IT SHOULD be clear to anyone who's been paying attention -- and reading between the lines -- that tomorrow's game at Virginia is Joe Krivak's last as head football coach at Maryland.
Andy Geiger, Maryland's new athletic director, has said he will XTC not discuss Krivak's future until after the season, but on Oct. 30 Geiger said: "I don't think the playing field is particularly unlevel with the schools we compete with."
That negates the Krivak defense that admission standards at College Park have become too high, the "unlevel playing field" theory. Krivak knows how things go. On Oct. 8 Joe said: "We've not been playing the Little Sisters of the Poor, but in the final analysis you've got to win. Wins and losses are all that count. If you can win, you're OK. If you don't, you're not."
A loss at Virginia would mean Krivak had completed his four-year contract without a winning season. As he says, you've got to win. My Maryland contacts say Joe is going to step down voluntarily and Geiger will go out and get his own man, someone who can win games and put people in Byrd Stadium.
* John Unitas is a notable exception to the stereotypical ex-athlete who balloons in his 40s. The Colt QB immortal played at 197 pounds. Today, though his battered fingers are gnarled and his knees arthritic, Johnny U.'s weight is at 195.
* Cal Ripken Jr. is a great athlete who probably could play any sport. But tennis, which he'll play as Pam Shriver's partner in the First National Bank Tennis Festival at the Arena Nov. 27, is not a game that can be picked up overnight even by a great athlete. Cal has barely touched a racket and runs the risk of embarrassing himself. To avoid that, according to my spies, he is taking a cram course in tennis from Laura Dupont, the former circuit doubles player who runs the Orchards Tennis Club for Shriver, its owner. No matter how Cal looks on the court, you have to admire his willingness to help the event's beneficiaries -- Cystic Fibrosis, Children's Hospital and Center for Reconstructive Surgery and the Greater Baltimore Tennis Patrons Association.
* Butch Van Breda Kolff, one of the great characters in all of sports, was in town this week at the East Coast Conference basketball tip-off luncheon at Towson State. Van Breda Kolff, who coached Bill Bradley at Princeton and Wilt Chamberlain with the Lakers, still looks good at 68 and enjoys coaching at Hofstra. "I love to coach basketball," he said. "I'm at a great university. Unlike John Thompson at Georgetown and John Chaney at Temple, who can get ridiculous, we have no academic exceptions. We don't have Proposition 48 kids. The admission standards at Hofstra are the same for athletes and non-athletes. So I'm working with great kids. And I live near Jones Beach and every morning of the year I walk 4 1/2 miles on the boardwalk before going to work." Van Breda Kolff says the big difference between his first tour coaching college ball and this one is the emphasis on money today. "That's all anybody talks about," he said. "Sometimes I feel like I'm back in the NBA."
* Retired Poly football coach Bob Lumsden accomplished a rare golf feat the other day. He shot his age -- 67. Playing at the Country Club of Maryland, Lummie had two eagles and two birdies on the front nine for a 31-36. All he needs now is to go to the Poly-City game next week with his old line coach, Elmer Bright (recovering from bypass surgery), and root the Engineers on to victory. That would make this a memorable November.
* The 38th annual ACC football awards banquet, to be held here Feb. 15, is turning into a big deal. Commissioner Gene Corrigan announced here yesterday that all nine of the league's coaches will attend. That would include incoming Florida State's Bobby Bowden -- and whoever happens to be Maryland's coach at that time.