#5 Saturday, Nov. 16th at Virginia Tech
This one will surprise a lot of people, but I disagree. I’m excited for Virginia Tech for a number of reasons, the biggest of which being the fact that we might actually beat them. The last time we won against Tech, you have to go back to before Stefon Diggs was even born (1990). Since then, we’ve lost all five games played against them — and by horrendous margins (in the 2000′s, we lose by an average of 26.2 points. Yikes.
Virginia Tech is always good, and I don’t like that about them. If there’s any state school that’s going to be good it should be Maryland daggumit! Everyone else gets hated on. And that’s really where the appeal of this game (for me, at least) stems from: envy, haterade, jealousy.
The Hokies have generally had continuity; they always deliver (minus last season) even without the fanfare. I wish Maryland were capable of being a school without the manic depressive disorder; when Maryland’s up, they’re up but when they’re down, they’re 2011 Terps. As such, there are few things more favorable to me than raining on the parade of a team that normally delivers.
This year with Logan Thomas available, and injuries to their cornerbacks, Maryland might be able to beat Virginia Tech — on the road — for one final time. Especially because it’s increasingly doubtful the Terps play them again for a very long time.
#4. Saturday, October 12th vs Virginia
This one is probably going to be a real tear jerker.
Sike. If there’s one team I can’t wait to get rid of on our schedule, it’s Virginia. My level of disappointment for losing this “rivalry” ranges from “I lost my lucky penny” to “Kirk Herbstreit shirtless pics taken down by ESPN.” In our last ten meetings against the Cavs we’ve gone 5-5 against them, which pretty much makes this series as close to a rivalry as we’re going to get. But that doesn’t mean any of the games (save for last year) were particularly fun to watch. The last time a game was decided by less than a touchdown was 2007, and it was a boring 18-17 (thanks for giving up that safety,
Napoleon Dynamite Chris Turner).
Actually, in 2006 when we stormed back to win after being down 20-0 was pretty cool, too. Whatever that’s not helping my point.
I still don’t like UVA, and they don’t like us at all either. And even worse, no one even knows why we don’t like one another.
Ralph Friedgen used to say that because of proximity we compete for not just athletes, but for students. That’s basically a lie, since no one who gets into UVA is going to go to Maryland instead. But Marylanders don’t even consider those barometers for being looked down upon. We’re more interested in the O’s (they have no pro sports teams), the Ravens (see: point one), and Old Bay/ Natty Boh’s. The rivalry just doesn’t translate to other areas that would make it more appealing. We have no areas of common interest one which to build a true foundation of hate. Their rivalry is actually more traditionally aligned with Virginia Tech, anyway.
Still, I can’t wait to beat them one more time. And this year where they have a QB who I’m not entirely sure knows how to play QB, it should be even sweeter.
#3. Saturday, September 21st vs West Virginia
This one I’m legitimately excited for. We may still play West Virginia in the future, and I hope we do, because they are actually our rivals. The amount of disdain most people from Maryland have for West Virginians is amazing. Just last year I started some major Twitter beef with Pat White over his school being useless — which then resulted in him blocking me on Twitter. It’s seriously a hate-filled series, with personal insults slung around like gravy on Thanksgiving.
From Scott McBrien transferring out of WVU to Maryland and proceeding to decimate the Mountaineers in the 2004 Gator Bowl, to the Curse of Steve Slaton, this rivalry has the legs to keep going for a long time. It also has legs because recruits are constantly choosing one school or the other (more recently, Tavon Austin and Will Crest going to WVU despite being from Baltimore). It could go all the way, as they say.
The legs are, however, contingent on us actually winnning once in awhile. The past seven times the Terps have met the Mountaineers, we’ve come up on the losing end. Scratch that, we’ve been completely throttled by the Mountaineers in recent memory. Six of the last seven meeting have been decided by more than a touchdown, and Terps fans have to be thankful that the Pat White-Geno Smith era is finally over.
This year might be Maryland’s best opportunity to win against them. They’ll be playing in Baltimore in front of what should assuredly be a packed M&T Field (being occupied by key recruits as well), and there’s no Tavon Austin or Stedman Bailey to destroy us. No Steve Slaton. No nothing. WVU has a lot to recover from, which is a great thing for the Terps.
#2. Saturday, October 26th vs Clemson
This is another school I legitimately just don’t like (starting to see a trend?). For so long, I’ve hoped that the ACC would provide us with a perennial powerhouse, be it Clemson, Florida State, Miami, or Virginia Tech. And for just as long, I’ve been given nothing but let-downs. Clemson being the biggest culprit of them all.
How is it possible for a school to have a top 25 recruiting class every season and still sit far below expectations? Seriously, Clemson makes it look easy. They embarrass the ACC in the Orange Bowl in 2011 by losing to (ugh) West Virginia. They get to the Gator Bowl at 7-6 in 2008 and lose to Nebraska. I hate you guys.
And against Maryland? Believe it or not, our games are actually competitive most of the time. Maryland is the perfect mix for a Clemson upset. We’re always overlooked on the schedule, typically underrated, and love to scare teams with an upset bid. Tell me I’m crazy all you want, but we’re 6-6 over our last 12 meetings, and 2-3 in our last five. If there’s any ranked team Maryland is going to beat, it’s without question Clemson. They’re not SEC material for a reason.
This year, they’ve got some major firepower, but again they’re getting some serious West Virginia hype based off their bowl win against LSU last year. Nuke (Hopkins), Brandon Ford, and Andre Ellington are all gone from that offense. Sammy Watkins is great, but he’ll need some help and no one knows who will. Upset material.
#1. Saturday, November 30th at North Carolina State
It’s only fitting that (barring a run to the ACC championship) the last ACC game we play is against NC State, or rather, the ninth ring of the underworld where most Maryland fans feel Debbie Yow resides. I don’t care if it wasn’t all her fault that the financial woes Maryland currently sits in happened under her watch. I care that she treated others with complete disdain, ignoring the things they did for the university (Gary Williams). She was at the head of the ship when things failed, and thus deserves the entirety of the blame.
Only we can’t fire her, because she jumped overboard for the NC State job the minute the ship started to run aground. But here’s what I do know:
1.) NC State’s schedule has eight winnable games: (Duke, LA Tech, Richmond, Central Michigan, Boston College, East Carolina, Syracuse, Wake Forest).
2.) NC State always loses one or two game it shouldn’t, because State
3.) A six or seven win season for NC State is entirely feasible.
4.) An six or seven win season for NC State is a complete success for Debbie Yow.
5.) Their six or seventh win would have to come against Maryland.
The Terps have a chance to avenge their loss last year and crush NC State’s dreams of (potentially) playing in a bowl games if thise go according to my dreams. The afterthought of Tobacco Road may not be our biggest rival and they may not warrant being the head honcho on this list, but the thought that Maryland could ruin their season in their own dojo gets me excited.
They lose their best quarterback in years, they lose their best corner, and Maryland is a very close team talent-wise to them. For us to beat NC State, and stick it to Debbie Yow one last time on the football field, would make the season a temporary success in my eyes no matter the outcome.