I'm not going to tell you everything is fine after that poor excuse for a football game. It's clearly not. A lot of things need to be changed. And if you need to see a case for panic, just see our game recap, cause there's plenty of negativity in there. But remember: this is Ralph Friedgen's Maryland we're talking about.
Ralph Friedgen's teams have always had trouble in openers. I don't know why, but they have. Perhaps it's motivation, but the reason is unimportant. In 2002, Maryland went 11-3, but started the year with a 22-0 shellacking from Notre Dame. In 2003, Maryland went 10-3, but lost to Northern Illinois to start. The next year, they squeaked out a win over that same NIU team by three.
In 2005, Maryland beat Navy by the grace of God and Lance Ball. 2006 was the only year without opening game troubles, handling William and Mary with relative ease. While the Maryland-Villanova score wasn't close in 2006, it was only 10-7 at half. And, of course, there was last year's near loss to Delaware.
If you didn't get it, this is a team that starts slow. Did that contribute to this? Who knows. But it is a possibility.
Don't forget, either, that this is a very similar team to the one that got destroyed by a terrible UVA team, 31-0, and turned around and shut out a good Wake team 26-0. They also lost to Middle Tennessee State before easily dealing with Cal. You're never sure what team it going to show up.
Maybe the team that showed up today was the slow-starting team that lost to UVA by 31.
Also, Cal is a legitimate top ten team. People who thought Maryland had a shot were both overrating Maryland and underrating Cal, but the Golden Bears are a heck of a team, and they'll be in my blogpoll top ten, without a doubt. It's not like this happened against Eastern Michigan.
Slow starts, a bad day, and Cal being a great team all contributed to blow this game out of proportion. Maryland won't go winless, and they'll finish above Duke and Virignia. They'll be okay. No, they probably won't go 9-4, but don't go overboard with the doom and gloom predictions just yet.
Don't get me wrong, this team isn't where it needs to be, and there's no excuse for this. But the sky might not be falling just yet.