Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Terps Wack Wolf Pack in Potato Bowl

The Terps won the Potato Bowl yesterday 42-35. And it was an exciting game to watch, even when it was sloppy and looked like the Terps were deliberately trying to mess things up. Luckily for them, Nevada, refused to take advantage of the multiple slip ups and let the Terps finish the season on a high note.

The games started off strange with several starting players being benched for violating curfew, including Da'Rel Scott. This prompted me to ask, what was so awesome happening in Boise that the players were willing to risk starting this bowl game? I mean it's Boise. Anyone?

The first quarter was rife with randomness. A missed extra point, a kickoff return for a touchdown and botched kickoff. It was full of fun and typical Terp ridiculousness. But the Terps managed to hold on to the lead and play the rest of the game reasonably well.

The Nevada defense was supposed to be really good at rushing the ball. But they hit the Maryland defensive line and were continually punished. Nevada seemed to have most of its success passing. But once the Terps managed to catch on to their passing scheme the defense was able to act.

Scott was probably the most valuable player for Maryland. Once he finally got into the game he seemed determined to prove that he deserved to play. And he proceeded to run all over Nevada's defense.

Overall, it was a fitting way to end the season. The Terps' play was maddening but totally expected in that it was totally unexpected. They might not be consistent. But at least they make things interesting. And hopefully next year they'll remember Boise and be inspired to get to a warm weather bowl instead.
For more on this and other college bowl games go to

Monday, December 29, 2008

Potato Bowl

Schizophrenia seems to have its downsides. The Terps, at one point poised to go to the Orange Bowl, or at least the ACC Championship game faltered down the stretch and are now going bowling in Boise, Idaho. So instead of getting to play in the post season in some warm locale that fans are willing to flock to, the game will be played on the blue field at Boise State, estimated temperature at game time 34 degrees.

The Terps will be playing in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl against Nevada. This really sounds like one of those bowl games that people make up to make fun of the bowl system. But trust me, this is all too real. The sponsor, Roady's is the largest truck stop chain in the country. (I looked it up.) And it happens to be based in Idaho. I have no idea why it is the Humanitarian Bowl. I guess people in Iowa are just extra humane, or the truck stops promote being humane. Really, I would have guessed the potato bowl, but what do I know. If anyone out there can explain the bowl name to me I'd appreciate it.

Maryland is playing Nevada in the Potato Bowl. All I know about Nevada is that they play in the WAC conference. And apparently are not very good because they were also vanquished to the Potato Bowl. Sorry about this, but I refuse to do research about a team I won't think or hear about for years after Maryland is finished playing them in this meaningless game. So my next few predictions should considered with that knowledge.

I think Maryland will win this game. I say this just because I'm a Terps fan. They have played well in crappy weather all year long. They also play well in the afternoon, when this game is being played. If this was a big bowl game being played in prime time they'd probably lose. But if you look at the meaningless factors I've just mentioned they seem to have a pretty good shot.

I think it's justified to completely ignore Nevada in this assessment. Maryland didn't seem to care who they were playing all year. They played badly against bad teams and well against good teams until the end of the season when they just collapsed. They played better in bad weather and worse at night. This team has been impossible to predict all season, which is probably why they're playing in the Truck Stop Potato Bowl anyway. There is very little on the line for this game. I don't know which way that will break for Maryland. I'm still a little bitter this game is in Idaho. But I still hope we win.


For more on College Bowl season go to Articles about all the bowl games can be accessed here by tons of great bloggers.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Going to Miami

The Ravens did it. They beat Jacksonville and are now on their way to the playoffs as the last wild card team. WOO HOO! Baltimore will now be playing the Miami Dolphins next weekend in Miami. This to me is just great. I had no thoughts at the beginning of the season of being in the playoffs. And now I think we have a winnable first round game.

I'm glad that Miami won out today. Otherwise, the Ravens would have had to play the Patriots in Foxborough. I think the Ravens got the better game. The Patriots won 11 games this season without their star quarterback and probably feel pretty ripped off right now to be ending their season without a playoff game. But my team gets to go so I don't feel that bad. And Baltimore has beaten Miami once this year so I think they are better prepared to beat them again.

Also, the Ravens have improved and grown as a team since they played at Miami. Joe Flacco is much more comfortable playing and has been given much more free rein. Also, the team is surprisingly healthy right now. With only a few big injuries and backup players ready to step up. This Ravens team is going to be hard for Miami to beat.

Today the Ravens looked like a team that was really having fun. Flacco was launching the ball down field. Mason and Clayton kept coming up big. Reed had two interceptions and there were a bunch of trick plays that kept the Jacksonville defense one step behind the Baltimore offense. Baltimore just dominated this game. It was fun to watch. I'm already excited for next weeks game.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Maybe Next Year

This has been a year of unlikely happenings. And while the world seems to be falling apart everywhere you look with the economic crisis, the on going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the end of these being nowhere in sight, there have been some great things that have happened this year. And with the new year comes new hope.

I'm just going to talk about the good things in the sports world. Though I love politics, I've tried to keep this blog free of my personal views on the election. However, it is impossible to talk about things happening this year without at least mentioning the historic election of Barack Obama. And to tie this into sports somehow, he has expressed interest in getting a playoff system for college football. And for that policy he has my whole hearted support.

This year has been one of upsets and unlikely characters winning. The World Series featured the Tampa Bay Ray, who had never before had a winning season and the Philadelphia Phillies, whose city had suffered from a 25 year championship drought. The Phillies won and the in an even more unlikely turn of events, everyone is Philadelphia was happy for a few weeks. That was a truly amazing sight. The Rays gave hope to every small market team that with good management and a well stocked farm system allows a team to compete even in a division with the Yankees and the Red Sox.

Another surprise this year for me was the Ravens actually being competitive. With so much turnover and so many changes I picked them to go 5-11. They are now one win away from having the opposite record and going to the playoffs. My hopes for maybe next year turned into maybe this year. A win over Jacksonville tomorrow will cement a playoff berth and even a loss with some help could send them into the post season. The Ravens have been competitive all season and had some hard losses. Overall, they've been really fun to watch and it's been great to finally see some offense from this team.

The Terps football team was one of constant surprises. Each week a different team seemed to take the field. And they seemed to win the games they were supposed to lose and lose the ones they were supposed to win. They went from thoroughly enjoyable to completely unwatchable. It was a frustrating season, but they ended with a respectable record and a bowl game. So next year hopefully they'll be a tad more consistent and go to a bowl game in a warm city, instead of Boise. But a bowl game is always nice, expect another post about this soon.

The Terps basketball team is off to a great start this season. They are 8-2 and winning at the moment. They haven't lost any truly damaging out of conference games. They're only two losses coming to Georgetown and Gonzaga, both ranked. And they have managed upset wins over Michigan and Michigan State. They are playing well with a young team and look to be in a good position going into ACC play in the new year. Hopefully this season will end with a tournament appearance, and not the NIT. Right now things are looking good for the young Terps team.

I also discovered hockey this year. And apparently at the right time. The Caps went from being one of the worst teams in the league to winning their division and making the playoffs last year. Even though they were eliminated in the first round, they fought til the end and gained good experience. This season, the Caps have suffered injury after injury and are still leading their division by ten points. They could make a good run this season if they can get everyone or mostly everyone healthy by playoff time.

Even the Orioles seem to be moving in the right direction. They are shoring up their farm system and trying to sign young players to improve their core. They didn't get Teixeira, but not all is lost. The hometown boy probably wouldn't have been the savior they were looking for anyway. And while it's a slap in the face to go play in New York, that money can be better spent on quality pitching, a far more pressing need for this team. But with Baltimore back on the jerseys, maybe next season will be a winning one.

The Summer Olympics also took place this year. Michael Phelps popularized swimming and won a record eight gold medals. There was also some scandal involved with possibly underage gymnasts. And Usain Bolt shattered his world record 100 meter time even though he slowed down at the end to showboat. China dominated sports I didn't know existed like synchronized diving and trampoline. But the US had strong showing overall and I got sucked into watching sports I didn't care about and cheering for unlikely comebacks. I'm actually excited to see what happens in four years.

The new year is a time to look back and see how far things have come. Its a time to remember the good things of the year and think of ways to make the next year better. With so much turmoil and uncertainty in the world right now its nice to be able to look at sports think of the eternal hope of sports fans. Maybe next year things will turn around.

Thanks for everyone who has supported and read my blog this year. I've really enjoyed writing it and appreciate all the comments and criticisms. I'll try to get a few more posts up this year, but I thought I'd thank you all in advance. Have a happy new year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Incontrovertable Evidence?

So I know everyone has been complaining about the call at the end of the Ravens-Steelers game since the end of the Ravens-Steelers game. So I'm a little late in adding onto the complaining. However, I've been busy with exams so my complaining has mostly been directed elsewhere. But now I'm back to procrastinating, so here's the complaining. How could that call have been made?

That call was so close and it was originally ruled not a touchdown. If it had been ruled a touchdown on the field then there was not enough evidence to overturn that call either. It was just way to close. And the rules state that if there is not incontrovertable evidence then the ruling on the field stands, or something like that. And the ruling on the field should have stood.

The Ravens still control their own destiny. So if they win out their last two games then they will still make the playoffs as a wild card. If not then they will need some help. But if they miss the playoffs because of this I'm going to be really pissed. I know I've been talking all season about how the Ravens have done so much better than I expected and I'll be happy with whatever happens. But this is just so wrong. A season shouldn't be decided by one bad call.

If the Ravens win the next two games it won't really matter. But right now that's a big IF. This week the Ravens go to Dallas to play a resurgent Cowboys team. I'm not really sure how one moment the Cowboys seem ready to implode and the next moment they're destroying the Giants. The Ravens seem to be playing this team at the wrong time. And I'm a little worried.

I've tried to keep my playoff hopes under control. But Baltimore has been playing so well they started to creep into my mind. And no rookie quarterback, rookie coach, rookie runningback talk could douse them. I'm not ready to have those hopes dashed by a pretty boy, a drama queen and a bad call.

So Ravens, please win. Please. I'm a strong believer in maybe next year, but right now, I'm still not ready to give up on this year.

Photo: AP/Rob Carr found at

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hot Stove Hot Rumors

Now that the Yankees have completed the C.C. deal, the Cubs Peavy deal fell through and the Mets have shored up their bullpen the big story is where will Teixeira fall. There are a few teams reportedly still in the mix for the switch hitting first baseman. And one of them is the Orioles. Teixeira is a Maryland boy and has said he would rather play on the East Coast for family reasons. And he grew up an Orioles fan so somewhere in his heart, he probably still has some tiny desire to play for this team. I'm just not sure that his coming to the O's would be best for this team.

He's a great player and comes with a big price tag. The Nats supposedly offered him $160 million for eight years. The Orioles have also made a big offer in the area of $140-150 million for seven years. I'm glad the Orioles are willing to spend big money to try and become competative again, but I'm not sure this is the best choice. I mean, he is young and really good, but we need pitchers more than a big bat. On the other hand, he could revitalize interest in the club, bring in fans and maybe provide a much needed spark to the team. He could also make it easier to trade Brian Roberts by providing another fan favorite.

So far Andy McPhail has done a good job and made good moves for the team. If the team keeps heading in the same direction in a few seasons, the Orioles might actually be competative again. At this point I'd be ecstatic abouts a winning season, even if they didn't make the playoffs. If McPhail thinks this is the best way for the Orioles to get better, I'm not going to question him too much. It's just hard to get used to the Orioles having competant managment.

The Orioles have managed to make some good moves so far this off season. They got a much needed shortstop, Cesar Izturis, I don't know much about him, but there is no way he's worse than the bumbling idiots they had last season. They traded catcher Hernandez to create a spot for top prospect Wieters and aquired a outfielder/utility man. They seem to be moving in the right direction. But what the O's really need is pitching. I hope McPhail will be addressing that issue soon. I'd really like a winning season soon.

Photo: Getty Images found at the Baltimore Sun

Monday, December 8, 2008

Is It a Dynasty?

This weekend I switched up my studying schedule so I could attend the Fourth Annual Maryland State Beer Pong Tournament. My partner and I managed to get a wild card bid and had to face our arch rival in the first round. We've been doing this for four years, we do have an arch rival. Needless to say, we lost, and then we lost again. And were out of the tournament in a quick two games. This was neither surprising or unexpected. Neither of us play as much as we used to and the competition has gotten a lot better over the past few years.

The tournament started out with the National Anthem. A girl near me scoffed and made a comment about this not being a sporting event. She obviously hates America and is quite possibly a terrorist, who else makes insults during the National Anthem. Say what you will about beer pong, but it is very competitive. Ask most of the 56 teams that competed on Saturday. Or come watch another tournament. You have over 100 guys(mostly) competing against each other for a trip to Vegas to play in the World Series of Beer Pong for $50,000 and the title of Maryland State Champions. Tell me anywhere you can get that many people together and have it not be competitive.

I'll be honest, for my team, it was more about blowing off steam, hanging out with friends and an excuse to drink at noon on a Saturday, but even we came to play. Plus, its always fun when two girls can beat two guys at pong, even if it didn't work out for us this week. The team that actually won this tournament was the same winner as last year, Wet Ballz. They consistently rank in the top three in League Championships. You get the idea, they are the elite of the beer pong world. After losing in the first round they managed to fight their way through the losers bracket and to beat Redonkulous in two games.

I didn't actually manage to stay until the end. The beer and hunger got to me. Who could possibly have predicted that as a tiny girl I would be hungry and drunk before six hours of beer pong had finished up. I left to go get food and watch some college basketball and didn't make it for the final rounds of the tournament. I'm told that the matches were hard fought through multiple overtimes. So it looks like a Wet Ballz dynasty.

Major tournaments are springing up all over the place. There are leagues forming in most major cities and even an international tournament in Jamaica. And of course the World Series in Vegas right after New Years. So look for a league or some tournaments in your area.

Before you get too critical of and similar organizations keep in mind that most of the people playing are young professionals who like to compete in every situation. Most of them developed a love of this game during college and don't see a reason to give it up because they now have graduated and moved on. It's not only about the competition, it's another way to socialize and have fun and maybe win some money and at least win some bragging rights. But a lot of is about competition.

Photo: Taken by me of Wet Ballz

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Battle of the UMs

Classes ended for me yesterday. And I should be working on papers and studying diligently for exams. Instead I took a field trip to the Maryland game last night. Almost thirty of us from the Maryland Alumni Association got free tickets and chartered a bus down to College Park. We went to see Maryland beat Michigan 75-70.

Maryland seemed to struggle through the first half. It seemed like nothing would fall for the Terps. But Gary Williams must have given them some pep talk at half time. Because in the second half Maryland came out and fought back. Vasquez once again led the way scoring 23 points and getting 12 rebounds. Hayes did a good job with 13 points and 4 assists. And they managed to hold off Michigan and helped not only Maryland win but the ACC win the ACC/Big Ten Challenge for the 10th a year in row.

Wow, the Big Ten is pathetic. You'd think that after 10 years they would manage to win at least once. As if one needed any more proof, but I think this is the final straw in the argument of which area of the country is better. Obviously the East Coast is far superior to the Mid-West. They can't even get their basketball teams to beat ours in a yearly challenge. It's just another reason for the East Coast to keep believing we're better than the people in fly over land.

Maryland still has a lot of work to do this season. But the schooling of the state of Michigan should bolster their chances of making the Tourney. And hopefully, the Maryland will play well at the BB&T Classic this weekend. It would be nice if they could play as well in this tournament as they do in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. We'll see what happens.

Just a note: I do have a fair amount of work to do on exams. So expect these posts to be less frequent and shorter for the next few weeks.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Yes, it's that time of year again, that time where the ACC gets to beat up on the Big Ten. It's called the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Teams from the ACC are matched up against teams from the Big Ten, actually eleven teams. I'm not actually sure why the Big Ten keeps taking part in this. After nine years, the Big Ten has not won a single challenge. This year they might have a chance. VT and Miami lost, but Clemson and Boston College have won. Duke is winning but the Virginia is losing in the second half. So it could be tied going into tomorrow.

Usually I would be worried, but the ACC tends to show up big in this matchup. So I still think they'll pull it out. Especially, since one of those teams in UNC. Now, I don't want to get all high on UNC, but they are good. So if the games tally is even tomorrow, the ACC just has to win two games plus the UNC game. Three out of the other four games are played with the ACC having home court advantage. And ACC teams play well at home.

Maryland plays Michigan tomorrow at the Comcast Center. Maryland plays much better at home with the fans all riled up. Maryland showed that it can come to play when they beat Michigan State last week. I think they'll show up tomorrow. After two humiliating losses, they need to re-earn the respect of the fans and show they can be a contender. This is a win that will matter come tournament selection time. And Gary Williams can't afford another year with his team in the NIT.

I'm heading down to College Park tomorrow. So I really hope that the Terps show up and play well. This is a game that they need to win. And it's not going to be a fun bus ride home if they lose.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Higher Expectations Lower Spirits

Yesterday the Ravens destroyed the Bengals 34-3. And honestly, the score probably could have been a lot worse for the Bungles. The Ravens now have an 8-4 record. They can't have a losing season. And somehow, they are still in the playoff race and could still win the division. Yet watching them demolish the Bengals was not that exciting. It was merely expected, the Bengals are so bad, it almost takes the sport out of the game. As I watched the game, I realized there was nothing the Ravens could do that would surprise me. Mark Clayton throws a touchdown, Clayton's one handed TD grab, Flacco throwing for 280 yards, none of it was that surprising, though that one handed grab was pretty sweet. But if it was going to happen, it would happen against the Bengals, they really are just that bad.

I just can't get that worked up about this win. The Ravens should beat the Bengals. If you had told me at the beginning of the season the Ravens would be 8-4, with a rookie coach, quarterback, running back, and no real bye week I would have been ecstatic. But now my expectations have been raised. I know they will win games against the bad teams, it's just a matter of by how much.

I like watching Flacco progress, I like seeing my team do well. But it's hard for me to get excited about a win like this. Next week, we'll play the Redskins, then the Steelers, then the Cowboys and the Jaguars. All of those teams are legitimate competitive teams. It's possible the Ravens could lose the last four games. I doubt this will happen, but I could believe it. And yet, I can't enjoy that win yesterday. I now expect the Ravens to compete on a high level and watching them play the Bengals was like watching them play my high school team. If the Ravens didn't win, something would be seriously wrong.

This was a rebuilding year, and while I'm glad the rebuilding is going faster than expected, I don't know why I'm not more excited. Maybe I'm just being pessimistic, it's almost exam time and my stress level is pretty high, but I wasn't really wowed by this last game. I don't think I'll have to worry about this anymore, since the rest of the season should be good games or at least competitive ones. As a fan, I like to see a little competition. Is that too much to ask?