Archive for September, 2009


terrapins look to stay on top of the field hockey world

Muracco has been a scoring machine so far this year.  And she's purdy.

Muracco has been a scoring machine so far this year. And she's purdy.

Right now, as I’m writing this blog post, the #1 ranked Maryland Terrapins are hosting the #3 Wake Forest Demon Deacons in a clash between two field hockey titans.  The last time these two teams faced each other was for the 2008 ACC Championship as part of Maryland’s Award Tour.  The Terps are so dominant that they’ve been awarded every ACC player of the week awardso far in the first three weeks of 2009.  Maryland is 9-0 coming into this game, with three shutouts.  Their play has been dominating thus far, and the team is averaging a five goal margin of victory and outshooting their opponents 172-63 through nine games.

Emma Thomas (25pts) and Katie O’Donnell (37pts) continue their dominant play from last year.  The Terps have benefitted from great play by Nicole Muracco, who leads the team with 14 goals so far this season, and Janessa Pope, who stepped up big with a goal and an assist in the victory over #9 Boston College.  That performance earned Pope ACC Player of the Week honors for last week.

As I write this post, the Terps and Deacons are tied 1-1 at the half, and Muracco has the Terps lone goal.  Reports from College Park are that she scored by charming her way past the defense.  We’ll be recapping this game and more as the season goes on.  Go Terps, beat Wake!


Another game on ESPN360, another game I’m not gonna watch

So for the third consecutive week, the Maryland game will be on ESPN360. As a review, unless you are willing and/or able to switch to an Internet provider (like Verizon) that purchased rights to ESPN360, you can’t watch the game live. Happy footnote to Verizon customers: you’re paying for ESPN360 whether you use it or not!

Smaller Internet providers want the FCC to ban this practice, claiming it’s unfair that ESPN strikes deals with the big guys for ESPN360, and then forces customers to switch carriers if they want to watch it. In the meantime, I’m never switching for ESPN360.  F that. Bunch of shameless blood-swillers.

To me, the argument that the Terps “aren’t good enough to be on TV” doesn’t hold up.  Since when did a team have to earn its way on to the television set?  Are fans of inferior teams less deserving of TV games, or do they forfeit the right to follow their lovable loser team in whatever manner they see fit? 

For now, I’ll just keep listening on the radio (106.7 in D.C. market) or watching the Sunday replay on good old Comcast SportsNet. ESPN could funnel games of local interest to the ABC affiliate, but noooo. So just keep it up. Put the whole season on 360.  See if I care.  Hell, extend it into basketball season.  Come on, ESPN.  Is that all you got?  EASIEST TIME I EVER DID!!!


A Rutgers-Maryland preview from the late Michael Jackson

michael_jackson_031605Hello.  I’m Michael Jackson.  The entertainer?   I recently passed away very quietly after a long bout with vampirism and hospital-grade anesthesia.  What?  Is that weird?  I don’t think so.  I think dying is very sweet.  Very charming.  And now I’m back!  To spread a message of hope. And to handicap the Rutgers-Maryland game.

You didn’t know I was a football fan?  I love football; it makes you wish, and dream.  It provides a break from reality…sometimes I really needed that. Can’t you just picture me on a Saturday afternoon, lounging on my $750,000 rainbow-colored hippopotamus couch, a plate of corn dogs in one hand, ice cold glass of bat milk in the other?  That’s a good lunch for me.

For the Maryland-Rutgers game, lots of weird parallels. It’s like Maryland holds up their hand in the mirror, and there’s Rutgers, and they’re waving, but at the same time, and they’re perfectly aligned!  You know?  No?  Shamon over here and I’ll show you. First of all, both teams lost big in their openers–Rutgers lost to Cincinnati 47-15, and we all know about the Terps. Hee hee! But Rutgers is 2-1 now, while Maryland is 1-2. Both teams gamble with blitz-happy defenses, but the Rutgers defense locked down after its loss, surrendering just 22 points to Howard and FIU, while the Terps have surrendered approximately 822 points.   Both have a two-headed RB monster — Joe Martinek and Jourdan Brooks for Rutgers, Scott and Meggett for the Terps. Rutgers starts an unproven freshman at QB (although he might be injured), and Maryland starts an unproven senior (just kidding Chris — a-HEE HEE!).

Even their stadium situations are eerily similar in an Opposite Day kind of way (Yaaay! I LOVE, I mean, I HATE Opposite Day!). Maryland’s ticket problems in its newly expanded stadium are well documented, but meanwhile Rutgers is packing its newly expanded stadium.  It’s cra-zee!  Almost as crazy as that Bubbles thing. Want to know a secret?  There was no such thing as Bubbles. He wasn’t real!  It was just some chimpanzee that I was having intercourse with. Sexual intercourse.

Bottom line:  it’s a broken record for the Terps — and I should know about breaking records. If Maryland can get its O-line and running game working, they have a chance. If Torrey Smith can light up star CB Devon McCoury like a jheri curl on a Pepsi shoot, they have a chance. If Bruce Campbell returns at left tackle and can help slow down pass rush specialist Jonathan Freeny (Dwight’s second cousin), they have a chance.  If they can play mistake-free, they have a chance.

But as with Billie Jean’s paternity suit, there are many ifs. And I don’t see that Maryland’s home field advantage is as strong as in years past. I would rank it behind the home field advantage I enjoyed at Neverland, although I had wine and special locks and Ferris wheels and wishing trees and hospital-grade anesthesia. As previously mentioned. Wheeee! Sorry, Terps, but I love my Scarlet Knights. But do not be melancholy.  I love you all forever.

Love always,

Prediction:  Rutgers 27, Maryland 16


Former Barn Dweller Leads Terp Soccer Team

Do I smell musk

Do I smell musk

This Friday, it’s #4 Maryland vs. #2 North Carolina in a championship rematch. In case you forgot, the Terps are the defending champions, not the higher-ranked, blueblood, wine-and-cheese Tar Heels. Just clarifying for you.

With the exception of field hockey and maybe women’s lacrosse, the Terp men’s soccer team is currently the most dominant program in Maryland athletics. The Baltimore Sun has a really interesting article on the man behind the success, head coach Sasho Cirovski, who rose to prominence from nothing — and I’m talking like Eastern Bloc nothing, not America nothing. Seriously, he grew up in a barn. In a village called Vratnica. I would speculate that Vratnica may have an odor problem.

Occasionally I poke fun at Sasho for resembling one Joey Tribbiani. And I stand by that poking. But coach Cirovski built this program from jack squat, just like he done did his own self. You see? You see the symmetry there? The allemegoriness? It’s just too sweet. And I’d be crazy not to pick his group for the upset this Friday.


Terp Football Fans: Should I show up to boo, or just burn my ticket?


I’m glad someone woke up John Feinstein. He must have finally finished his latest tell-all book about the William and Mary soccer team.  Let me guess: it’s a place where sports still mean something.

Just a couple weeks after making some waves by claiming rightly that ACC football is irrelevant on the national stage, yesterday Feinstein noted the growing swarms of Boo Birds at Maryland and Redskin games. More fans seem to be eating their “Boo Berries,” if you get my drift.  They’ve got a case of the “Boos.”  Their teams “make them sick” to the point where they want to “lash out like Huns after a break-in at the meadery.”  If you take my meaning.  Because mead is an intoxicant.

Sometimes I hear a little too much talk radio in Feinstein’s columns, but he’s right. Terp fans are angry over what could be a dreadful season. And I’m not talking about the overreactionist “OMG SOMEONE NEEDS TO THROW ACID IN DEBIE YOWS FACE” contingent. A lot of the rank-and-file fans seem to be getting fed up, too, and they’re fighting back with their mouths and, more ominously, their wallets. Another Post story today notes that attendance is down at Byrd by nearly every measure: last Saturday’s MTSU game had the smallest crowd since 2002. Season ticket sales are declining. And that’s even before we bring up the luxury boxes.  These people, they just don’t know true poshness when they see it.  That’s REAL particle board, people!  That stuff doesn’t grow on trees.

Does the economy play a factor?  Surely.  But would the attendance dip be as bad if the team wasn’t also dipping like a bag of Scoops at an AA meeting?  (zing.)  No. Look at Michigan, one of the hardest-hit states economically. The Big House is packed every time.  Byrd could be, too.  The team doesn’t have to win the ACC every year — just be competitive.  Don’t embarrass your fans.  Is that too much to ask?  For instance, what about that Murfreesboro vacation I was planning?  You think I can still show my face there?  And I heard they just got a Mattress Discounters.

Bottom line:  we wouldn’t be having any of these conversations if the team was winning.  In many ways, sports is an easy business. 

(Non-topical final note:  If you think the Lions don’t have Sunday’s game circled on their calendar, you haven’t been watching the Skins. Booo, Snyder!)


It wasn’t all bad

I wouldn’t go so far as to say there are reasons to be happy with the Terps. Because there are none of those right now. So instead, maybe I can say that there are a few reasons to feel less gun-totey.

As first reported by Maryland alpha blog Testudo Times, Torrey Smith leads the nation in all-purpose yards. He also ranks 24th nationally in total receiving yards with 273, and that’s with only 14 catches. And he’s only a sophomore. Here’s hoping he gets more involved in the offense, and the criticisms that surrounded Darrius Heyward-Bey’s perceived underutilization are not repeated.

Also, the running game had its best day, if you don’t count the turnovers, although I realize that’s kind of like saying Bruce Willis is a good actor if you don’t count Hudson Hawk, The Jackal, Surrogates, Color of Night, and Look Who’s Talking Too. The beleagured O-line opened some decent holes for Da’rel Scott and Davin Meggett, who combined for 168 yards and two TDs. Megget also had 63 receiving yards. You can build on that.

The defense got their first turnovers of the season as well — two INTs from Cameron Chism and fumble recovery from Travis Ivey. Also, we had an A.J. Francis sighting! Very exciting. He was the one who blocked the extra point early on.

So there are some things we can cling to. At least until Monday is over.


Middle Tennessee Freaking State Freaking Owns Freaking Maryland

Look at this photo.  Look at it!

Look at this photo. Look at it!

They beat us in their house last year. Now they’ve beaten us in our house this year. All this talk about revenge game, and this and that, and this is what happens. Another year, another group of Blue Raiders jubilant at Maryland’s expense. Gah. I’m gagging. Need air. I need to breathe!

Okay. Get a hold of yourself, man. Whew. So I should probably mention that I didn’t actually watch the game, mainly because it will be a cold wet day in Hades before I cough up any money to the Evil Sports Programming Network for They could put the Super Bowl on there and I still wouldn’t pony up. Fuck them. That’s right. Fuck you, ESPN. Fuck And fuck this fucked up ACC TV deal. You want my wallet, you pry it out of my dead hand.

Whoa. Okay. Breathe. I’m a little angry. The morning after and I’m still upset. I may be misdirecting a bit but I’m still salty with ESPN for doing this. Anyway, a bunch of us were getting updates from a friend via cellphone, and it looked like we had it in the bag. That is, until Middle Tennessee State drove the length of Byrd Stadium in the final moments to kick a game-winning field goal. Read that sentence again. Guess what the key play was on the drive. Cameron Chism — Nolan Carroll’s replacement — was burned for 35 yards. What was a team strength — secondary — is now a glaring weakness. Jamari McCulloch can’t come back fast enough.

Other problems: Poor tackling. Missed field goals. Turnovers, including one by backup QB Jamarr Robinson, who played a whopping three snaps but somehow managed to lose a fumble. Again, the lines were porous. And in general, the offense and defense don’t seem to be, what’s the word, functioning.

Bright spots: 287 all-purpose yards from Torrey Smith. To be fair, Chism had two interceptions. Chris Turner had 288, 2 TDs, 1 INT, although he was sacked four times. Travis Baltz had a 40.6 punting average. Rock solid!

Bottom line: Two consecutive losses to Middle Tennessee State = unacceptable. Period. Ralph Friedgen has a lot of work to do. Everyone says his job is safe because the assumption is he’s going to fulfill his contract (this season then two more) and then fade into the sunset. Fine. But right now, there’s a playing-out-the-string feel to all of this that can’t continue. Fridge seemed angry after the game. Good. I think the team can round into form during the ACC season, but it’s not gonna happen automatically. Get to work, guys. This is humiliating.

(Photo credit: AP photo/Murfreesboro Daily News Journal)


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