Boomer, Nap, we need you guys back

Ken Rosenthal

October 11, 1991|By Ken Rosenthal

Maybe the Glazers should buy us a college football team.

The four Division I schools in Maryland are a combined 1-16. After tomorrow, they'll probably be a combined 1-20. Wake Forest has as many wins as the entire state.

What's going on here? Not long ago, we had Boomer Esiason at Maryland, Napoleon McCallum at Navy, David Meggett at Towson State. Things were at least mildly interesting.

Now Maryland faces an impossible schedule, Towson starts a linebacker at quarterback and Navy gets crushed by Ball State. That leaves Morgan State. Ten wins in nine years. Egads.

Tomorrow's mismatches:

In Division I-A:

* Maryland (1-3) at Georgia Tech (2-3).

* Air Force (5-1) at Navy (0-4).

And in I-AA:

* Towson (0-4) at James Madison (4-1).

* South Carolina State (4-0) at Morgan (0-5).

Presumably, the best bet is Maryland, but Tech can pass, and the Terps' secondary is shot, so who are we kidding? Tech is a 14-point favorite. That might be too kind.

Air Force at Navy? Another 14-point line. The last three Navy losses were by seven points or fewer. Wonderful. The Middies have dropped nine straight in this series. Brutal.

Towson at James Madison? As recently as 1988, the Tigers pounded the Dukes 34-6. But this year they've been outscored 122-50, and JMU is ranked No. 11 in Divison I-AA. Mail it in.

South Carolina State at Morgan? Another no-brainer. The Golden Bears have been outscored 205-50, and South Carolina State might be even better than their last two I-AA opponents, No. 7 Northern Iowa and No. 18 Youngstown State.

There you have it.

The state of Maryland, 1-20.

Look at the bright side: If not for Maryland's 17-6 win over Virginia, we'd be staring at 0-21 -- a record that lives in infamy, thanks to you-know-who.

Look at the down side: UMBC is talking about starting a football program. Someone stop these lunatics. Do not let them pass "Go."

In fact, Maryland, Towson and Morgan better watch out, with the state facing a $450 million deficit. Eliminate one or two football programs, and we're practically in the black.

Just kidding, just kidding. Still, it's worth noting that the five Division I programs in Florida are a combined 19-5, while the four in Alabama are a combined 16-3-1.

Football states, you say. OK, let's check the neighbors. Pennsylvania is 23-14, thanks to Pitt (5-0) and Penn State (5-1). But Virginia is just 15-14 -- and under .500 without Madison.

There, that's better. But hold on: The two Division I teams in Delaware -- Delaware! -- are a combined 7-2. And the two in West Virginia -- West Virginia! -- are a combined 6-3.

What's going on here? Actually, a lot of things at once. With Maryland struggling, the decline now seems especially severe.

In truth, the long-range outlook isn't so bad -- particularly for Maryland, which could return to national prominence in the new and improved ACC.

The Terps offer recruits a determined athletic director (Andy Geiger) and a coach with a four-year contract (Joe Krivak), not to mention a renovated stadium and new training facilities.

The three lesser programs face more uncertain futures. Towson continues to question its commitment to I-AA. Morgan and Navy are long removed from their days as national powers.

Towson was a force in Division II until switching to I-AA in 1987. The first two years, the Tigers went 9-11 with Meggett, the nation's best I-AA player. Since then, they're 2-21.

Morgan's coach, Ricky Diggs, is in his first year; Navy's, George Chaump, is in his second. Diggs, in particular, needs to work a miracle. Morgan, the school that produced Leroy Kelly and Willie Lanier, is 10-76-1 since 1983.

To think, the football season started off so well, with Maryland defeating Pennsylvania 17-9 in the Big 33 high school all-star game.

We should have quit while we were ahead.

Actually, there's always Division III, where the state's four entries (Salisbury State, Frostburg State, Johns Hopkins and Western Maryland) are a combined 10-6-1.

Very nice, but who cares? Not only are the Division I teams dull, they won't even cheat. A probation or two surely would spice up the local scene, but no-o-o-o-o, everything is on the up and up.

Somebody find us a team.

It's bad enough without football Sundays.

It's even worse without Saturdays.

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