Once again, the college football teams in the state, collectively, are off to a terrible start. Over the weekend, eight of the nine lost.
The lone winner was little Western Maryland, which won at Albright Saturday night, 28-0. It was the first time Western Maryland had shut out an opening day opponent since 1963.
The losers were all the rest: Maryland, Navy, Morgan State, Towson State, Bowie State, Johns Hopkins, Salisbury State and Frostburg State.
Most disappointing of all has to be Navy. Starting their third season under coach George Chaump, the Mids expect to improve on their 1-10 season of last year.
But a year ago, Navy played Virginia tough, losing, 17-10. Saturday night at Annapolis, the Mids turned in one of their worst performances ever before the home fans, losing, 53-0.
Navy has 10 games remaining, so it could still end up with a decent record. But the utter one-sidedness of the Virginia game has to dampen the hopes of all but the most rabidly blue and gold partisan.
The reality is that the Mids, who haven't had a winning season in a decade, need more time before regaining respectability.
"When you've lost for as long as we have," says Navy athletic director Jack Lengyel, who came to Annapolis 1988, "it takes longer than people realize to turn things around.
"What we need is the continuity of having a coach for eight or 10 years. The coaches we had [Gary Tranquill and Elliot Uzelac] were not successful, so we had to make changes.
"George Chaump [the first Navy coach hired by Lengyel] is a hell of a coach, and the kids love him. But George is only into his sophomore year of recruiting here. It's too early to judge his program."
Navy immortal and former Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach told radio color man Ted Patterson at halftime, with the score 33-0, that he still sees "something in this team that is going to result in some good wins this year." But then Roger always did have better eyesight than most of us.
A Virginia victory was expected. Total annihilation of Navy was not.
Things don't figure to get a lot better for Navy this week. The
Middies play Saturday afternoon at Boston College. B.C. is coming off a 49-0 win over Northwestern, which was only down 14-7 at halftime against Notre Dame the week before (but lost to the Irish, 42-7).
* Coach Mark Duffner left Holy Cross with a 20-game winning streak. As head coach there for six years, he won 92 percent of his games (60-5-1). But after two games at Maryland he's 0-2 with losses to Virginia (28-15) and North Carolina State (14-10). When Duffner was asked how it feels to lose, he answered honestly enough: "It's different."
Maryland is still playing with tremendous emotion but that has its limits. Eventually, a team has to win.
The Terps next play Saturday at West Virginia. Unfortunately for Maryland, West Virginia seems to have found itself in a 44-6 win at Pitt over the weekend.
* Maybe the best suggestion yet to help the Orioles' Cal Ripken out of his batting slump comes from Murray Weiman, the scout who signed Al Kaline out of Southern High for Detroit in 1953.
Says Weiman: "Ripken's been popping up and down like a Jack-in-the-box all year. You can't hit that way."
* In a panel sports discussion at J. Patrick's in Locust Point the other day, local boxing promoter Stu Satosky made an interesting point about John Unitas' attending a pep rally in Charlotte out of his friendship for Jerry Richardson.
Said Satosky: "Richardson is some friend. He put John in a terrible position. Either John could turn down the invitation and disappoint an old friend, or he could accept it and cause some people to think John was favoring Charlotte over Baltimore for an NFL franchise."
Those who know Unitas -- and Richardson has known him since they were Colts teammates in '59 -- understand that the loyal Johnny U. places a high premium on friendship. He would do anything to help a true friend.