ESPN’s Take on the Terps’ Top Game of 2015, and One to Watch in 2016 (Plus Exclusive Commentary on Their Commentary)

ESPN recently took a look back and then looks forward on what it considers to be the football Terps’ signature win of 2015 and what it thinks will be the game to circle on our 2016 schedules.

It’s hard to argue with Rutgers being the Terps’ signature win of 2015. It was our only in-conference victory, and our only win against a Power 5 opponent.

I suppose one could look at Maryland’s single point loss to Penn State, or only losing to Wisconsin by a touchdown, but ultimately a loss is a loss and a win is a win.

The Rutgers win might also qualify as a rivalry win, as one of our two geographically closest in-divison opponents, and a team that scored an upset victory against the Terps in 2014 with the help of former Terrapins head coach Ralph Friedgen, who was serving as the offensive coordinator of the Scarlet Knights that year.

One would like to think that we are above Rutgers’ level, but we’re going to have to do better than 3-9 and stop losing to them before we can even think of putting that one to bed. In the early going of the two teams’ tenure in the Big Ten, it’s an I-95 corridor rivalry.

ESPN cites the Ohio State game as one to watch next year, mentioning the way we admirably stuck with them in the first half of last year’s game. Oddly, the Dwayne Haskins thing and the Urban Meyer-DJ Durkin student-teacher dynamic is not mentioned, but you could figure those factors in also in making the case.

The flipside is its hard to circle a game on the calendar that’s not likely to be competitive. It’s a good one to circle if only to remember to get your antiHaskins chants, jeers, and signs ready, though, I suppose. It should be easy for him to hear it from the Buckeyes’ bench. That’s assuming he shows up, of course. Redshirts sometimes don’t travel. 🙂

 

A more realistic upset opportunity might be Penn State on October 8th. That could turn out to be, when we later look back on it, the game that either made us bowl eligible or didn’t. We play three non-power five teams in the first three weeks. Obviously, no game is a gimee (See last year’s Bowling Green game), but Maryland should be favored in all three matchups. Then later scattered throughout the rest of the scheduke there are three potentially winnable conference games against Rutgers, Indiana, and Purdue that could go either way. Win all six, and we’re bowl eligible. However, a loss in any of those games, or a crowded field of bowl eligible teams, might mean we have to score an upset elsewhere to get in, with Penn State, probably Maryland’s most hated in-conference rival, and whom Maryland beat at Penn State in 2014, being a prime candidate.

 

 

Advertisements

Penn State’s Franklin Takes Another Shot at Maryland

At first, Penn State and James Franklin seemed like a match made in heaven.

After all, Penn State was perhaps best known for Joe Paterno, a head coach who allowed his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who has since moved on from Penn State to the state pen, to rape children in the football team’s showers. Not only did Paterno fail to report Sandusky to the proper authorities, he let Sandusky keep the keys to the locker room and keep bringing kids to the showers after hours.

When they were finally forced to fire Paterno, Penn State students poured into the streets and held a big rally protesting his firing. When sanctions were lifted, they chanted for the reinstatement of his wins and the return of his statue, prompting Keith Olberman to opine that:

This could be discussed for hours but the only two things that are to my mind essential points right now, the naiveté which still much exists in the minds of NCAA and Penn State and defenders of Joe Paterno as if this decision or anything else will ever lessen the guilt the university and Paterno share, or ever reduce the disgust which the names Penn State football and Joe Paterno will produce for decades to come. This is Joe Paterno’s legacy. This is Penn State’s legacy. Football was more important to them than saving children.

And the second point. It is hard to believe that the NCAA and the school could take the most nauseating, the most horrifying, the most indefensible institutionalization of corruption in American sports — the Jerry Sandusky scandal — and make it worse, but today they just did.”

Bill O’Brien took over only to depart after two years, telling confidendants that he was sick of dealing with boosters who were more concerned about preserving Joe Paterno’s legacy than program building.

So, who could bring these child molester enabler revering boosters together? Well, James Franklin may have turned out Vanderbilt co-eds to attract recruits and then tried to silence a rape victim, so he had something in common with them from the start. He also had a reputation for being arrogant and hard to get along with- two traits highly regarded in Happy Valley. It looked like Penn State had found it’s next Paterno!

Of course, times haven’t been very happy at Happy Valley, what with Penn State having gone 0-6 against Ohio State, Michigian, and Michigan State during his tenure, and losing to Maryland after infamously bragging that Maryland was considered in-state recruiting for his team, named after a fictional species of redneck hill dwelling Lions who poor academic standards lead Penn State alumni to believe are real.

Even the players aren’t particularly happy with Franklin, as QB Christian Hackberg helped indicate through omission, when he thanked everyone except James Franklin when declaring for the NFL draft.

Franklin, though, still feels he can talk shit about Maryland, as this quote from national signing day indicates:

Four-star defensive end Shane Simmons’ LOI arrived, and he became the “first pick.” The FaceTime connection cleared up. Simmons was with his family at home in Hyattsville, Md.

“Where are you going to celebrate tonight?” Franklin asked.

“We’re all going out, Buffalo Wild Wings,” Simmons responded.

“Ah, so Mom’s got it organized with all the other Maryland recruits?” Franklin asked. Both the coaches and Simmons’ family laughed.

Hey coach, you can have anyone willing to play for you. Just don’t send them back here looking for a job with that crappy degree when they’re done playing.

Real Marylanders don’t shake hands with Penn State players, let alone become them.

October 8th