Friday, January 30, 2009

Utter Embarrassment

The way the Terps have been playing lately is an embarrassment. The rout by Duke and the second quarter collapses have been terrible to watch. But all of that pales in comparison to the athletic department squabbles. The rumors of difference between Gary Williams and Debbie Yow have been circulating for a while. But they were pushed into the spotlight this week. Articles in the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun highlighted the growing rifts between the AD and Gary. One of the Assistant ADs, Worthington, basically blamed Gary for all the problems, especially the recruiting.

I'm not sure how an athletic department is supposed to work, but I'm pretty sure that unless you are really ready to fire you're coach you should be supporting him up until the last possible second. The news of the infighting was even a headline on ESPN the other day. People who knew very little about the situation, but know I'm a huge Maryland fan, were asking me what the deal was with all of it. And many people pointed out the ESPN article to me. It's not enough that the program is suffering, the team can't win, and we have a giant hole on the roster where a big man should be. Now we have a very public fight between two people who should be trying to help the program get better. Not trying to bring more shame onto it.

This whole situation makes me feel really bad for Gary. He obviously doesn't have the support of the AD. Or maybe her assistant spoke out of turn. Yow is in North Carolina for the funeral of her sister this week. Maybe she didn't know about this public fight until it had already began. But somehow I doubt this. Rumors have been circulating for far too long for this to just be a rough assistant's comments Either ways, there's no way that Gary can successfully run a program without that support. I know he's made some mistakes but this is only making him more sympathetic in my eyes. I've been calling for his head for a while, but now I'm starting to think he was just trying to do the right thing and maybe its Debbie Yow that should go. Maybe Gary is trying to change and get better. Plus Gary does have all those big donors so he's probably not going anywhere. Might as well make the situation better any way they can.

But Yow has helped all those other coaches win all those national championships in sports like field hockey, soccer, and competitive cheer. It's a tough call. Wait, no its not, Maryland is a basketball school, and that should come first, before football or anything else. And if they do somehow manage to find the money to buy out Gary, who would want to step in and take his place. No one if it means being thrown under the bus by the AD the moment things start going bad.

Overall, I'm more embarrassed by this behavior than the 41 point loss to Duke. Our program can recover from a bad year with some really bad losses; however, it will take a lot longer to recover from the vicious infighting and public disgrace. Work it out behind closed doors people.

On a Side Note:
Any time a coaching change is made in a program so important to the success of the ACC, it can be seen as a tremendous gamble.
If you indulge in online sports betting the gamble you take is greater still.
Remember to wager only what you can afford to lose. Have fun, but be smart about it. Know your limits.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mourning Maryland: The Stages of Grief

I am officially in mourning for the death of the Maryland basketball season. This probably started on Saturday when Maryland was humiliated by Duke. But I think I was experiencing the first stage, denial for the last few days. I still thought they're might have resurrect their season. Or maybe something good could come out of all of this. Maybe a change would be made. Maybe, they could learn and come back and show some improvement. Maybe make something respectable out of this debacle. That was obviously false hope and denial.

Right now I'm in the anger stage. How did they collapse again? How is Kim now ineligible? Why don't they have a center? When did they get so bad? How did this happen? What else could possible go wrong? Seriously, I can't believe this team. I'm just pissed at them all right now. Stupid Gary for not recruiting and coaching. Stupid Debbie Yow for not working better with Gary. Stupid Vasquez for playing consistently. I want somebody's head. At this point I don't care who. I just want blood.

The next stage is bargaining. Maybe I'm already there. I want something to change. I will not support this team anymore if nothing happens. It's really the only chip I have. It's not true. It's just the anger talking. I will always watch this team. Even when they are failing miserably.

After that is depression. I assume it will come after the next game, well next loss, probably the same thing. I'm sure I'll want to give up on the season since it doesn't matter any more. Maybe I'm already slipping into that stage. I'm definitely not there yet. But I can feel it coming on a little bit. Check with me after the next game. I can feel it coming it on.

Hopefully soon I'll be ready to accept this season as a failure. I honestly don't think we're going to even make the NIT the way things are going. This season might be the true low point in the great history of Maryland basketball. This team is just terrible and totally not competitive in the ACC. Sure, they were able to beat a couple Big Ten teams, but this is the ACC. And this is just sad.


Super Bore

I don't know what my problem is. I love football. But I really just can't get into this years Super Bowl. Maybe it's because the Steelers beat my Ravens to make it, but I don't really think this is it. Maybe it just means the end of football season and that makes me sad. Or maybe it's because there just isn't a story line that I can get into this year. I don't really have a stake in either team.

I do hate the Steelers. But I think the AFC is better and the Steelers are legitimately better than the Cardinals. And I really can't get into this Cardinals underdog story. I love an underdog as much as anyone else. But for some reason this one just doesn't do it for me. Maybe it's because I have a little crush on Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Yeah, I think he looks good in that puffy jacket. He definitely is at the top of my attractive coaches list. And I really think defense wins championships. The Steelers play similar football to the Ravens. I know offense is exciting and what everyone wants to see. But I enjoy a good defensive battle. It comes from being a Ravens fan. And as much as I hate the Steelers I kind of want to root for the style of football I like more. Even if it is an arch rival. Plus, I'll feel a little better about the Ravens division and playoff loss if the Steelers win.

When I told my friend I just wasn't that interested he asked how I couldn't get into the Cardinals story. He pointed out my teams are all underdogs and I usually love this type of story. I said Kurt Warner really doesn't do it for me. I'm not really sure why. He immediately asked if it was the God thing. And he was right. I have mild religious associations and very little belief in God. I understand that Warner is actually a very pious man and seems earnest in his thanking of God for his good fortune. He did go from bagging groceries to a Super Bowl and now is in the middle of another amazing comeback. So maybe he really should be thanking God.

I find most athletes disingenuous and thanking God for more political reasons. I don't really understand this since many of them commit such ridiculous acts. But somehow if you thank God for your abilities than all the other stuff is forgiven. I'd rather see athletes thank their teammates and their families and act pious rather than sound pious. It generally just seems false to me and that is rather off putting. If God does really care about football or any sport than I feel completely justified in my lack of belief. They're way more important issues that God should be dealing with.

For all of idiotic behavior of Big Ben, and there has been a lot of it, he is usually mum on the thanking God stuff. He has started doing this recently and I can't really speculate on why he started doing this. But I respect him mostly for keeping football about football. And the amazing comeback of Warner, while great, is not a story that is particularly compelling to me.

The Cardinals are a decent team that has played some great football in the post seasons. But I don't think they are a championship team. Yes, Larry Fitzgerald is one of the top wide recievers in football and Anquan Boldin is probably the toughest player in the league right now. (He broke his face and was back in a couple weeks, steel plates and all.) But overall, I can't really care about this team enough to like them. Maybe it was their poor showing in a week conference, maybe it's that they've been irrelevant for so long and I kind of think this is just a brief flash. Or maybe it's because I really do believe they are going to lose on Sunday.

I know that they have been the underdogs most of the playoffs and have pulled of some surprising victories. But Pittsburgh is a more disciplined team. They are not going to give up a last minute score and if they control the ball they are going to keep it. They have the power to get at Warner and the players to cover Fitz and Boldin. They also have a quarterback that has won a Super Bowl. So all of Warner's experience isn't that huge of a factor.

I really don't know who too root for. Maybe I'll just watch the commercials like a regular uninterested girl. Or maybe I'll just hope for some good football. Or maybe I'll hope for a more interesting game next year.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Top Ten Reasons Gary Should Go

Supposedly there are still some Maryland supporters out there that love Gary Williams and think it's just a down year and he should stay. After yesterday's rout by the hated Dookies, I would be happy if he was fired/resigned tomorrow. So here are some reasons he shouldn't be around next season.

10. He's a lecherous old man. Every student has seen him out at a College Park bar at some time drinking and hitting on college students. This might have been tolerable when he won a championship, but now it's just gross.

9. He doesn't have the backing of the Athletic Director, Debbie Yow. They are constantly at odds and this is only hurting the program.

8. The Terps just got routed by Duke, 85-44. The score at halftime was 40-15. It was the most embarrassing loss I've seen as a Terps fan. This team is not competitive. It is just sad.

7. The lack of a big man is ridiculous. Gary couldn't manage to get even one mediocre big man to come to Maryland this year. It's symptomatic of how far this great program has fallen. Now we have an undersized team that can't really compete in the ACC.

6. This program has fallen apart under him. They won the National Championship in 2002 and since then had a flash of brilliance in to win the ACC tournament a few years later. But mostly these have been barren times with NIT bids and early tournament exits. It just keeps seem to be getting worse.

5. He could have a heart attack at any moment. Between the booze and the sideline screaming he looks as though he could die at any moment. He has to change his shirt and jacket at half time because he gets so sweaty. I might not want him as a coach any more but I don't want the poor man to come to any physical harm. Maybe he'll retire due to 'health issues.' This could actually be the best possible solution.

4. He can't coach the players to play to their potential. Maryland managed to beat Michigan and Michigan state this season. This gave me hope that they could play well during ACC play. But even the in conference wins have been ugly. Gary can't seem to motivate these players.

3. The inconsistency with this team in maddening. The last couple games have just been bad, but Maryland the last few seasons tends to go on a great mid season run and then collapses. The Terps haven't been able to play consistently for an entire season in recent memory. And playing consistently bad is even worse.

2. He hasn't done anything lately. We haven't even been making the NCAA tournament lately. And Maryland shouldn't be a regular in the NIT. And it doesn't look like this year is going to be any different.

1. He can't recruit. This team can't get better if he can't get anyone to come to this program. And the worse we get the harder it will be to recruit quality players. And this team will only continue to get worse.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Alright, I Didn't Mean It

I'm a liar, well, maybe I won't go that far. But I can be prone to exaggeration. A little while ago I said I hoped the Terps bombed the rest of the season and Maryland would be forced to fire Gary William. Well, I still want Gary gone, but I can't bring myself to root against my team. Or to even ignore them and stay away from the pain. I mean I'm also an Orioles fan, sports pain and disappointment are what I do. It's a way of life.

I just love college basketball too much. And I want to see my team win. I know that losing terribly might be better for my team in the long run. But I don't want them to suffer at all. Also, I'm not 100% sure that another crash and burn season will be the end of Gary. He has a lot of friends with deep pocket who are interested in having him stay. One thing is clear though, him and Debbie Yow have to figure a way to work things out or one of them has to go. Together they are terrible for basketball at Maryland.

But like that shitty boyfriend that brings you flowers and takes you out to a fantastic dinner the night you were planning on dumping him I just can't break up with my team. When they lost two ACC games in a row after barely beating Georgia Tech I though I could do it. Then they beat Virginia and suddenly I'm doubting my reslove. I want them to be good. I want them to win the tournament. I really want them to beat Duke tomorrow.

Yes, Duke is really hot right now. Ranked no. 2 in the country and on a nine game winning streak. Yes, they are playing at home where they are usually amazing. But miracles can happen. I thought Maryland would get crushed by Michigan and Michigan State this season and they pulled out wins there. And Duke has lost once this season so they're not unbeatable. A win like this would help restore my faith in this team. I've lost my faith in Gary but maybe the team can pull through despite him.

So come on Terps. Don't crush me again this season. I didn't mean it when I said I was ready to give up on this season. I'm just looking for things to get better. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, January 19, 2009

More Bad News

The Ravens got smashed by the Steelers last night. All my screaming at the screen couldn't help the Ravens pull it out. The Ravens are going to need the entire off season to recover and get over all their injuries. And now Rex Ryan is leaving to be the new coach of the Jets.

It was bound to happen eventually. Rex Ryan has been in charge of one of the best defenses in league for the last ten years. Some team was eventually going to hire him even though his dad burned a lot of bridges in the league. He is just that good. I'm hoping things go well for him and that the Ravens can find another great defensive coordinator to replace him and keep the tradition of great defenses going.

This off season is going to be one full of changes. Ray Lewis might have played his last season as a Raven. Bart Scott and Terrell Suggs are also free agents. I think the Ravens might need to use the franchise tag on Ray Ray. He is a great emotional leader and a big part of the team. If they can't work out a contract extension it makes sense to give him the franchise tag and keep him around. Otherwise there could be more bad news for the organization.

I'm excited for next season. I think Flacco is only going to get better. The offensive line is young and getting better. And if we can get some more receivers and a kickoff returner this team could go all the way. Yes, we need some new coaches and new players. But Ozzie Newsome has done a good job with the franchise thus far and I think he'll continue to make good drafts and bring lots of talent to the organization.

Maybe next year will be the year. I guess we'll see. I'm hopeful.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Nevous Pregame Babble

I keep saying that no matter what happens in the Ravens game today I'll be happy because I didn't expect them to be good at all. The fact that they made it this far is incredible given the make up of the team and my preseason expectations. And somehow I feel if I keep saying I'll be happy no matter what I'll start to believe it.

But they've come too far. And while the future looks bright for this organization, there is no time like the present. The Ravens are two wins away from the Lombardi trophy. And I feel fairly confident in saying that whoever wins this AFC game will win the Super Bowl. Defense wins championships and the AFC match-up is a battle of powerhouse defenses. But I'm not so sure the Ravens will be the team advancing.

The last time the Ravens lost a playoff game I'm pretty sure I was crying in the bar with my friends. And that game was against the hated Colts. I'm not sure which team I hate more, the Colts or the Steelers. And if history is any indication, I'll probably be a few beers deep by the end of the game. So losing will probably mean crying.

Despite my apprehension, I am glad for this match-up. The Ravens lost to the Steelers twice during the regular season. If they can't best the Steelers in this game, the Ravens don't deserve to be in the Super Bowl. And as hard as it is to beat a team three times in one season, it's a little easier if you have already beat them twice. Teams that have beat a team twice in one season are 11-7 in the third match-up.

Add to that how banged up the Ravens are. They haven't had a bye week all season. They had the second week of the season off because of the hurricane. But didn't know that was going to happen until that Friday so they trained all week. This Ravens team is tired and riddled with injuries. They played an incredibly physical game last week. The Steelers are rested and played a great game last week, but against not nearly as physical a team. The Steelers are coming in as the major favorites in this game.

The main thing the Ravens have going for them this season is that they seem to keep finding ways to win. Tennessee outplayed the Ravens in every category last week except turnovers and points. And at the end of the game points are what really matter. So we'll see what happens. All that's left to do is hope and see how the game plays out. We'll yelling at the screen probably won't hurt either.


Photo: AP found at

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Looking for a Silver Lining

Well, the Terps blew their second ACC game in a row. And suddenly the season isn't looking so promising anymore. Those out of conference wins are starting to look less and less meaningful. So I've started searching for a silver lining. Maybe the Terps will be truly terrible this year. I mean just bombing the rest of the ACC season and not even getting an NIT bid. I really don't think I can handle another mediocre season. If the Terps are abysmal all season then something great could happen. Maybe Maryland will finally fire Gary Williams. Maybe this terrible season is the death rattle we've all been waiting for.

So far in ACC play the Terps barely managed to beat Georgia Tech and have now lost to Miami and Florida State. I really don't think I can deal with another Maryland collapse. And I really think Gary Williams is done. He's lost whatever it is he once had. At some point we have to stop giving him support just because he won a National Championship. His grace period is over. He needs to produce results. And for the last few years those results have been failures.

I know it's early and maybe the Terps will rebound and play strong the rest of the season. That would be great. But I'm almost hoping that doesn't happen. I've lost the faith. And I really don't want to get my hopes up only to have them dashed by Gary's bad coaching. We need someone who can motivate players. And we need someone who can recruit players to come to Maryland again. This is a school with a great basketball tradition. And Gary Williams is killing it.

So bring on the pain. Bring on the losing. Bring on the blowouts to bad teams. I'm ready for it. Because hopefully that will mean the end of Gary and a new better era can start. Because this slow death march is killing me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Living On Borrowed Time

In general I don't really preview games. I'm really not that informed and am usually completely off base so I like to wait til after the fact and make comments based on 20/20 hindsight vision. It means that I am wrong much less often and I like that. Who doesn't? But I'm going to go out on a limb here and make some general observations about this week's playoff games. Yes, I am going to spend a words discussing the NFC even. This might be shocking for any regular readers. But since there are very few of you, well let me explain, usually I like to pretend the NFC does not exist unless a team in playing the Ravens, but since it's possible that the Ravens could be in the Super Bowl and have to play one of these teams I guess I should say something about the Eagles and the Cardinals. Oh yeah, and I live in Philly, so I guess how the Eagles do tangentially effects my life.

But first off, let's get this out of the way. The Ravens weren't supposed to be good this year. I have said this again and again. And that we have made it this far is still shocking to me. I spent most of the weekend in shock. Only now am I really starting to accept that the Ravens are playing the Steelers this weekend. And if I woke up tomorrow and it was all a dream, I'd be sad, but it might be easier to grasp than what is actually happening.

The Ravens were 11-5 this season and only lost to playoff teams. So it's natural to think that they might not be able to actually play against other playoff teams. But here they are. About to face the Steelers for the third time this season. And I am scared. Yes, it's hard to beat a team three times in one season, and these teams are pretty closely matched with one big drive being the difference in each game. But the Ravens are banged up after an ugly yet surprising win over Tennessee. Pittsburgh is mostly healthy and even Roethlisburger with his spinal concussion played great last week. Big Ben is playing in his third AFC championship game. He's won a Super Bowl. This is a team to be feared. Plus home field advantage for Pittsburgh and they're well rested. The Ravens are going to have to fight hard. But I don't care, this team wasn't supposed to be in the post season. I'm going to be happy regardless because, well, this team has already defied so many odds that I can't expect any more from them. I can hope and dream but they've already done so much for me.

Nothing about this playoff picture makes sense. Pittsburgh is the only high seed left. And somehow two 9 win teams, the Eagles and the Cardinals are in the NFC playoff games. The Eagles who were left for dead by most fans after they tied the Bengals. But they started their amazing comeback agianst the Cardinals on Thanksgiving. I think the Cardinals will be out for blood. But I also counted the Cardinals out all season. I mean its the NFC West, similar to the AFC West in its crappiness. But they stomped the Panthers last week in a win even Cardinals fans didn't see coming. I think Cardinals fans feel similar to the way I feel about the Ravens right now. I hope you win but you've already exceeded every expectation I've had. Three playoff games, two wins, two home games. Really we can't ask for much more. That's ok.

As for Eagles fans, well I'm going to blatently steal this blurb from DJ Gallo's NFL Hangover because he is way funnier than me. And it's the best explaination of how the city of Philadelphia feels right now.

With the Phillies fresh off a World Series title and the Eagles now improbably one win from the Super Bowl, Donovan McNabb says "The city of Philadelphia is buzzing." That shows how different the perspective is on the field compared to how it is in the stands. Philadelphia is not buzzing. It's well past buzzing. The fans of Philadelphia are full-on drunk. They know there is a massive hangover coming. They know they could throw up at any moment. They know they just inappropriately touched the complete stranger in front of them. They know they just spouted a string of profanity in front of a 6-year-old. They know they're eventually going to black out and wake up in the morning beside the Sixers. And who knows, they might even have to hold McNabb's hair while he vomits. But for now they'll have another drink and see what happens.

Overall, I have no idea who is going to win either game. I'm guessing the Eagles over the Cardinals. But last week if I had to pick a lock I would have said the Panthers over the Cardinals. So you can see why I don't tend to predict these things. And I think the Ravens could win, maybe, or Pittsburgh could do what Tennessee did and lose. That would be cool too. At least it's something to hope for.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Did That Really Happen?

Yesterday was a great day for sports for me. Before the Ravens-Titans game I really believed the Ravens could win. My brother and I discussed how it was pretty much 50-50 and neither outcome would really surprise us. Then we actually watched the game.

I was still in Baltimore and after watching the first round of the playoffs in a tiny bar in Locust Point superstition brought us back to the same bar again. It was ridiculously crowded and hard to move. And by the end of the game everyone was screaming and pushing and drunkenly hoping against hope that we wouldn't find a way to blow it in the last minute. And then there was the eruption of cheers as Stover hit the final field goal and the Ravens stopped Tennessee.

I'm still not really sure how they won that game. Tennessee managed to outplay the Ravens for most of the game. The Titans ran and passed all over the Ravens and totally controlled the clock. They had more first downs and the Ravens defense looked totally incompetent on third down again and again. But Baltimore made the big plays when they needed to. And Tennesse fell short of the Ravens in the most important category, points scored. And in the end that's what matters.

It was ugly and not the best game the Ravens have played all year but I don't care. It's a W and I'll take it. This team that hasn't had a week off since the second week of the season somehow has worked their way into the AFC Championship game. Yes, they got some iffy calls go there way and got some lucky breaks. But this team has been making its own luck all season. They managed to get three turnovers from the Titans and didn't give up any of their own. Flacco played virtually mistake free ball. And everything managed to turn out all right.

I woke up this morning still a little in shock. Every once in a while last night I turned to my brother, my friends, or a random person at the bar and just said, "The Ravens won, they did it." Honestly, it's still sinking in. Ravens 13, Titans 10. I really believed they could win, I just wasn't sure it was actually going to happen. Wow, I feel great right now.

I think a text message I got from my friend after the game summed up perfectly how every Ravens fan was feeling. omfg omfg omfg omfg omfg omfg omfg omfg

Photo: Found at

Friday, January 9, 2009

And Your National Champion Is....

Ok, so Florida won last night. And made a good case that they are way better than Oklahoma. Either that or Tim Tebow is really the second coming of Christ and God just couldn't bear to see them lose. But I now want a playoff game between Florida and Utah. Which probably should have been a possible championship match up to begin with.

Florida lost one game this season. But after the loss to Ole Miss they won all their games until the SEC Championship game by at least 28 points. They made a good case and I have no problem with them being the champion. But poor Utah never even got a chance at the title. They managed to go undefeated all season. And then they thumped Alabama in their Sugar Bowl. Alabama spent a good portion of the year as the number one ranked team. Utah made a great case to be in the title bowl. The problem is no one heard it.

Voting members of the BCS poll have openly admitted that they never saw Utah play until the Sugar Bowl. Or that they really couldn't remember if they had or not. They just assumed since Utah plays in the Mountain West that they were not as good as the other teams. Now there's the problem with the BCS system. It's not just the computer polls, its also the people voting.

What better proof does there need to be to get a playoff system. One of the best teams in the country wasn't even watched by some of the voters. With a playoff system these questions would be answered. The Mountain West went 6-1 against the Pac-10 this year and won all their bowl games. That's more impressive than most conferences including the ACC and the Big Ten and they both get automatic BCS bids.

So once again there is a legitimate argument for two National Championship teams. If I was from Utah, I'd be claiming they are the actual National Champions. The BCS is so busted. President Obama will be inaugurated in a few days. So he has almost a whole year to fix this system. It really can't be that hard. Until then, we'll just have to settle for disputed championships

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Red Hot Capitals

The Capitals extended their winning streak to seven last night. But more importantly they beat the Flyers for the first time this season. After a painful elimination in the seventh game of the first round of the playoffs last year and a loss earlier in the season, the Caps needed this victory. No matter how far they have come this season, they still needed to beat the team that knocked them out last year. The Flyers were also the last team to beat the Caps this season. The Caps needed this win to really prove to themselves they can beat anyone.

The Caps are almost unbeatable at home this season. They have a commanding lead over the Southeastern conference and look to be a dominating force once playoff time comes. But until last night they still had one monkey on their back, the Flyers. And after overcoming that obstacle, they must have a fresh burst of confidence. It doesn't matter that they won in a shootout. All that matters is they won.

This Capitals team has been beseiged with injuries this season. And despite all that they have been playing their hearts out. And now that the Caps seem to be developing a real fanbase they are going to be even harder to contend with at home. If this team is mostly healthy for the playoffs look for them to go deep. Especially now that they know they can beat the Flyers.

I had hoped to get to a Caps game while I was back in Baltimore for a little bit. But it looks like it's not going to happen. I guess I'll have to wait and try to score tickets to the game in Philly when the Caps come to play the Flyers. I guess I'll see how mean Flyers fans really can be then.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Fan Foodie

Check out this review I wrote of the Camden Yards food scene. Thanks to they guys at Hugging Harold Reynolds and Fan Foodie for including me in this.

ACC Time: Fear the Turtle

Well it's finally here. This might be the best time of the year in sports. The Ravens are in the playoffs for at least one more week and Maryland is starting ACC play. The NFL playoffs and March Madness are my two favorite sporting times of the year. And during each one I truly believe and will argue that it is by far the best. But that's not really important. The important thing is to enjoy this time of year.

Right now the Terps are 11-2 with one more game before ACC play starts for them. They have solid wins over Michigan and Michigan State and respectable losses to Georgetown and Gonzaga. If they win tomorrow against Morgan State they will head into ACC play with 12 wins. Yes, I am a math genius. This means if they win just half of their conference games, they have a good shot of making the tournament with 20 wins. It's still early, but hell, if Boston College can beat UNC in their ACC opener, maybe the Terps can make the tourney this year. It's not unreasonable to thing Maryland can win 8 games in ACC play.

I know its still early in the season and this team is very young but they do seem to be learning from their non-conference games. They are trying to get better and Gary Williams has been able to get them to show up against better opponents in seasons past. Not alway consistently, but he does usually have at least one big upset a season. Let's hope that upset was not Michigan State this year.

This is the time of year when college basketball gets really interesting. Yes, you pay attention to the beginning of the season to try to predict how you're team will play all year long. But this is the time of year you actually start to go out of your way to watch the games. Maryland plays Georgia Tech on Saturday. Hopefully I will already be out celebrating a Ravens win but either way I plan on trying to watch this game. Oh, ACC time, it's just so good.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ravenous Defense

The Ravens were in top form today when they routed Miami 27-9. It seemed like every time Miami started to get something going the Ravens defense put a stop to it. Chad Pennington had a league low 7 interceptions during the regular season. He had 4 in this game. This was a game where everything went right for the Ravens and everything went wrong for the Dolphins. I mean, they're kicker even missed the extra point after their only touchdown of the day.

I feel a little bad for the Dolphins, but not too bad. While it was good to see Pennington show the Jets that they shouldn't have given up on him for another old gunslinger this season, it was even better to see the Ravens control this game and move onto the next round against Tennessee. I'm still a little in shock. I knew this game was winnable. That's not it. It's that the Ravens are in the playoffs at all. I spent the whole season trying not to get my hopes up. Just waiting for the inexperience to rear its ugly head. Waiting for the magic to end.

And now here we are. The Ravens are headed to the second round of the playoffs. They are playing some of their best football of the year. Ed Reed who started out the season with serious nerve damage to his neck had two interceptions today. One of several two interception games this season. And our inexperience rookie quarterback who didn't even get one vote for rookie of the year is doing the most important thing, he's not making mistakes. Sure his numbers weren't great today, but that's not what matters. Joe Flacco did give Miami a chance to come back in the game. And he topped that off with a rushing touchdown to seal the Dolphins' fate. He just played solid mistake free football.

I think the game next week will be much harder than today. But Tennessee is beatable. One big play or a different call and Baltimore could have won when they faced the Titans in the regular season. But this isn't the same Ravens team. This a team with a much more mature quarterback and a defense that is looking unstoppable. It's going to be a tough game. But not impossible.

I congratulated one of my friends on the Eagles win after the game today. His response...see you on Super Sunday. It's a little too early to start hoping for that. But man did the Ravens play great football today.