"Go back, go back, go back into the woods!"
This was the chant that resounded through the student section when I visited College Park, Maryland in the mid-1980’s to see the West Virginia Mountaineers play the Maryland Terrapins. Back then the Terps were a ranked football team and would regularly beat us. The 27 points we’re giving away this week to UM should be just one more indicator of how much the times have changed.
I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, suburban Maryland to be precise. My best buddy from high school attended the University of Maryland – I went to WVU. I moved back to the D.C. area after college and early in our relationship took my future wife to a Mountaineer game at Byrd Stadium. In a scene reminiscent of the movie "Diner," I quizzed her beforehand about WVU sports history to see if she was really committed to the lunatic side of my personality.
All this to say, Mountaineer-Terp rivalry game has meant a lot to me over the years.
Lately I’m starting to sound like a gambling junkie, especially since last week I wrote about betting a JMU grad (and losing against the spread, mind you). You can get concerned for me if I start calling those radio advertised betting services which offer a "FREE STONE COLD LOCK" on a recorded message. If it’s so damn certain, how come the business owner is putting everything he has on the game so he can quit being a sleazy used car salesman for a living?
My aforementioned Terp buddy, Larry, has doubled down on past bets with me for this weekend’s game. Because I’m grateful to have a life-long friend and I’m a compassionate kind of guy (we make the world’s worst gamblers), this time I’m giving him the 27 points. He’s been betting me dinners ‘straight up’ for the past few years and now owes me a small restaurant, so I’m trying to help a brother dig out of his hole. Unfortunately, the way my gambling luck is running this season (you can see that I’m near dead last on the TSM staff regarding game picks), WVU will win this game by 26 points.
Oh, the game preview...we’re going to win.
I’m not nearly as confident about this win being a STONE COLD LOCK as I was last week (obviously we’re ignoring point spreads at this juncture). Maryland has Division 1 talent (albeit young), and a coach in crisis that doesn’t like us at all. The Terps have a game changer in freshman Stefon Diggs, who looks like a young Tavon Austin in a really bad helmet. That said, if WVU overlooks this game because they’re already thinking about striping the stadium next week vs. Baylor, we’re could be victims of an upset.
My prediction: WVU 45 – Maryland 24.