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Top Washington D.C. Sports Stories of 2011, No. 5: Randy Edsall's Turbulent First Year

Randy Edsall came to Maryland in hopes of bringing the program from good to great. It didn't exactly work out that way in his first year on the job.

When Randy Edsall was hired as Maryland's head football coach shortly after the turn of the new year, I expressed cautious optimism. If nothing else, Edsall knew how to coach football at a basketball school, and he had led the University of Connecticut from Division I-AA to the BCS in 11 years.

But even those who expected Edsall to struggle couldn't have expected what happened in the fall of 2011. A creditable home win over Miami on Labor Day was followed by losses in 10 of their last 11 games, capped by a season-ending loss to North Carolina State that saw Maryland blow a 41-14 second-half lead. At least they looked good doing it.

On-field failure was nothing compared to off-field strife. Since Edsall took over the program, 20 players have transferred out, and more are currently on the fence about whether to leave. Since the end of the season, stories have come out revealing a fatally fractured locker room. Players referred to football as "a chore." Upperclassmen were depicted as having "inflated egos." The team used Twitter to compare Edsall's reign to being in prison, giving the football building the nickname "Gossett State Penitentiary."

Edsall will likely get a few more years to clean up the mess, albeit due to Maryland Athletics' shabby financial state as much as anything else. But if his first year on the job is any guide, Maryland football might be in for a long period in the ACC's wilderness.

For the complete D.C. Top 10 of 2011 countdown, visit this StoryStream. For more coverage of Washington D.C. sports, visit our D.C. blogs: