After two years at Syracuse, head coach Scott Shafer is 10-15 with a bowl win and a slight uptick in recruiting results to his name. Shafer was a continuity hire, brought in to curtail attrition after Doug Marrone left and keep an encouraging 2013 recruiting class intact. While some players have left, there hasn't been a mass exodus of talent or an in-house mutiny. Despite all of this, there are those calling for his job.
At Maryland, (SU alum and former UConn coach) Randy Edsall inherited a 9-4 team and promptly went 6-18 in his first two seasons. He lost a slew of players to transfer, dealt with more injuries than is typically imaginable (sound familiar?) and overall, had a recently competitive team at the bottom of the ACC. And now, two years later, he and the Terrapins program are on the verge of a breakthrough -- at least, according to Bill Connelly's logic in yesterday's Maryland preview, anyway.
You obviously see where I'm going with this. And no, it's not meant as a ringing endorsement of Shafer or his staff. But simply put, two years is not enough time to properly evaluate any coach, and his story (as we pointed outt after the "Mad Men" finale) has yet to be written as the head man for the Orange. For all but the highest and lowest rungs of college football, which rarely change, fortunes (relatively speaking) turn on a dime in this sport. A man that got UConn (!!!) into a Fiesta Bowl met up with a 9-4 rising program in a talent-hot section of the country, and... he won six games in two seasons to start his tenure. He's now won 14 games in the next two years, has a competitive Big Ten team and is quickly building a recruiting power in the Mid-Atlantic.
A career coordinator in a talent-dead part of the country takes over for an alum and miracle-worker and in his first two seasons, wins 10 games and a bowl game. Recruiting sees its best returns (on paper) in a decade, and recently, his staff got a commitment from one of the best running backs in the country for 2016. We've yet to see what the next one (or two) years bring, but people have made calls to wipe the slate clean and dismiss that coach already.
Look at the above, and tell me what guarantees there are for anyone to succeed or fail at our place in the college football hierarchy. One recruit, one win, one coach can change everything very quickly in the immediate term. And again -- this is not an endorsement for Shafer, Edsall or Maryland AT ALL -- but look at what Edsall's been given time to do. The same team that was leveled by SU on its home turf in 2013 came up to the Dome in 2014 and shelled the Orange. And won at Penn State. And Michigan.
They also lost some big games too, which shows the job isn't "done" just yet, and that Edsall (as Bill C. points out) still has to find a way to survive year five. But the groundwork has been laid for the Terps to experience success going forward -- especially if Edsall can stick around a bit longer in College Park.
I'm not saying give Shafer & Co. a free pass this fall. Far from it. But we should keep in mind what needs to be accomplished at Syracuse, and how long program builds take. If Shafer or Edsall fall flat this season, either will likely be done. But at least both were given a chance to try and create something after year two, and until proven otherwise, both are still the men for the job at their respective programs.
(And if 2015 doesn't work out for the Orange, and Shafer and his staff end up gone -- please, no -- feel free to plunge this post into the depths of the internet)