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Posts Tagged ‘Maryland’

Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 3 (Sept. 15)

Do you remember the last time Notre Dame took a trip to East Lansing? You might not remember the game’s first 60 minutes and change, but that’s fine: things didn’t get wild until overtime, when Michigan State answered a Notre Dame field goal with the most audacious coaching decision of the 2010 season. Now you remember, right? Dan Conroy is lined up for the potentially game-tying 46-yard field goal; Aaron Bates, the punter and team captain, was the holder; tight end Charlie Gantt was lined up one spot inside from the edge to Conroy’s right. The call: “Little Giants.” The snap went to Bates, as expected – and then came the unexpected. You’ll see the rest of the play later tonight, when the Irish and Spartans meet in one of the day’s marquee games. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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    Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 2 (Sept. 8)

    Let’s not beat around the bush: this isn’t a great week. I mean, it’s great – better than what we’re used to, better than any non-football weekend – but it’s not great, all things considered. There’s no Michigan and Alabama to end the night; there’s no prime-time game on ABC at all, in fact. Instead, we’ll close our night with Nebraska and U.C.L.A., Georgia and Missouri and, later on, Arizona and Oklahoma State. Very, very intriguing games. But with perhaps the exception of Georgia, depending on how highly you think of the Bulldogs, these games don’t carry any title implications. That doesn’t make the games any less interesting – or change the fact that every game, especially while teams find their footing, carries some level of importance. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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      Overall, Not a Banner Weekend for F.B.S.

      Over the course of last year’s opening weekend, F.B.S. teams went a combined 36-2 against F.C.S. opponents. The two losses: Oregon State to Sacramento State (29-28) and Duke to Richmond (23-21). There were other close calls, including Washington’s flirtation with disaster against Eastern Washington, Iowa State’s near-loss experience to Northern Iowa and UTEP’s overtime victory against Stony Brook.

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        Clemson Carries the A.C.C. in Week One

        Until – and perhaps after – Clemson sealed a 26-19 win over Auburn with a late interception, the A.C.C. was the loser of the opening weekend. Was Clemson’s win a weekend-saver for the conference? I’m not quite sure. But it was absolutely a game-changing win for the Tigers; more on that below.

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          It’s Open Season on Penn State’s Roster

          It’s open season on Penn State’s roster. We’ve seen this before, in the early days of the sanctions assessed on U.S.C. three years ago and, if you can think back far enough, in the weeks following the penalties levied onto S.M.U. in 1987. There’s something different about this raid, however. One reason may be the fact that everything will be done in the open: Jim Delany, the Big Ten and the N.C.A.A. have essentially turned Penn State’s players into recruits, turning back the clock to those days when, as high school recruits, these same players were available to any school that would have their services.

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            Maryland’s Looking for the Old Locksley

            The details of Mike Locksley’s tenure as the head coach at New Mexico seem ripped from the headlines of The National Enquirer. He punched an assistant coach. Was accused of age discrimination and sexual harassment. Had a recruit cited for D.U.I. while driving a car registered in his name. Lost games at a record clip. Enquiring minds wanted to know: What would Locksley do next?

            He’s back in a role more suited for his demeanor and coaching approach as the offensive coordinator at Maryland. Instead of standing front and center as the face of a program – a role that he was utterly unprepared to hold – Locksley can take a backseat behind Randy Edsall, that lightning rod of coast-to-coast criticism.

            This will give Locksley room to breathe, and Maryland should be the better for it. He’s returning to his comfort zone as a chief lieutenant, not as a general; with pressure off, Locksley can help the Terps sweep up the mess that was last season’s offense.

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              No. 86: Maryland

              The two most hated coaches in college football: the guy in charge of your biggest rival and Randy Edsall. The first coach depends on your allegiance — Auburn fans hate Nick Saban, while the Crimson Tide faithful return the favor with Gene Chizik; U.C.L.A. fans still hold Pete Carroll in contempt; Arizona and Arizona State fans are still learning about Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez, respectively, but both sides hate what they’ve seen thus far. Every fan base, even parts of Maryland’s own fan base, hates Randy Edsall. Casual fans hate Edsall. Plugged-in fans hate Edsall. They hate his demeanor. They hate his my-way-or-the-highway style. They hate how he drove off a fifth of Maryland’s roster. They hate how he stymied Danny O’Brien’s transfer before pulling back on the throttle. They hate how he took nine-win Maryland and turned it into two-win Maryland. Hate, hate, hate. Edsall’s already lost the battle of public opinion, and lost it permanently, perhaps. All that’s left for Edsall to do is win the war — by winning big at Maryland, making fans hate him for a whole other reason altogether.

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                For 13 Teams, Losing Culture Carries Over

                Middle Tennessee State is in the same boat as 12 other programs in college football. The Blue Raiders, like the dozen others, enters 2012 on at least a five-game losing streak. How this team stumbled over the second half of last season raises some important questions about the program’s future under Rick Stockstill, whose career record at Middle Tennessee now falls under .500 after six years with the program. For nearly half of the 13 teams, last year’s sluggish finish has led to significant changes: six have since made a coaching change. Middle Tennessee opted to stand pat, but like every team that heads into the fall on at least a five-game losing streak, changes are afoot.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.