Thursday, September 13, 2007

Border War?

Not that the games against West Virginia have been boring since Ralph Friedgen and Rich Rodriquez both took over at Maryland and West Virginia respectively but is this really an intense rivalry? Not in the classic sense. The closest game over the last six years was an awful 19-16 overtime triumph by WVU in 2004 in which Maryland QB Joel Statham went 9-20 with three interceptions.

Besides that the rest of the games have been lopsided wins or downright blow outs.
The first four games of the series were all won by the Terps by an average score of 38.7 to 12.7 for a margin of over three touchdowns. The last three games have gone the Mountaineers way by an average of 31.7 to 19.6 for just under a two touchdown margin. I'm not sure that makes much of a rivalry or an interesting game for that matter. Not that I didn't enjoy the 30 point drubbings that Maryland gave WVU in 2002 and 2003 but it couldn't have been fun to watch for anyone other than Maryland fans.

This isn't any game with recruiting implications either regardless of what the reporters write. West Virginia does not recruit the same players Maryland does with just a few exceptions. Most Maryland high school players that end up going to Morgantown are from western Maryland, which produces few high level college players, or kids with some serious baggage like Smoothy King robber Pat Lazear.

According to Rivals.com since 2005 West Virginia has only landed about one top 20 player in Maryland per year, for a total of 6 players, and isn't a serious force in Washington DC. Most high level Maryland recruits don't even consider West Virginia, even with their recent modest success. Part of that is that West Virginia is a "scheme team" that relies on unconventional defensive and offensive formations and they look for certain types of players to fill their needs. The other part is that Morgantown doesn't hold much allure for Washington and Baltimore area recruits. Penn State, Virginia Tech and even Virginia are much more direct rivals for recruits than West Virginia. The outcome of this game won't change that.

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