SYRACUSE University, winner of the last three NCAA lacrosse championships, played in a tournament at Rutgers last weekend and lost to Virginia and Rutgers and tied Villanova. Virginia beat everybody. With the graduation of the great Gait twins, Gary and Paul, Syracuse has come back to earth. But this, don't forget, is fall ball.
Fall lacrosse is on the agenda here this weekend with the second annual Choice-Visa tournament at UMBC. Loyola College, which could be favored to win the NCAA title in the spring, meets UMBC in the opener Saturday at noon. At 3 o'clock Towson State will be the choice over crippled Johns Hopkins (six starters are out with injuries). The winners will meet in the championship game Sunday at 2.
* When Andy Geiger started work last week as Maryland's new athletic director, people were still saying they wondered why he would leave a dream situation like Stanford's to take over troubled Maryland. "I'm sure there will be times when I'll wonder about it myself," Geiger said. Saturday must have been the first of those times, with Georgia Tech annihilating Maryland, 31-3, and Stanford knocking off Notre Dame, the No. 1 team in the country, 36-31.
* Why has Maryland's offense suddenly dried up? Simple. The Terps are one-dimensional. They have no running backs, so opponents, who've now had the chance to look at four Maryland game films, take away the passing of Scott Zolak. Result: the Terps are left with nothing.
* It's hard to say which football team was worse last weekend, Maryland or Navy. At least Navy, in losing, 24-7, to Air Force, had excuses -- a first-year coach (George Chaump), and a new quarterback (Gary McIntosh) making only his second ever start. The 2-3 Middies were planning on improving their record this year because of their scaled down schedule. But that's no sure thing. Navy could lose this week to coach Gerry Faust's Akron team. Akron (3-2-1) only lost last week (24-20) when a Western Michigan kid ran 95 yards on a punt return.
* While Navy fails to get anything going, the coach who was fired last December at Annapolis, Elliot Uzelac, has found his niche. He's the line coach at Indiana, which is 4-0 and coming off a 42-0 win over Northwestern. The part that hurts is that Uzelac's salary is still coming from Navy, since he had a year left on his contract. That's a pretty good deal for Indiana.
* Billy Hunter, Towson State athletic director, said yesterday the school's budget problems, which could lead to dropping some sports, still don't look any better after a couple weeks of meetings. "We just have to decide what we want to be," he said.
* The Columbus Day Parade at the Inner Harbor Sunday was one of the best parades ever held here, but getting through the traffic jams afterward -- I was stuck near the B&O Warehouse -- was an ordeal. It made me wonder just how bad it'll be when an extra 45,000 people are trying to exit those same streets beginning in '92 after a Sunday afternoon Orioles game.
* Conspicuous by its absence at the parade was the Colt band, but president John Ziemann explained that the band was playing in Richmond, Va., Saturday and Sunday. The band has improved 1,000 percent since the Colt team left six years ago. Ziemann says the credit for that belongs to its new director, Craig Harvey, who has given the outfit spirit and discipline. Says Ziemann: "He's the Vince Lombardi of music." The Colt band will play for the Cleveland Browns Nov. 4 and the New York Giants Dec. 15.