BALTIMORE — Throw out the meaningless platitudes. Per usual, they mean nothing.
Don’t listen to the tripe about West Virginia and Maryland recruiting the same areas. Or each side’s players knowing each other from high school. Or that the rivalry has intensified since the Mountaineers no longer play Pittsburgh and Maryland wants its revenge for all the losses West Virginia has heaped on its head in the recent past.
Both these teams need wins! Forget the nonsense and leave it by the curb for the “waste management” people.
West Virginia was 7-6 last season and limped into the offseason with the morbid Pinstripe Bowl in its craw. Maryland has been coached by Randy Edsall the past two seasons. There was no Pinstripe Bowl for the Terrapins. No Raisin Bowl. No Cigar Bowl. No Bluebonnet Bowl.
Edsall has turned in records of 2-10 and 4-8 to the man who hired him, athletic director Kevin Anderson. Rumblings were echoing from Bel Air to Kent Island. Man, 6-18 ain’t what the doctor ordered.
The upper reaches of Byrd Stadium in College Park have been gathering dust instead of fannies to occupy its seats. The student section has been missing about 33,000 of the Maryland student bodies.
Maryland needs wins. And not the ones it has over Florida International and Old Dominion, but a smile-producing couple against Miami or North Carolina or Georgia Tech.
The Terrapins won at Connecticut on Saturday to move to 3-0.
Morgantown was not impressed with the 17-7 halftime deficit coach Dana Holgorsen’s boys faced against William & Mary. Considering last year’s five straight conference losses and the wet bout against Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl, the murmurings grew louder when The Tribe held a 10-point lead at the half of West Virginia’s opener.
Holgorsen was hired to excite the possible ticket buyers with scads of offense and points coming from all angles.
But the seven points he found in a 16-7 loss at Oklahoma weren’t what athletic director Oliver Luck had in mind.
Beating helpless Georgia State, 41-7, in Morgantown won’t even be remembered in three weeks.
And so we have two teams that recruit in the same areas, have players on both sides that know their rivals from their high school games against each other and have a continuing series between boundary rivals. All meaning nothing.
Holgorsen’s seat of power will soon be getting too hot to sit on if his teams don’t score much. And they lose. Edsall is already without a seat to sit in. His critics want more than the bleached scalps of Florida International and Old Dominion hanging from the half-empty Tyser Tower at old Byrd Stadium.
Edsall will take any bowl he can find. A bid would mean his Terrapins won at least six games. The school could point to his record and utter another useless platitude: “Look at our improvement. We won two more games than we did in 2012 and four more than we did in 2011.”
This is Maryland’s final season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It skids into the Big 10 next year and will face Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State instead of Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia and Boston College.
Not a pleasant thought if you just lost to West Virginia at partially filled Ravens Stadium … and just might see the 2013 ACC race from the bottom rung. Again.
As for the Mountaineers, the reminders of last year’s 5-0 start and then the crash and burn for five straight Big 12 games will be simmering away as the fans drive back to their hotel or return to Morgantown or Summit Point.
The 3:30 p.m. game will not be sold out. The ticket prices are unreasonable. The only tickets besides those in the 500 level at the upper rim of the stadium or those in the end zones that cost less than $125 are a few $85 seats near field level on the goal lines.
This is not a product worth $125 a seat even if “these schools recruit the same areas, these players know each other from high school and this rivalry between boundary states goes back a long way.”