As per TRADITION, on Wednesday night I returned to my hometown to hang out with friends prior to Thanksgiving. As per usual when friends and drinks mix, the topic of sports dominated the conversation. Because I grew up in…well what for 60 years was ACC Country…most of those friends are fans of ACC Schools. Needless to say, they were not too happy with me (note to them, it wasn’t my decision!!). The greetings I received ranged from “WTF are you guys doing?” to “You’ll be back in 5 years, and of course at that point we’ll happily tell you to F off”. Thinking back it really wasn’t a range of responses, they seemed pretty consistent. But any good will any of them had for our Terps is pretty much tapped out, and who could blame them.
But the worst dig of all, and it wasn’t really a dig, more of pointing out something obvious that I was too blinded by rage to see, was the comment “I promise you this, the Ohio State Football team will never step foot on your campus in the next 10 years” and you know what? He was right. If we move games verse Virginia Tech and West Virginia to Baltimore or Fed Ex field, there is no way in HELL the athletic department won’t move the OSU and PSU games. Heck, maybe we’ll just go back to the Vanderlinden era and outright sell the games.
And there is nothing worse than playing a home game anywhere but College Park. The tailgating stinks, the traffic stinks (well it stinks in CP, but at least we know the back ways), and most importantly of all the atmosphere stinks. If we play OSU in DC, I’m guessing it would be 75%-80% Buckeyes, same too for PSU in Baltimore. Two years of Randy Edsall has made our fan base as weak as a kitten, and I don’t see the move to the Big 10 helping that. Much like interleague play in MLB, it will be a novelty to see some new teams come through, but after the honeymoon phase wears off, it will be up to the Athletic Department to put a product on the field that brings Maryland fans back into the stadium (we really need a Ralph Friedgen interview about now….are you listening Baltimore Sun?). Anyone reading this have much confidence in that bunch at the moment?
Moving on, and I’m strictly looking at Football, Basketball recruiting should be just fine as there is enough talent in the Baltimore/DC area to compete year in and year out, but Football is another matter. Right now, our roster has 27 kids from VA, NC, SC, GA, and Florida. TWENTY SEVEN KIDS! That is when we could recruit them saying that Maryland would be in their neck of the woods several times a year. Throw off those 27 kids and where are we going to recruit? Do you think for one second we are going to take recruits from Michigan, from Wisconsin? From Ohio?
Pennsylvania will always be there, but we won’t out recruit PSU for the top ones. Unless Locksley can really work his magic. So where do we replace those 27 kids? And that is just one half the equation. Why do you think the Big 10 is so anxious to have us? Not just our TV market (keep in mind Big 10, even with a major TV market in our backyard, our Athletic Department can still F’ up a one man parade), but the recruiting!
That is what drove me nuts about playing WVU and VT in Baltimore. The University says, this will strengthen our presence in the city, oh no it won’t this will strengthen WVU and VT’s presence in the city, while we cash a huge check that will be wasted somewhere else! Now we want to open up our recruiting grounds to the Big 10, they will be flocking to the area, while we are just trying to tread water.
Things have been tough with football lately, but had we kept Friedgen, had we gone a different direction than Edsall, I could one day see us again competing in the ACC, maybe not like we did in 2000, but more along the lines of going into November while still having a shot at the division (remember those days?). But that is all gone now.
Just like my faith in our school.