Maryland Minute 7.30.09 - The Maryland Baseball Revival Begins

This man is on a mission to make you care about Maryland baseball. Image via washingtontimes.com

Erik Bakich is basically the perfect man for the job
The Washington Times has a great writeup on new Terp baseball HC Erik Bakich, and he's pulling off the impossible: getting me interested in Maryland baseball. If a game is televised this spring and I can find the channel - which might be the biggest problem - I'll probably watch. The guy says all the right things, too:

"There's 26 other sports that compete for championships here, and it's time baseball starts to join the party," Bakich said.

...

"Boxing out the state is the No. 1 priority," he said. "You have to take care of your own state. Fifteen players from the state of Maryland playing in the top conferences in the country not playing on your team? That's the difference between postseason and not."

...

"[Pitcher] Scott Swinson doesn't want to hear about a three-year plan," Bakich said. "The seniors don't want to hear about a four-year plan or an extended-term plan. It's the ACC tournament. I don't want any senior on this team right now leaving Maryland without having experienced the ACC tournament and a chance to play in the postseason."

Future (Baseball) Terp Mike Montville Profile
And it like Bakich is doing work already. He landed a commitment from Mike Montville, who was the New Hampshire Gatorade Player of the Year last year, and is his hometown newspaper's choice this year. He looks like a very good get (as if I would know).

Montville, who just finished his junior year, is this year's near-unanimous choice for Foster's Daily Democrat's Player of the Year after an entire season of heroics, in which he hit .532 with three doubles, five triples and 11 homers, drove in 44 runs, scored 35 runs himself, stole eight bases and struck out just three times. He was a first-team All-State selection and was named the New Hampshire Gatorade Player of the Year.

Decade Rankings: Maryland #31
Maryland apparently has the 31st best football program over the past decade, at least according to CBS writer Dennis Dodd. I really have trouble complaining about that ranking.

Two January bowls and an ACC title in the first half of the decade. Only five games above .500 since 2004. The Terps have been sneaky good. The Ralph Friedgen era is about to end with the likely ascension of offensive coordinator James Franklin in a couple of years.

Terp Targets Make Boost Mobile Elite 24
In what is usually one of the best HS games of the year, the top 24 players, regardless of class, come together to play a game in Rucker Park. Lance Stephenson attended his sophomore, junior, and senior years. While there's no sophomores out there, the lineup still looks great. CJ Leslie, Roscoe Smith, and Tobias Harris will all be there, in addition to Will Barton. The event is on August 22 on ESPNU at 7.

Maryland positional preview: Quarterbacks - D1SCOURSE
Looks like Pat Stevens is wrapping up his preview, finishing up with the QB position. It's pretty basic and straightforward: Chris Turner is the starter. Jamarr Robinson could be the back-up. Past that, we know nothing.

More Bakich Love
This man couldn't get any better:

Indeed, the former Vanderbilt assistant with a reputation as a nonstop recruiter spent much of July on the road before returning to Nashville (where he and his wife are expecting their first child). And to rebuild Maryland, that's pretty much what he needs to do. "I love being out on the road and love recruiting, but most importantly I love the chase and the hunt," Bakich said. "I'm not talking about going out and shooting things. I'm talking about chasing players and finding guys that are the right fit."

The Power Conference That Wasn't - Diamondback
Aaron Kraut of the Diamondback examines the current state of the ACC in football, and how it seemingly failed the high expectations set for it - but possibly, it didn't. Observe:

"If you really step back and take a look at the conferences a year ago, top to bottom, we may have well been the deepest conference in the country a year ago," Swofford responded. "What we didn't have is a team or two that was involved in the national championship race down the stretch. And I think that has a lot to do with how our conference is perceived competitively." To many observers, Swofford's claim of superior depth in the conference - the ACC did have a national-best 10 teams in bowl games last season - isn't enough to solidify the league's national reputation.

Yep, an NCAA-best 10 bowl teams. The ACC might not be the SEC, but they're certainly a solid football conference.

Could Washington Host the ACC Title Game?
Even though it probably won't happen...please, please let this happen.

Kelly said it would be premature to speculate what cities would place bids, although he acknowledged that Washington has expressed interest in the past.

...

Kelly said Washington's weather will not preclude it from hosting the championship game.

"Not necessarily," Kelly said. "That's been a concern with how it's evaluated, but nothing out of not being able to. It was just a factor early on. The ability of being in warm weather has been a carrying factor for those who voted at that time, but that could always change. We have models with indoor facilities that do well, but we have indoor models in the Big 12 and outdoor models, too. We play a bowl game in Washington, D.C., so we're not afraid of it. It just matters what we think is best at the time."

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