryland, as this quote from national signing day indicates:

Four-star defensive end Shane Simmons’ LOI arrived, and he became the “first pick.” The FaceTime connection cleared up. Simmons was with his family at home in Hyattsville, Md.

“Where are you going to celebrate tonight?” Franklin asked.

“We’re all going out, Buffalo Wild Wings,” Simmons responded.

“Ah, so Mom’s got it organized with all the other Maryland recruits?” Franklin asked. Both the coaches and Simmons’ family laughed.

Hey coach, you can have anyone willing to play for you. Just don’t send them back here looking for a job with that crappy degree when they’re done playing.

Real Marylanders don’t shake hands with Penn State players, let alone become them.

October 8th