When Maryland opens its football season Saturday evening at 7 at Virginia we'll be looking at two schools that are making a habit of producing NFL quarterbacks.
Ex-Terps who are now quarterbacking in the pros include Cincinnati's Boomer Esiason; Neil O'Donnell, who's now No. 1 with the Steelers; Frank Reich, Jim Kelly's backup at Buffalo; Scott Zolak, the big but inexperienced rifle-arm being brought along by New England; and Stan Gelbaugh, who is with Seattle this year. Mike Tice was a QB at Maryland, but is now a tight end with New Orleans.
Virginia's quarterback of a year ago, 6-foot-7 Matt Blundin, is learning the NFL ropes at Kansas City. Shawn Moore, who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting two years ago, backs up John Elway with the Broncos. Don Majkowski is the QB at Green Bay and Scott Secules is a reserve at Miami.
A record like the above helps recruiting at both Virginia and Maryland. Top high school prospects dream of becoming pros; they see that the road to the NFL can go through College Park or Charlottesville.
Joe Krivak, who was deposed as coach at Maryland last December, developed all the Terps now quarterbacking in the pros. Krivak, who is being paid off at Maryland, is out of football this year.
Both QBs Saturday will be players who have been in their respective programs for a while but are only now getting to start.
For the Terps it will be John Kaleo, a senior who saw limited play last year. At Virginia it's an athletic fifth-year grad student, Bobby Goodman, who is on the order of Moore.
* The ACC's ninth and newest member, Florida State, is favored by 30 over Duke in their opener Saturday. It'll be even more one-sided when FSU faces Wake Forest two weeks later.
No wonder so many ACC people questioned the wisdom of admitting a powerhouse like Florida State, which is No. 4 in the nation in preseason polls. I don't think FSU fits at all, but the Seminoles' sympathizers say they'll come back to the pack now that they can no longer admit Proposition 48 students (those who don't score 700 on SATs). ACC schools don't take Prop 48 kids.
* One of the most enjoyable days I've spent at Camden Yards came during the Orioles' last homestand. I sat next to Army Lt. Col. (Ret.) Al Kermisch, who saw his first Orioles game in 1926. The colonel is one expert on baseball history who stays as current as last night's games.
Said he: "I wish Johnny Oates and all these other managers would forget the word 'closer.' If Storm Davis pitches well in the seventh and eighth innings, there's no reason to sit him down and bring in your so-called closer in the ninth.
"All these managers are doing it and a lot of 'em are getting burned. The only closer who's consistently effective is [Oakland's] Dennis Eckersley. I'll bet you five years from now they'll have gotten away from this closer craze."
Kermisch is as dazzled as anyone by the O's sellouts and the likelihood they'll draw 3.5 million. Adds he with his historical perspective:
"One hundred years ago -- in 1892 -- the Orioles finished last in a 12-team National League. They drew 93,000 for the season. This year's team matched that in the first two days."
* Here's another baseball historical note that should widen the eyes of fans in this era of the $1 million average salary ballplayer. In 1927 the highest-paid player on the Yankees was, naturally, Babe Ruth. He earned $70,000. Lou Gehrig was paid $8,000. No wonder there was coolness between Gehrig and the Babe. The salary figures were confirmed for Bob Creamer, author of the excellent Ruth biography, "Babe."
* Among the heroes of last week's NFL exhibition happening at Memorial Stadium are all the members of the Baltimore Colt marching band, who have stayed together all these years after the team fled in '84. A post-mortem with the band's John Ziemann reveals these interesting tidbits:
"If Malcolm Glazer and his sons hadn't contributed $40,000 to the band for the purchase of new instruments, we would have been out of business by Christmas. Some of our horns were 25 years old and falling apart.
"People who saw us for the first time since the team left town couldn't get over our size and our power. We had 140 people on the field, counting musicians, flag bearers, drum major. When the team was here, we performed with 90 people.
"What we liked was seeing the young fans pick up right where the old fans left off. After John Unitas and all the old players left, the Colts were unable to cultivate the younger market."
The Colt Band will hold a card-signing fund-raiser Sept. 26-27 at the Towson Center. Among those signing will be Y.A. Tittle and five current Orioles.
The band has just signed to play the halftime show Nov. 1 when New England plays at Buffalo. It also expects to appear at a University of Richmond home game.