9 Thoughts on Maryland’s Bye-Week, Ocean City and Where the Terps Stand Ahead of Purdue
It was a bye-week for the Terps, so I figured I’d take a bye-week from writing. No longer! There are many important matters at hand to discuss.
The Maryland Terrapins soldiered through the nonconference schedule unscathed, most recently defeating UCF, making the path to bowl eligibility a very tangible goal. A long way from last year’s hopeless 3-9 campaign. But the competition ramps up this week. They’re fresh off a bye, starring Big Ten conference play right in the face with Purdue coming to College Park on Saturday.
With all of that in mind, I’d like to put a bow on the first quarter of the season by sharing a few assorted thoughts on on Maryland football, UCF, Tyrelle Pigrome, the Transitive Property and Purdue. Plus, a few detours into a weekend spent in Ocean City.
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It was Bike Week in Ocean City. Everyone knew except me: The weekend Maryland was facing off against UCF, my brother, myself and our respective significant others had a free place to stay on what might’ve been the last hot weekend of the summer. What we didn’t know was apparently Bike Week was in full effect. Parade down the boardwalk and all. As I got closer to the weekend, it seemed everyone in my life was hyper aware of Bike Week and was taken aback as to why I’d venture to the shore during such an occasion. While Coastal Highway was flooded with hogs, the only thing off putting with this crew was the noise. I was hoping we’d at least witness a bar fight, but no such luck. And I’m sorry I’m not sorry I don’t keep up with Maryland motorcycle culture to those who questioned my motives.
Trying to watch on CBS Sports Network: Before and after the FIU game on Talking Terps, I scoffed at those who were having trouble locating CBS Sports Network, riding high and mighty on my sports cable package. Unfortunately I was knocked down a few pegs trying to watch the UCF game the beach. I was convinced I’d be able to watch on my computer through a variety of avenues, only to be stonewalled at every turn. All the (legal) plug ins, websites and remote DVR finaglings I had in my playbook were swallowed up by shoddy internet. Fortunately with our fearless leader Chris Stoner at the helm, the game thread was lively and I was able to keep tabs on things through the site and Twitter.
Things crab is not good on: When I finally landed in front of a television to soak in the street fight of a second half between Maryland and UCF, I was starving. I hadn’t eaten in hours and thepit beef imperial sandwich was jumping out at me. It was even marked as a popular item on the menu. I mean, crab makes everything better, right? Well as of now I’m keeping a running list of things crab does not go well with. Pit beef sandwiches are currently alone on the list. Please let me know if you have additions. I’d also like to note that, conversely, a chicken Chesapeake sandwich (Chicken, crab dip and a slice of cheese) is a supremely underrated dish.
Tyrelle Pigrome: After I forced the beef and crab sandwich down my throat, it was clear the game was going to drag on. Everyone at the dinner table was kind enough to indulge me and hung out at the restaurant through the end of regulation. At that point, I could see everyone had enough Maryland football for one night. We pressed on, Ubering down to Mackey’s where (and this is shocking) there wasn’t a single television showing the game. My face had been buried in my phone the moment we left dinner, so being anti-social at the bar was no big deal. Thank god for sketchy phone recordings of television screens. It didn’t make Tyrelle Pigrome’s 24-yard, walk off touchdown run any less sweet. Upon seeing it I became a raving lunatic and was told by my loved ones that I was being “useless” at that time of the evening. It was decided we’d head home. I prefered this option because it let me watch Pigrome’s run over and over again during the ride. While we don’t know a whole lot about Perry Hills’ condition, my gut is saying that the grit grinder himself will likely play on Saturday. But if he can’t or he takes a hit and comes up gingerly, the world now knows that DJ Durkin and Walt Bell are not afraid to trot out Piggy. I will say that I feel safer in Perry’s hands due to the goose egg he’s posting in the turnover column. Though, at the same time, I wonder what Pigrome would do to a struggling Purdue defense.
Let’s spin the Transitive Property wheel on Indiana, again!: Consider a 2-1Indiana team, a team that just lost its first game to Wake Forest in Bloomington. This same team who was down to a really, really awful FIU going into the fourth quarter. And that’s the same FIU team that was blasted this weekend by UCF and was thoroughly beaten by the Terps. I’ll be interested to see how the Hoosiers fare in the next three weeks against Michigan State, at Ohio State and Nebraska at home. They’re likely to be pounded, but will it completely derail their season? Is Indiana secretly bad? Why do I spend so much time thinking about Indiana football?
Converting my brother to being a Seacrets guy: In the Lost FIU Episode (I ruined it, RIP),Eric admitted outrageously that he does not like going to Seacrets during the day. He avoids it like the plague during daylight hours and will only visit Ocean City’s most famous landmark after the sun goes down. Of course I told him this was preposterous, like any reasonable person, and we carried on. You can only imagine how annoying it was when my brother, the family contrarian, insisted Seacrets is a vile awful place – without ever having visited himself. There was no chance I was leaving Worcester County without basking in Assawoman Bay at a decrepit Red Bull cocktail table. We made it to the bay and in an all time upset, after spending a few hours under the hot sun with a few cold Natural Lights, my brother admitted he was a daytime Seacrets guy. Bigger upset than Maryland’s 3-0 record. Eric is still dumb.
UCF on the road could end up being a decent win: UCF pounded FIU in Miami on Saturday, 52-14. In fact, the Knights had an easier time with the Panthers than the Terps. I don’t know how UCF’s season will ultimately shake out, but dare I say they could be one of the better teams in the American Conference not named Houston.
Let’s dive into the latest round of S&P+ rankings: Maryland’s next opponent sits at No. 89 in the overall S&P+ rankings with the offense and defense clocking in at 70 and 83, respectively. The best team Purdue has faced thus far is Cincinnati (No. 72) at home and the Bearcats were able to run for 262 yards on Purdue with an offense currently ranked No. 71 in the country according to S&P+. The Terps clock in at No. 56 this week with an offense that’s rated as No. 43 in the country. Though I do think the Bearcats are a little undervalued by the numbers (They played fairly well against a top-five Houston team at home), I really like Maryland’s rushing attack against a defense that is already teetering on the edge of implosion before starting conference play.
Denzel Conyers marks the first major injury of the season: Saving the bad news for last – Denzel Conyers is done for the year with an ACL tear. It’s a big blow to an already thin secondary. Josh Woods will be your likely starter come Saturday and with the logjam at running but, don’t be surprised if Jake Funk starts to show up at safety more often.
CT Schwink lives in Washington, D.C., and is the digital media strategist for a non-profit organization. He hosted a Maryland Terrapins podcast for 5 years, previously known as Red Shell Radio, and later Talking Terps here at BSL. Additionally, Schwink hosts the weekly Washington Wizards podcast ZardCast and he assists behind the scenes with The Solid Verbal, internet's most downloaded independent college football podcast.