Thursday, September 14, 2006

Eve of Destruction

Some interesting things coming out of the Washington Post sports section today about the Terps. First let me say that it should be easy to get to bed early tonight as I forecast a quick demise for Big Ralph and his not so merry bunch. I'm thinking something in the 35-13 range. It won't be like that horrible night against the halfway house squad in Blacksburg a few years ago, but it won't be pretty. Given the running game of West Virginia it'll probably be a steady diet of Steve Slaton and Pat White down the throats of the Maryland defenders all night. It's that slow lingering death of watching the run defense get gashed repeatedly by runs between the tackles.

In the regular story on the game the mantra of "the most talented team" of the Friedgen era continues to be repeated. On the Comcast broadcast it has also been uttered that this is the most talented offensive line at Maryland, maybe in history. Both assertions are ridiculous on their face but that hasn't stopped them from being trotted out again and again. It would always bug me that after a blowout by Florida State or Florida that Friedgen would suggest he just didn't have the athletes to compete against those programs. Now he seems to suggest he has the athletes but is working on a 6 game losing streak to West Virginia, Clemson and NC State. In the words of Frank Costanza, "Somethings Missing!" It would be more accurate to say that this group of players haven't lived up to their lofty recruit rankings, not that they are the most talented team of the Friedgen era.

A number of comparisons have been made to the Georgia Tech game in 2001. This certainly is a big game for the 2006 Terrapins but the analogy doesn't hold since that Maryland team was already 5-0 with wins over North Carolina, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Virginia going into that game.

Mike Wise, who seems to be the resident Maryland scribe these days, makes two good points in his column today. The time when Friedgen was being romanced by desperate NFL owners and was widely considered the offensive "guru" in college football are gone. Maryland has been as ordinary the last few years as they were extraordinary the first three years of Ralph Friedgen's time in College Park. The early winner in the ACC expansion fiasco is clearly West Virginia. The top three teams in the Big East all left for the ACC making the path to a BCS bowl that much easier for the mediocre Rich Rodriguez to reach. Is it a coincidence that strong programs like Maryland, NC State and Virginia have all started to sink to Boise bowl level or worse since expansion? All the arrogant ACC-philes predicted it was only a matter of time before the Big East lost its automatic bid to the BCS and schools like Pittsburgh and West Virginia were out in cold. Well that isn't happening and West Virginia is on its way to another BCS payday this season.

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