Hello. Welcome to this week's "Foe"Rensics feature, where we make up stuff about our opponents to make them more interesting. The good news is, this week, Maryland lives in this crazy alternative universe where normal doesn't exist, so I don't even really have to be creative this week. Let's get to work!
Ah, picturesque College Park, MD. Look, a parade! OH MY GOD THEY'RE GOING TO BURN DOWN THE SMOOTHIE KING.
1. So what happened in Miami Saturday night?
A. Saturday night was GLORIOUSNESS DEFINED. Our offense worked, with receivers making big plays, FINISHING plays as evidenced by D.J. Coles and Demitri Knowles both being in the right place to recover fumbles, running backs being given the ball, the offensive line road grading...and the defense being its usual self, shutting down Miami for the most part. The high risk, high reward defense that Bud Foster runs had a couple of blown plays, but outside of those two long passes, Miami didn't really do much of anything. Stephen Morris was the second coming of Jacory Harris, or the third coming of Brock Berlin, however you want to look at it. No game feels like the Miami game, at least to me, before, during or after. I was blasting Enter Sandman driving home, then heard them replay Bill Roth calling the 2003 game ("He said give it to me, Roscoe, give it to me!") and other highlights. All in all, this was the most complete, opponent demoralizing game we've played since I don't even know. I'm interested to hear what everyone else thinks, maybe the 38-0, bro game?
2. Wow, that's AWESOME! And off of three straight bye weeks!
A. Uh...yes, right. But there is still one thing to be addressed. Logan Thomas threw 6 (SIX!) incomplete passes on Saturday and really shouldn't even get credit for one of those touchdowns because the guy he threw it to fumbled it. I don't feel any different about our quarterback situation than I did last week. You know who wouldn't have thrown any incomplete passes? Kendall Fuller or Kyle Fuller, especially if he was throwing them to his brother. It's not yet time to give up the dream, I still say we need:
Didn't you see how many false starts we had? Those have to be at least like 90% Logan's fault, right?
3. Let's keep this train rolling! Who's up next?
A. The University of Maryland, located in College Park, Maryland. The university was originally founded by Charles Darwin upon his return from the Galapagos Islands, not as a school, but as an experiment to observe an unsuspecting group of people he predicted would be weeded out through evolution. To his surprise, they not only survived, but thrived in a Lord of the Flies kind of way, which is part of the reason they like to set shit on fire. Eventually, in an effort to codify and pass on their improvised tenets of civilization, they started a school, hired Gary Williams and voila, an ACC tradition was born. When looking for a mascot, someone familiar with their history with Darwin suggested they named themselves the Terrapins after the Diamondback Terrapin, rightly suspecting Maryland would confuse it with the snake and think it was awesome. Years later, when they realized they had been hoodwinked into honoring Darwin and his Galapagos turtles, they were too proud to change it and, after burning some couches in anger, decided to embrace the whole turtle thing and try to inflict a phobia of turtles on the rest of the world.
I have no idea what the hell this picture is supposed to mean, but I think I actually do fear this turtle
4. Is that their football coach?
A. Well, they'd probably be better off with him. Historically, they actually have had some success on the national level, winning a national championship the first year in the new conference they helped found, the ACC, and dominating the conference from the mid 70s to the mid 80s, winning six conference championships during that time. Then things got sort of dark for a couple of decades. After hiring Ralph Friedgen, they had some initial success, winning an ACC title in 2001, the Fridge's first year. From there they plunged back into the abyss and have pretty much stayed there ever since. The program was effectively driven into the ground by the time they fired the Fridge in 2010 (aside from a blip in his last year), but they hired Randy Edsall away from UConn who has since been attempting to burrow down through the mantle to give the program a fiery death in the Earth's core.1 In related news, the Washington Post recently did a glowing tribute of Coach Edsall2.
Randy doesn't know what everyone's so upset about, they swept both of their pseudo-rivals, WVU AND UVA, this year!
5. Oh. So I can't tell, are they good?
A. No. They started off the season strong with four wins, blowing out three of four opponents in the process before being dismantled by Florida State 63-0. Since then, they've lost every game except UVA3 and lost their two wide receivers in the process, one of whom, Stefon Diggs, is one of the best receivers in college football.
But one thing that Maryland EXCELS in year after year is FANS. Aside from the rioting after big wins, I've been to Byrd stadium and the Comcast Center many times and I'll share two quick stories. The first is when my roommate at the time came home from the 2005 game at Byrd with two black eyes which, the stories that lead up to the black eyes don't paint Maryland fans in a pretty light (or my roommate, but that's another story). The second is, after my many experiences, I made sure that my wife and daughter and I all wore neutral colors when we went to a VT-UMD basketball game in College Park several years ago, did NOT cheer when the Hokies did good things and still felt unsafe much of the time. College Park is a closer version of Morgantown and I cannot endorse people traveling there for any reason.
6. Wow, good thing the game is in Lane this week, huh?
A. Well, last gripe. If you recall, we were originally slated to travel to Tallahassee this year, for which I was planning on making the trip as my FSU grad cousin had last year for the Thursday night game in Lane. The ACC, in its infinite wisdom, elected to drop that game from this year's schedule (why let your two best teams play, right?) and keep a meaningless VT-UMD game on the slate, so we can play them one more time before they drop off the face of the relevant Earth (at least to us). While we may get our shot at FSU this year if we keep playing like we did on Saturday, I somehow managed to drunk-promise that I would travel to a likely cold Charlotte for that game instead of a warm Florida in October. Thanks, Swofford. I mean, can you imagine a scenario where the B1G goes "Welp, Rutgers and Maryland coming, better drop that Ohio State-Wisconsin game so we can keep Ohio State-Northwestern on the schedule" or the PAC 12 saying "Well, we've got Utah now, so we gotta cancel that Oregon-USC game so we can make sure we have room for Oregon-Colorado". Idiots.
7. Bitter much? Anything else you want to complain about?
A. Only that with Louisville joining the conference they didn't switch up the cross-division rivalry to allow us to play our bourbon-in-laws every year and saddle UVA and BC with each other.
8. FOCUS. Back to Maryland. Tell me about their roster.
A. Well, to start with the familiar, former Hokie quarterback Ricardo Young has been moved to wide receiver to help deal with the injuries. A pity his first game has to come against the Fullers.
9. Any other notes on their roster?
A. I've spent a fair amount of time over the last couple of months looking at college football rosters and something has finally boiled over. Gentlemen, I understand the temptation exists. Indeed, even I succumbed to it when I was in college, as did I imagine many people now reading. But we all make mistakes in our youth, all we can do is learn from them and try to help others avoid the same mistakes we did. And so I must tell you. The hair on the end of your chin is not a good look for you. It's not a good look for anyone, except maybe the dude from Anthrax.
And really, you have to credit him being a bad ass heavy metal guitarist.
I elect not to post pictures highlighting some of the more egregious facial hair errors. I'm trying to help these kids, not ridicule them. Just know that if that is the only place on your face you are able to grow hair that is NOT JUSTIFICATION TO DO IT. If you need some help on more appropriate facial hair to sport, allow me to refer you to some of our most fearsome blockers, past and present. Learn from these men.
Little known fact: Sam Rogers was raised in Blake DeChristopher's beard and derives his strength from it.
10. Sorry, let me rephrase...any other notes RELEVANT TO THE GAME on their roster?
A. Yes, relevant to both the game and the previous answer.
11. Oh Lord.
A. HEAR ME OUT. Whilst taking a look through their roster, something else stood out to me, something that could be a distinct advantage for the Terps on Saturday. While our players try to focus on their pre-snap keys, what happens if one of these guys goes in motion and our entire secondary is mesmerized by the flowing locks bouncing up and down in what will surely be slow motion?
Now picture these guys running at you Baywatch slow-motion style
I think that is a significant psychological advantage that we're going to have to account for. Particularly Mr. Craddock, on the far right, who clearly doesn't even let helmet hair impact his ability to shine.
12. Speaking of people, what has the University of Maryland done for the world?
A. I actually don't have anything snarky or bad to say here. Frank Cho, creator and writer of the comic strip Liberty Meadows, went there (go here if you aren't familiar). Maryland also gave us Jim Henson, who gave us the Muppets, which is pretty strong. In a fictional alternate universe, Liz Lemon, the main character from 30 Rock went to Maryland, a clear upgrade from her creator's alma mater. Lastly, David Simon, the creator of The Wire went to Maryland, and if you can't give them credit for the greatest TV show ever, then, I dunno, use Google (Sergey Brin is a Terp) to look up the nearest Outback Steakhouse (Robert Basham, co-founder, went there) and drown your hate in Bloomin Onion sauce.
13. While you were looking at their roster...
A. No Fullers. But, once again, we were not fielding our full complement of Fullers. While, in the end, the play of Logan Thomas was barely able to nose us in front of the Canes, I just can't help but think of what happens when we run across a supremely talented team like a Duke or BC and what they'll be able to do to our secondary.
But, to honor David Simon, I double checked, there is no one on their roster with any of the names 'Avon', 'Barksdale', 'Stringer', 'Bell', 'Prop Joe', 'Wee Bey', 'Bodie', 'Cutty', 'Marlo' or 'Stanfield'. So we shouldn't have to worry about anyone on the field unleashing on one of our players, screaming about "I WANT MY CORNERS BACK". I cannot vouch for their fans, though.
14. Any important rivalries we should know about?
A. This part's interesting. If you were forced to name their rivals, you'd probably guess a) West Virginia because they play each other every year and both fan bases are full of arsonists or b) UVA since they are near each other, UVA is Maryland's most played opponent and UVA needs someone they can call a rival that more closely resembles their ineptitude. The best part is, WVU would answer that their biggest rival is Pitt and UVA would answer their biggest rival is UNC or us. Maryland and Navy are also in-state rivals of sorts, but Navy also has the Army-Navy game, which is kind of a big deal if you didn't know.
So to expand on an earlier point, is anyone actually upset Maryland is leaving for the B1G? Enjoy the "rivalry" game with Rutgers they're going to stick you with and non-revenue trips out to Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota, doncha knoooow.
15. So what happens if I get hungry in College Park?
A. If you didn't pick up on it earlier, I cannot stress how good of a thing it is that this game is in Blacksburg. Nevertheless, I must provide restaurant recommendations and I will start with one rule: You shouldn't actually go to College Park if you can help it. To that end, I'll make recommendations near there without actually BEING there. I'm doing this for your own safety.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to mix in one of my other passions. For those of you who don't know, I'm sort of big into the soccer thing, particularly English soccer4, and if anyone else out there follows any English footballers5 on Twitter, those dudes eat at Nando's Peri-Peri Chicken a LOT. I mean, enough that there are websites making fun of how much they eat at Nando's and tweet about it.
This place is huge in the UK and is now coming to the US and has locations all over the DC metro area, including one in Silver Spring, MD which isn't too awful far from College Park but far enough for safety purposes. If you aren't familiar, this place is from the UK, but it's called "Portuguese Chicken" and Peri-Peri is actually a pepper from Mozambique, so they've got the multi-cultural thing down. It's sort of like a spicier version of Peruvian chicken, only they call the French Fries "chips" in a cute British way. Let's see what the internet has to say:
LocalBo on Urbanspoon:
"I forgot how good chicken tastes. You get so used to the bland taste I guess. Nando's Peri-Peri does a great job on the grilled chicken."
Ah, one of life's simple pleasures, remembering how good the bland taste of chicken is.
LocalYokel on Urbanspoon:
"Execution is mediocre But the concept is good...I have been to this location several times and regret it every time...I choose to eat elsewhere when possible."
Here's my question, Yokel. Why the hell do you keep going back? And when is it NOT possible to eat elsewhere? If you are in the DC area, there are probably 30 restaurants within a half mile of where you are. Is someone approaching you at gun point and FORCING you into Nando's? Is your girlfriend withholding sex unless you get her some Chips and Perinaise6? You know what I do when I find out I don't like a restaurant? I stop going there. But this place is good, so you're doubly dumb.
16. Sounds good. How about barbecue?
A. Okay, everyone brace yourselves, we are going OUTSIDE THE BOX. Purists will probably want to castrate me, but I would like to stay in the barbecue vein and switch countries. That's right, I'm going to recommend a Korean barbecue restaurant here. To expound upon my earlier advice, why stay the hell out of College Park when you can stay the hell out of Maryland? A quick swing around the Beltway and you're in Annandale, VA, also known locally as "Koreatown". And why not honor a visit to one of the most diverse areas in the country by sampling barbecue from around the world?
To warn you up front, this ain't slow smoked pork. The appeal at Il Mee Korean Barbecue is they have an all you can eat sushi bar (which comes with the standard warning of YOU ARE EATING ALL YOU CAN EAT SUSHI SO DEAL WITH THE CONSEQUENCES) AND an all you can eat raw meat bar, which is convenient since everyone has a grill built into their table to cook all the meaty deliciousness.
As Tiffany V on Yelp puts it:
"You get to cook it yourself too because if you allow the servers to finally get to your table then your meats will be burnt. They kind of give you looks if they see you cooking it but hey, WHY ARE YOU OVER THERE GIVING ME A LOOK instead of OVER HERE COOKING MAHHH SPICY PORK???"
While Tiffany apparently ordered her spicy pork with a side of SASS, she's right, they will stare at you while your bacon bursts into flames and blackens to an inedible char, so best keep on top of the cooking yourself.
17. Excellent! Speaking of sass, I noticed Logan Thomas got a bit sassy with reports last week. How's the COUNTDOWN TO FIVE INTERCEPTIONS:
A. Just as last week, Torrian Gray's guys didn't come up with a single interception, which is really making me concerned about the longevity of his tenure if they can't turn things around. On the offensive side, Logan, as previously mentioned, threw a simply awful six incompletions, but LUCKILY did not complete any passes to the other team. So, this week his Fuller Adjusted Interceptions, or FAINT count remains at FIVE. Now that we are bowl eligible, this leaves him ZERO interceptions that he can throw in the remaining 3 (or 4) games.
20. Alright, how about the RAGE MATCH?
A. Oh man, I have the exact opposite problem as last week. I cannot describe how dominant our defensive tackles were all game. Luther Maddy finished with two sacks, three total tackles for losses and one badass finger wag. Derrick Hopkins' stats weren't as impressive, but read Mason's and French's film reviews about how disruptive he was on defense and his #MANBEARPIG fullback cameos to help bulldoze Trey Edmunds way in for two of his four touchdowns. In honor of both of them, I award LUUUUUUUUUUU and Skip the #RAGEMATCH for this week.
21. I'm still pissed they didn't give Hopkins a carry. So...what should we watch for this weekend?
A. Aside from seeing if Brandy from Liberty Meadows was based on any Maryland cheerleaders:
- Kyle's status is up in the air, you guys. He might not be able to play on his Senior Day. This sucks.
- EXUM ISLAND DAY CARE was a little more back this past week, but he messed up his ankle and might ALSO miss Senior Day.
- To see if Big Wang can keep plowing holes for our running backs to squirt through and please don't censor me, Joe
- If everyone's favorite Canadian is going to go HAM on someone AGAIN this week!
- If Loeffler watched the Miami game, realized the running game was working and DOES IT AGAIN. PLEASE.
That's all for Maryland. Next week is a bye week, but don't worry, I've got something I've been thinking about for a long time that I'm going to need everyone's help with. Stay tuned.
1Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson decided to join the B1G and elected to take the faster route of simultaneous death by fried cheese and boring football
2The glow was the reflected flames of someone attempting to burn down the Maryland football building while Edsall was inside of it.
3And really, beating this year's UVA team by one should probably count as a loss.
4This is why you may see me tweeting excitedly about guys named Leandro, Gabby, Fabian and Libor on Saturday mornings, they play for Aston Villa and Europeans have weird names.
5This is applicable here, too. Isn't it easier to call them footballers instead of football players? We don't call golfers "golf players", but then that's not a real sport so bad example.
6Yes, Joe, this is exactly what it sounds like, mayo with the spicy sauce, and it is GLORIOUS.