Here in the middle section of the Eastern Seaboard, this is a pretty doggone pleasant time of year. The air gets a little crispness to it, but it’s still your choice as to whether to don the windbreaker. Your choice, my friend. The trees outside are just tipped with red and gold. The rowdy teens are back in school. The holidays are not so distant anymore. And, of course, football season begins in earnest.
That’s why it’s such a shame that the Terps are basically DOA as the meat of the ACC schedule begins.
There are five stages of greiving: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. In looking back over my recent posts, I realized I’m firmly entrenched in the bargaining stage. Namely, I’ll pretend there’s respect to be gained in “playing for pride,” if it makes the rest of the season more interesting and non-humiliating. But you know what? That’s no way to spend an autumn.
But as Clemson looms this Saturday (and make no mistake — they are looming), I’m just not seeing a way out of it.
There are things that Terp fans can cling to. Such as:
— Star Tigers running back C.J. Spiller is playing hurt and isn’t an every-down back right now.
— There’s not much to fear besides Spiller on the offense, which still shows an inability to close out drives and games.
— Nasty defense still strong (18th nationally in total defense last year, 26th thus far in 2009) under new head coach Dabo “Only A Football Coach Would Have This Name” Swinney, but still even the hometown guys don’t have much faith.
— Clemson is 2-2 so far, including a loss to TCU.
So Clemson isn’t exactly USC, but if you look at Maryland…well, they have the same problems only worse. How will they stop Spiller? How will the O-line keep the defense at bay? Is “just cutting down on mistakes” easier said than done? Clemson has a new coach, while ours is on a seat so hot it’s turning the Medifast bars to ash before they can even reach his mouth.
I guess my point here is that I feel like this time of year should be exciting, but I’m too busy rationalizing for that to be true. And what’s worse, I can see depression and acceptance on the horizon. The terrain between “playing for pride” and “playing out the string” is characterized mainly by slippery slopes. But hey, we’ll see. Go Terps!