Lately, when Maryland Madness rolls around everyone bails on the football team and cares about basketball. Well, you have to care about both -- at least for a little.
It seems like the last decade whenever Maryland Madness -- Or as I would like to call it, Happy Hour Madness -- rolls around everyone has shifted their interest from football to basketball just like the changing of the seasons.
Not so fast my friend!
You can't do it yet, not with the football team 5-1. With that in mind, here is a cross-sport roundtable.
Q: What is your favorite Maryland Madness memory?
Alex Kirshner - I don't have a particular favorite, but I've always thought the alumni game tradition has been neat. My guess is that this year's event in Cole is going to be nostalgic for a lot of people.
Todd Carton - I wasn't a Maryland student and never really got into Midnight Madness or even as it morphed into Maryland Madness. If you want, I can talk to some friends who go. (Note: Todd hates fun, but didn't mention his butthole, so you're welcome.)
Dave Tucker - My favorite memory is when the NBA lockout was going on and pretty much every former Maryland basketball star came back to play in the alumni game. Seeing Steve Blake go up against Greivis Vasquez was beyond awesome. It was also cool seeing people like Byron Mouton, Chris Wilcox and others. Juan was scheduled to be there, but his flight was delayed and he couldn't make it.
Molly Geary - This will only be my fourth, but I'd have to say the moment that stands out the most to me was when Gary came out as Top Gun at the 2010 one. It was my first Maryland Madness and I didn't yet know how it all worked, and that was a really cool moment and probably the loudest Comcast was out of any of the ones I've been to. Honorable mention would go to Alex Len's cartwheel dunk.
Brendan Darr - Gary Williams. Top Gun. Shades. Fist pump.
Q: Which new player are you most excited for this basketball season?
AK - Evan Smotrycz is going to be really effective. Roddy Peters, obviously, has the highest upside of any of the new guys, but Smotrycz has a chance to be an excellent stretch four, and I'm looking forward to his inside-out offensive game.
TC - Of the new players on the roster, I'm most interested in Smotrycz. I want to see if he can bring a degree of inside toughness. Of the freshmen, I'd say Dodd. We all know that losing Len leaves a possible hole in the middle. Maybe Shaq can step up his game (and I'd be more optimistic about that if I were hearing as much about him as I'm hearing about Layman) but I don't think he's as athletic as Len and can't intimidate on the defensive end in the same way Alex did.
DT - This is a tough one. I'm really curious to see what Roddy Peters can do, but after watching Damonte Dodd at the scrimmage last week, I'm REALLY curious to see how he'll contribute. He's so raw but he also has so much potential. I think people will also be surprised at how tall he his. He's going to be a great player.
MG - Roddy Peters. He looked really comfortable at the scrimmage, and considering how they spent a decent amount of time playing Seth off the ball I'm really looking forward to see how well Roddy performs at point guard and if its well enough where we might see a lot of Seth at the two.
BD - I'm going to go with Roddy Peters. Dodd and Smotrycz both intrigue me, but I know the Terps need a point guard. Roddy Peters is a point guard. This is one of those 1 + 1 = 2 situations. Smotrycz will probably have the biggest impact immediately, but if Peters can become a steadying influence on the ball and allow Seth Allen to move to a more comfortable position off the ball, that would benefit the team greatly.
Q: The fan debate was sparked up again by Scott Van Pelt this week, do you have any issues with what SVP said?
AK - Van Pelt didn't seem to realize that it was Family Weekend in College Park, so tons of students (myself included) were at the game but sitting outside the student section with their visiting parents. He's absolutely right that the student section has been generally mediocre -- and that many leave games way early -- but his criticism for this particular week was a bit off.
TC - Really I don't have an issue. I'm an old guy and I'm not inclined to get too loud but I almost always stay to the end of games. The exceptions are if I'm off to cover a sport on my beat and the game is a rout (as I did earlier in the season) of if it's unbearably cold (in which case I usually don't go to the game to begin with).
DT - Not only do I not take issue, I'm glad he said it. But I really think it goes beyond the students; the student section did mostly fill in, but the upper deck did not. You're talking about a team that is 4-1, playing their last ACC game against Virginia, and only 30,000 non-students show up? That to me was a bigger story/issue than the students leaving early. Maybe this is just further proof why Maryland went to the B1G; games against ACC teams just don't get the attention that a game against Ohio State and Michigan will.
MG - Like Alex, I was also sitting with my parents at the game, outside of the student section. So I do think that played a role last game. Still, the student section was pretty full at the start of the game if I remember correctly, so it was disappointing to see it deplete like it did and I think SVP was right to speak up. He has more than once in recent years though, and it hasn't seemed to change much, so I'm not sure I expect anything different this time. To the students who left though, you missed a hell of an ending.
BD - Van Pelt was absolutely right in what he said. Parents weekend isn't an excuse, like Molly and Alex said, that sat with their parents from the beginning. That doesn't explain the 70 percent of students who got up and left after halftime. The lottery system is ruining the fan experience. That probably needs to be examined more in depth by people much smarter, and more important, than me. I love Van Pelt, and I love what he said. All hail the king.
Q: Even Randy Edsall admitted beating Virginia was "special," are you going to miss the rivalry with UVA?
AK - Not particularly, but I won't explicitly not miss it. College sports rivalries are an ever-changing landscape, and the match with Virginia, while fun, wasn't that special to me. If either program misses the other, the schools should just schedule each other.
TC - Nope. Here's what I'll miss about the ACC: Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
DT - I will miss it. I'll miss the bow ties, khaki pants, and wanna be SEC/Ivy League mentality of Virginia. I'll also miss being able to hop in my car and drive about 2 hours to go to a road game (basketball or football).
MG - Not really, because as someone who didn't grow up a Maryland fan I have no longstanding ties to the ACC, and UVA hasn't been a traditional rival in the last few years the way that Duke and UNC have. At least, that's how I've felt from a student perspective. I'm more excited about several potential rivalries in the Big Ten than I am sad about losing the games against Virginia.
BD - Yes and no. I'm not going to miss the ACC, but I'm not exactly thrilled with a fake rivalry in the Big Ten. I wish we could take the Virginia rivalry with us, but I'll settle for West Virginia through 2017. Would I love both? Sure. Navy too. If those could be our three of our out of conference games every year I would be EXTREMELY happy.
Q: Are you comfortable with Caleb Rowe going against Wake Forest if C.J. Brown is unable to go again?
AK - Yes, but that doesn't strike me as an ideal situation. Wake is capable of putting together a nice 60 minutes of football, especially at home, so it would be helpful to have C.J. ready to go.
TC - This is a tough one to answer largely because I don't know what's going on at practice. The Terps are unquestionably better with Brown at QB but I think Rowe should become more effective with more reps with the first team. I haven't seen enough of Wake Forest to know where their defensive strength are but I'll be happier if Brown plays.
DT - Definitely comfortable with Rowe. I think Brown opens up the offense more, but Rowe really settled in as the game went on and I think as gains more experience, he'll continue to improve.
MG - Not as comfortable as I would feel with Brown, but I do have confidence in Caleb and I think he'll only have learned from last week.
BD - It's not ideal, but I'm more comfortable with Rowe against the Wake defense than I am Michael Campanaro going up against second string cornerbacks. So sure, I guess I am.
Q: Finally, a prediction for the game against Wake Forest:
AK - This game has me a tad queasy for three reasons: 1) The Terps looked lousy last weekend with a few exceptions, 2) Wake played a quality game against N.C. State, and 3) We don't know Brown's strength and status. I think Maryland has more talent than Wake, but it wouldn't be a surprise if the Deacs pulled out a win at home. I'll take the Terps, but by a less comfortable margin than we'd all prefer: Maryland 23, Wake Forest 20.
TC - MD 3 Wake Forest 1 but you probably want a football prediction not soccer. If C.J. Brown plays MD 31 Wake Forest 17.
DT - I don't think this will be a blow out, especially if C.J. doesn't play, but I think C.J. will play and Maryland will win and become bowl eligible, defeating the Decs 27-13.
MG - I also don't think this will be as easy as we perhaps had penciled in at the beginning of the season, but I do think the Terps take this one. 27-20, MD.
BD - I thought the -7 Maryland was getting was a little much with the uncertainty at quarterback, it was generous, but I could see it happening. Ultimately, I don't think Maryland loses this game, but like last week, I think a scare is in the cards in what could be a trap game. Maryland 31, Wake Forest 27.