To quote Chris’ favorite line from Wedding Crashers, “Crabcakes and football, that’s what Maryland does!” Since we know plenty about the former and not so much about the latter (at least as it pertains to the University of Maryland), I peppered the two biggest Terps fans I know for this season’s football forecast.
The first is Andy Peden, former college golfer and ex-blogger (Putts From the Rough), who has multiple generations of family at every MD home game. The second is Brad Parker, husband of TV’s Julie Parker and an ex-blogger himself (Inside the Parker), who has Terps football season tickets. My questions and their answers, after the jump …
1. Andy, explain this pic of the MD baby sippin’ on Miller Lite.
Peden: The picture is from Clemson/MD 2005. Clemson unfortunately won 28-24 behind two 4th quarter TDs. It’s a game that MD had won. There isn’t much to say about the picture other than if you want to guarantee that your kids burn a few couches during college, you just take them to a few tailgates while they are in diapers and let them sip on some ice cold Miller Lite. Please note that unlike WVU fans, MD fans actually have all of their teeth.
2. The ACC was arguably the worst conference in the country last season. Will it be any better this year?
Parker: Some say “arguably the worst conference in the country,” I like to think of it as among the top 10 in the world. I find it hard to believe that Miami and Florida State will be as bad as they were last year so the conference will improve. But then again, if our national reputation suffers just so we can taunt both of the arrogant Florida schools for another year, I’m willing to make that trade.
3. Ralph Friedgen is 50-24 (3-1 in bowls) in his first six seasons. Will he continue on as Maryland’s head coach until keeling over from morbid obesity?
Peden: I think every off season he loses 50 lbs but then gains it all back on the Sunday after his first loss. My guess is his current contract out lives him.
4. Will Maryland repeat their 9-4, Champs Sports Bowl-winning performance of a year ago?
Peden: I don’t see MD winning nine games this year. Fridge seems to have success when he finds a QB who can run his offense and with [junior Jordan] Steffy being named starter over Portis (transfer from Florida), I’m not sure he’s going to get the consistent QB play he needs. They lost Heyer and Gaither off the OL [to the Redskins and Ravens, respectively] and most of the LB and secondary with the exception of Erin Henderson. Looking at the schedule, they have a tough stretch with WVU then at Wake and at Rutgers. They also have Clemson and BC at home and FSU on the road. I think they are looking at a six or seven-win season before a possible bowl game.
5. What will go down in College Park if MD beats West Va. on Thursday night, Sept. 13?
Parker: It’s not beating Duke in February, but I would think the flames from the couches would be visible from space.
6. College Park isn’t a glamorous place under any circumstance, but have you had any star sightings at MD football games?
Peden: Other than Heather Mitts doing the sideline reporting (pictured) and some former basketball and football players, I haven’t had any encounters with any celebrities. Not sure why they would venture to CP.
Parker: The real sightings happen at basketball games. Scott Van Pelt is good for a couple of a appearances at Bentley’s every season if that counts. And Boomer Esiason shows up at games too.
7. What are your thoughts on Steffy, who completed more passes to opponents (1) than Terps (0) last year?
Parker: Only one interception all year, that’s impressive. I think Friedgen has decided that he can win with a QB that manages the game instead of one that tries to dominate the game. Steffy has seemed to have the perfect attitude this year, says all the right things and welcomes the competition from Portis. But if Fridge is so confident in him, why did he wait so long to officially name him the starter? If things don’t go well in the first half against Villanova (a powerhouse opener btw), Portis may get his shot.
8. Darrius Heward-Bey was MD’s top receiver last year and even broke off a 96-yard TD. Is he an NFL prospect on par with recent Terps Vernon Davis and Shawne Merriman?
Parker: I’m a little scared about the hype surrounding him. He’s fast as hell and can catch but he had that 96-yarder and another TD in the Miami game. In the other 12 games he had a whopping total of three. Not exactly All-American numbers. He did have the third-highest yardage total in ACC history for a freshman (694), they have a solid #2 in Isaiah Williams and a good tight end in Joey Haynos to take some pressure off of him. The RBs are very good and that will help too. But who will be getting him the ball by mid-October?
9. On the defensive side of the ball, is LB Erin Henderson as good as his brother EJ?
Peden: EJ was a special player at MD. He basically was the defense. He is one of those guys who had a knack for finding the ball. Erin is probably a better athlete then EJ but that doesn’t make him a better LB. Erin will have his chance to prove himself this year. Hopefully all of the other LBs can get healthy. I believe the projected starters at LB all practiced together yesterday for the first time this preseason.
Parker: In the immortal words of the Wolf, “Let’s not start s—ing each other’s d—s just yet.”
10. Now seems like as good a time as any. Who’s got a good gameday story?
Parker: As for storming the field, that’s not becoming of someone well into their thirties, and there is no photographic evidence that I have ever done anything like that (pictured).
Peden: I did go to the MD/UVA game two years ago with a bunch of UVA fans. We ended up sitting directly behind Fridge’s wife. And since I was with four UVA fans, she actually asked for all of our tickets to make sure that we were in the right seats. Then she asked me who gave us the seats because she wanted to contact that alumni and ask that they not give their seats to UVA fans. She was very uncomfortable with me and four UVA guys, including one named Shady 180, sitting behind her the entire game. Thankfully MD won.