Before I get going, a couple of housekeeping notes….
- My lack of production this summer is inexcusable. Not that you care, but I’m chalking up my hideous performance to the fact that my company is going through a major transition (we are combining with our parent company), and this basketball offseason has depressed me beyond belief. With the Fall semester quickly approaching, we are popping out of hibernation. I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank all of the loyal Turtle Soupers who kept this site alive during our sporadic summer postings. Thanks so much.
- ESPN’s college hoops crew should be taken out and shot for that hatchet job they recently published where they attempted to rank the best college basketball programs of the last 25 years. In that time, less than 20 teams won a National Championship, and even fewer went to 11 straight NCAA Tournaments. Yet somehow, Maryland was ranked #28? That is asinine. Thank God, no one actually takes the writers at ESPN seriously (sans Bill Simmons of course). They do employ Dick Vitale after all.
(Speaking of which did anyone catch this tidbit in Sporting News this week? It’s a throwaway puff piece on Greg Paulus, but it contained this gem: “Dick Vitale is….Awesome….I love listening to him and he is one of the best in the game.” Shocker. Perhaps Vitale’s incessant bloviating about Duke has something to do with him being one of Paulus’ favorites?)
Onto the task at hand. Before I begin, I want to say that it is nearly impossible to predict a season’s worth of college football performances in the month of July. All I know is that everyone and their mother is short-selling the Terps because of the questions at QB. I’ve heard the negatives already:
– Jordan Steffy has been concussed five times and sucked even when he did play.
– Chris Turner is not D-1 caliber athlete.
– Josh Portis is an idiot.
Aside from Portis’ intelligence, I can verify the other two statements. Steffy is totally worthless. Turner is no athlete. Between the two, I’d take Turner any day of the week. As far as I’m concerned, his “big” wins at Rutgers and vs. BC have earned him the starting nod. Portis should only get the nod if Turner starts to crap the bedearly in the season.
The Terps will return one of the best playmakers in the nation, Darius Heyward-Bey. He will be the number 1 option. The Fridge will need to get Heyward-Bey involved in creative ways if his QB is unable to hit him for long plays down the field. Ralph exceeds at finding ways to get his skill guys the ball, so we should continue to look for that in 2008.
Graduation hit the backfield hard, but Morgan Green and De’Rei Scott are intriguing youngsters and should present a1-2 punch for the Terps.
The bottom line for me is that I think the Terps QB problems are overstated. Between Turner and Portis, someone will emerge as a consistent performer.
As for the defense, Linebacker Erin Henderson is gone by way of the NFL Draft and Isaiah Gardner, J.J Justice and Christian Varner in the secondary have graduated. Despite these losses, the Terps Defense always seems to find a way to keep the team in the game.
So how do I see the schedule unfolding? Here’s my scientific analysis:
Aug. 30 Delaware – No Joe Flacco. No chance for the Blue Hens. Terps 1-0
Sept. 06 @ Middle Tennessee – Weird road game spells danger. Playing @MTSU is not exactly like playing @Florida, but early road games scare me. But, I don’t care. What’s the point of writing a blog about the Terps if I don’t think they roll over MTSU? Terps 2-0
Sept. 13 California- What’s not to love about the Terps first intersectional game with the Pac-10 in God knows how long? A win here, and the Terps are riding high. It’s a noon ET start which will hopefully make Cal a little travel weary for kickoff. Cal probably has better personnel, but this game is a chance to make a statment. The home crowd lifts the Terps to a rousing victory. Terps 3-0
Sept. 20 Eastern Michigan. No hangover here. EMU is a cupcake. Terps 4-0
Sept. 27 @ Clemson. It’s back to reality. The Tigers are simply too good to lose in Death Valley this year. Who are we kidding? The Terps aren’t even good enough to beat them in College Park. Even so, if the Terps make it this far and remain undefeated; who in Terp Nation won’t be glued to the TV for this one? Terps 4-1
Oct. 04 @ Virginia – Well, the Terps have to win a road ACC game at some point. Who better than a little revenge against UVA? Lord knows they are beatable. Without Howie Long Jr. inflicting damage, I think the Terps can win this one. Terps 5-1
Oct. 18 Wake Forest – The Terps can’t win all their home games, but they gave one away last year at Wake. The Terps return the favor. Terps 6-1 (Do you believe bowl eligible in October??)
Oct. 25 North Carolina State – Worst team in the ACC besides Duke. The Terps won’t win any easy games in the ACC, but this may be the closest they come. Terps 7-1 (are you enjoying this yet??)
Clearly, the schedule is front-loaded. The Terps must win the early games because it gets ugly in a hurry.
Nov. 06 @ Virginia Tech – Loss. Terps 7-2
Nov. 15 North Carolina. UNC is still a year away. Terps get to eight wins. Terps 8-2
Nov. 22 Florida State – Loss. Terps 8-3
Nov. 29 @ Boston College – The good part: Hey, the Terps play after Thanksgiving! The bad part: In New England. Loss. Terps 8-4
There you have it. Whoever said I that I don’t wear rose-rolored glasses? My predictions are definitely wrong, definitely optimistic, but definitely possible. Either way, it shoud be an exciting Fall for Fridge’s boys.
After last season’s basketball collapse, the Orioles predictable fade, and the Ravens going into the season with Troy Smith as the starting QB; I could go for a wild and exciting season in Byrd Stadium.