Archive for December, 2008


11:21am on game day thoughts finally turn to the humanitarian bowl

It’s late morning on December 30th on the east coast, and it just dawned on me that today is the day Maryland faces Nevada in the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, ID.  The game is going to be played at 2:30 Mountain Time, which is 4:30 EST – a time that guarantees I will miss the first half while finishing my work day and commuting home.  The game time forecast calls for a a balmy Idaho winter day of 41deg.  Did you know that Boise, ID is 2,374mi from College Park by car?  Barring traffic in Wyoming, that’s an estimated  1 day and 11hr drive.  On the other hand, Reno is a 422mi drive, which is a little over 4hrs at a rate of 100 mi/hr through what looks quite literally like nothing on the map.

This “neutral site” game should be like an average sparsely attended home game for Nevada, and I’m assuming that is why they are a 2.5pt favorite on the Vegas line.  It may also be because there are a lot more people in Nevada that have access to the Vegas line than there are in Maryland, thus driving the spread up.  This is a typical bettors trap game and is a perfect illustration of why over 90% of sports gamblers lose (it’s much higher than the 50% everyone assumes).

Maryland finished with a winning record after playing the 21st toughest schedule in the nation and beating four ranked teams.  The ACC ended-up with 10 bowl eligible teams.  There is no comparison between the WAC and the ACC.  If Maryland hadn’t lost a fluke game against MTSU, then the Terps wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with.  With all due respect to Ernest Hemingway, I am going to have to disagree with him and say the Terps are going to give the Nevada Wolfpack a beating.

After coming off games against Florida State and Boston College, the Wolfpack secondary is going to appear to be moving in slow motion.  Maryland brings a much tougher defense than Nevada.  The Terps offense moved the ball well against BC.  Maryland might be suffering from apathy and travel fatigue, but there are players on this team like Darrius Heyward-Bey that are playing for a shot at the NFL, and others looking to solidify a starting position in 2009. I say they come to play. My prediction: Maryland 34, Nevada 24, and it won’t even be that close.

Don’t forget to stop by the Roady’s on Rte 301 in Centerville after the game, and tell ’em Shell Games sent ya!


A Preview in the Afternoon: A Humanitarian Bowl anaylsis from novelist Ernest Hemingway

ernest-hemingwayI left Spain in 1940 and after some years found myself in Idaho.  The leaves are yellow on the cottonwoods there and the wind brings a coolness to the rooming houses.  I was driving the road one day and saw a mountain and in its foothills lay a small tavern. The sign along the road said welcome to Boise. I did not stop at the sign. I kept on driving. There was no pulloff there for pulling over to look at the welcome sign.

I went into the tavern and ordered grappa. What is grappa, said the bartender. So instead I ordered white wine and nachos. The nachos came with meat and tomatoes and yellow cow’s milk cheese. I dipped pieces of fried cornmeal into the meat mixture and tipped the plate to drink the oil of the meat, and then I washed it down with the crisp white wine. What the hell are you doing, asked the bartender. I gazed at the cheese as it hardened on the plate.  I have unseen scars, you see.

A small television flickered in the corner and it displayed a blue field. It was a field for football. A boy’s game. The game of a boy before he goes to a woman. Before he knows the true sport of man — that of hunting another man.  In the dark.  Or the autumn.

I wonder if Nevada will beat Maryland in the Humanitarian Bowl, said a man on the stool next to me.  I wanted to tell the fool that for a humanitarian to bowl there would first need to be humans.  Nevada has a lot of good runners including their quarterback, he said.  What’s the good in running.  I ran but not to escape and I escaped anyway but it was not to freedom.

Colin Kaepernick is the Wolf Pack quarterback and he is the WAC player of the year.  He can run like the cool clear stream behind Ochoa’s house just east of Andalusia. Marko Mitchell is their primary wideout and Via Taua is their tailback.  They are both first-team all WAC and they can dance like fine bulls or trouts on the spawn.  The offense averages 37.8 points per game.  The defense allowed 31.5.  That is not very good.  For the Terps, Darrius Heyward-Bey has this last game to prove his draft mettle.  Those in Maryland, for the sake of the game if not his return to school, may hope that he takes full advantage of this opportunity. Maryland says its true strength is defense but it finished ninth in the ACC in total defense and I do not see how they can say defense is a strength when they cannot defend themselves.  Offenses can break boys and will know that day that they killed but they will do the killing and they will go on.

There are forces and there are objects but these are all weak and eventually they will all die and their dreams will feed the cottonwoods.  When the prize is 8-5 there are no long lines for the barrera seats.

The Boise State field is blue.  Like the blue fields of Kilamanjaro.

I left the tavern and went out into the street.

Final prediction:  Nevada 37.8, Maryland 31.5


Maryland mails in their revenge, serves it luke warm

Well, apparently it was too much to ask that we blow American out by 30.  I guess I’ll have to settle for a relatively measly 16-point margin of victory, as the Terps downed the Eagles 67-51 in the CP last night. Forgive me if I don’t start ripping up stop signs on Route 1.

I know, I know. A win is a win, and I should just take the W, and they don’t count style points, and blah blah blah. But you know what? Fuck that. You heard me. Fuck it in the ear. I wanted to see some blood on the court last night. I mean, they lost to American last year for the first time since 1926. Last time we lost to them, the Great Depression hadn’t happened yet. It was humiliating for the program.

Did you hear the big news, Paw?  Murland done lost to the Iggles.

Did you hear the big news, Paw? Murland done lost to the Iggles.

So now this year they win, and I’m supposed to be all happy because the team got a balanced scoring attack led by Big Dave Neal? That they really bore down on defense in the second half? You never hear anyone saying that about Carolina this time of year…”boy, they really got serious in the second half there! They’re now almost totally in control of that dog doo sandwich of a team they’re playing!” No, you do not hear that about Carolina, or any other contending team. You hear: it was a blowout. Nothing to see here. You tune in during the second half, you don’t hear the announcers saying “boy, they’ve really upped the defensive pressure coming out of the timeout!” You hear, “no, seriously. Best prime rib I ever had. We should go back there tonight, Dick. Whenever this is done.”

What is really troubling is that the Terps STILL seem to think it is OK to come out in second gear and coast to a victory. Sure, they got away with it last night against an inferior team, but how many more times will that work? Coming out for every game with differing levels of intensity is the very definition of inconsistency. And that is what has plagued the team for the past five seasons.

I really would have liked to see them eat the Eagles’ lunch and throw it back up into their mouths baby bird style. They were certainly capable of doing that. And before the game they were certainly saying all the right things about focus and so on. But until the Terps start walking their talk a little more, I’m not going to get excited over a cupcake win that should have been over by halftime.


lamont jordan sighted dashing through the snow

As Jordan crosses the goal-line he gives the signal for his sleigh to retrieve him.

As Jordan crosses the goal-line he gives the signal for his sleigh to retrieve him.

In the first quarter of this Sunday’s Patriots vs. Cardinals game, fans in Foxboro, MA, reported they saw a flash of light dance across the stadium.  When the crowd looked to the scoreboard somebody had left the Patriots two touchdowns in the blink of an eye.  Slow motion instant replay revealed that the reported flash of light was, indeed, former Maryland football star LaMont Jordan.  Jordan, who gained a Stanta Clausesque physique after signing a big contract with the Raiders in 2005, was nowhere to be found after the game.  There are reports coming out of Foxboro that he has mysteriously disappeared for the rest of the season.  The holiday season, that is.


I have a little something to say to American University

Tonight the role of Ike Clanton will be played by the AU Eagles. Let’s watch, and listen:

Oh, and make no mistake, AU. It’s not revenge we’re after. It’s a reckoning.


Blake Blazes it Up


Well.  I was on a break.  Until I saw a certain stat line this morning and couldn’t resist.   Last night Steve Blake got a 22 and 10 in a victory for the Portland Jail Weed Trailblazers. And if that’s not enough, add four steals and four rebounds in there.  That’s a downright Chrispaulian effort…I’m not comparing the two, but hey, it’s a sick game no matter who you are.

Blake goes by many nicknames.  EminemGummoTimothy McVeigh.  No matter what you call him, though, Blake is looking pretty daggone strong right now for the 17-10 Blazers.  He’s averaging 11.2 points and 4.5 dimes this season as the team’s starting point guard.  A couple weeks ago he hit a game-winner, and overall has developed a serious three-point stroke (he’s shooting 42%).

Who would have thought that Steve Blake would become a legit NBA player?  I always liked his game as much as anybody, but he seemed destined for backup status.  It’s kind of like having a baby, and suddenly realizing that the baby is now running around and building sand castles and such.  Slowly but surely, Blake just keeps developing.  And he takes it incredibly seriously. Coach Nate McMillan said he’s a team leader and one of its most competitive guys.  Blake quit drinking earlier this year, and spent the summer training with UFC fighter Nate Quarry.  That can’t be an easy workout.

I always wonder what Eric Hayes thinks about Blake. I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a broadcaster compare Hayes to Blake, based on little more than physical appearance and perhaps general demeanor. They’re not basing it on ability, that’s for sure. And I’m sure Hayes realizes that every time he, you know, doesn’t play as well as Blake did.  Nothing against Hayes at all…I just think the comparison is a little unfair and inaccurate, no matter how much us fans might wish it to be true.

It will be interesting to see what happens in Portland as rookie guard phenom Rudy Fernandez continues to develop (remember, Brandon Roy has the two spot on lock).  But for now, Steve Blake is looking very comfortable — surprisingly comfortable — in this prominent role.  Goterps.


Takin’ a Break from All Our Worries

The Noise in Boise is still 14 days away. Although everyone is clearly excited — reports are that the Maryland AD has sold a whopping 16 tickets! That’s as many as I sold to my recent colonoscopy. But that may be more a reflection on the greatness of my colonoscopies than the football team. We had it catered and everything.

In other news, the next basketball cupcake game is not until Sunday (although it’s against American, and we need revenge). Soccer and field hockey are over. Lacrosse is a spring sport. What’s a Terps blog to do? Take a break, that’s what. Recharge before the hoops season begins in earnest.

When the games come back, we’ll come back. In the meantime, enjoy the Maryland YouTubery below, have a great holiday season, good luck on those finals, and GO TERPS!

(P.S.: Please also enjoy this delightfully comprehensive history of Josh Portis’s career from East Coast Bias.)

Shaun Hill vs. Alex Smith montage….guess who wins

Kevin Barnes makes Jahvid Best puke

My favorite play in Maryland basketball history

My second-favorite play in Maryland basketball history

My third-favorite play in Maryland basketball history


milbourne emerges as the #3 terp

Watch out world.  Maryland now has three legitimate starters.  We all knew that Vasquez and Hayes had what it takes to play at a high level.  Until three games ago, junior forward Landon Milbourne had been a de facto starter due to seniority.  He has since emerged as a go to scorer.

Milbourne had his second 20-point game in a row as the Terps put the hurt on over matched Delaware State on Friday. I know that having 20-point games against GW and Delaware State isn’t exactly like dropping the deuce on UNC and Duke, but he also had a solid game against Michigan with 12 pts and 3 rb. What is important here is that Milbourne is getting comfortable with one-on-one situations and being the first option coming down the floor.

Landon resembles another long-necked Terrapin, D.J. Strawberry, who ended-up having a pretty decent college career.  Like Strawberry, Milbourne is the hardest working man on the team.  After the Delaware State game Gary Williams said, “Right now, I really believe at this point in the season there is no player in better condition than Landon Milbourne, in terms of how hard he works. Landon can play 40 minutes if he had to.” That quote could have been a direct quote about Strawberry from his junior year. I’m beginning to think that, like Strawberry, Milbourne is coming out of his shell in his junior year, too.

Man, that last paragraph had some awesome allusions to turtles.  College teams need three legitimate starters in order to have a good season and make the tournament.  The best combination is a solid PG, a tweener/slasher, and a low-post threat.  If Milbourne has come into his own and can be a consistent low post threat for the rest of the season, this team will be in good shape to get back to the tournament. He could also provide crucial continuity between this year and next year.  So move over Hansbrough, Ellington, and Lawson.  Milbourne got next.

Milbourne is 6' even without his neck, 6'7" with it.

Milbourne is 6' without his neck, 6'7" with it.


Huzzah! Soccer team captures the championship


Well, it wasn’t pretty, but the Maryland men’s soccer team got a goal midway through the second half and held on to grind out a 1-0 victory over North Carolina to win the national championship. GO TERPS!

Graham Zusi scored the game’s only goal after Jeremy Hall’s shot bounced off the UNC goalkeeper and went right to him. He collected the carom and rolled it into the corner of the net. Sweet. Zusi has to be the tourney MVP — he scored the only goal against St. John’s, too.

Both teams were clearly gassed after having just played on Friday, and stiff winds hampered the ball movement. So it was definitely a, uh, defensive struggle. But that seemed to play into the Terps’ hands…they were on the Tar Heels like glue. UNC didn’t even get a shot off in the first half and never really threatened. The crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Terps, with the “let’s go Maryland” chants raining down from the opening seconds. It was awesome to see our fans out in force like that.

No comment yet from Maryland head coach Joseph Tribbiani, but I imagine it will be something regarding Italian food and sexual conquests, in keeping with his unique brand of happy-go-lucky misogynism. In the meantime, HUGE congratulations to the entire team. Football may not have gone the way we wanted, and the basketball team is anybody’s guess, but between this and field hockey, the Terps have two titles so far this year. Not too shabby. GO TERPS!!!

(Photo credit:


Soccer game preview in 50 words or less


Game at Pizza Hut Park. PanNormous walls and breadstick columns. First 10,000 fans get free case of the runs. Tickets $1 with purchase of three tickets of equal or greater value.

Only 15 words left. Both teams tough, could be low-scoring, Terps on roll, they win. Tonight ESPNU 8pm, tomorrow ESPN2 11am. Goterps.

(Photo credit: – these words don’t count)


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December 2008