Somehow, Maryland Week has left me more exhausted than it should.
DJ has been killing it, telling you what to expect in Terps football, giving you profiles of the new Maryland coaching staff, and throwing us all the red meat of another disappointing season in Maryland basketball.
But today? Today we see just how early basketball season starts in the minds of Terrapin fans, as we ask whether the Terps can keep football relevant into November.
Question #1: Time for Cake and Punch
But first! When Maryland goes for something—a flag, a dessert—it sure goes all out.
Take, for example, the Smith Island cake:
The state dessert of Maryland, the Smith Island cake is...well, pretty simple, really: 8-12 layers of yellow cake and chocolate fudge.
That said, panel: Is it needlessly complicated? What’s your local, go-to cake?
LPW: I love Chocolate cake. Chocolate through and through.
DJ: MNW, I’ve seen you take out the Chessie, don’t pretend like you wouldn’t try to pummel that Smith Island cake.
Jesse: That looks absurdly good. A great yellow cake just always has the right density to me and with chocolate? Well, I’m sold. I don’t care if there’s an incredibly unnecessary amount of chocolate fudge either. The reality is I’d be all-in on this cake. Dammit, now I want cake.
As for cakes in Nebraska, the interweb tells me it’s Apple Cake, which I’ve had but never really thought “oh, sure, this is Nebraskan”. I guess it’s probably rooted in the whole Nebraska City apple thing. Weird. Wait, what are we talking about? Can we go back to that Smith Island Cake? How do I get that?
WSR: Can we count Tiramisu as a cake? Because it’d be either that or just plain old coffee cake. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to run to a nearby bakery and get some coffee cake right now before I talk about how I would absolutely eat that beast of a cake from Maryland.
Creighton: Every single cake listed here is inferior to ice cream cake. Why would you waste money and calories on a cake that Isn’t made of ice cream? In fact I’ll double down and say we need more baked goods replaced with ice cream (don’t you dare act like you’re above eating ice cream donuts for breakfast). Carvel cakes are fine, but if you can find a local place that makes their own ice cream cake I can promise you it’s going to knock the socks off of your old friend Cookiepuss.
MNW: FIRST. DJ. Never again. I don’t think I pooped for like, 3 days after eating the Chessie. (Just kidding I’ll totally do it again; peer pressure works, kids.)
SECOND. This cake looks like one that has all the trappings of something I’d enjoy, but get annoyed with when it falls apart the moment I sink a fork into it. THAT’S TOO MANY LAYERS, MARYLAND.
THIRD. Minnesota is known for Bundt cakes, having invented the goddamn pan at Nordic Ware Company back after Jewish immigrants brought the Gugelhupf style of cake to America—and added the “t” to “Bund” to not be associated with Nazis. You’re welcome.
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Sure, I’d eat the Smith Island cake! Looks delicious!
YOU’RE DOING TOO MUCH, MARYLAND
I’m going to offer some bullshit opinion about pie vs. cake that NO ONE IS ASKING FOR.
Question #2: PREDICTIONS
Lookit this schedule...
...and tell me there’s not a real chance that Maryland’s a 3-win team.
DJ: Howard, Temple, Rutgers, Indiana, Minnesota. Beat one of Syracuse or Penn State to go bowling, preferably both. Maryland fans still need to thank Dino Babers still for ending Randy Edsall in College Park.
Maryland still has the talent that Durkin recruited, he had multiple Top 30 classes in a row, so if Locksley can capitalize on that they could potentially take advantage of some younger teams like Penn State and at least make it interesting (see Illinois last year for Penn State before 42 unanswered). Keandre Jones and Shaq Smith will inject some real talent into the MD LB corps to replace Tre Watson. I expect we see Antoine Brooks in a SS type role, which will maximize him reeking havoc, while Deon Jones is set to takeover for Darnell Savage after his departure to the NFL Draft.
The Big question mark is the DL, and I’m not really sure what to say there other than there are some big bodies that were recruited where its time to step up. Locksley must feel good about it because Austin Fontaine has been moved to guard on the OL where he is pressing to start and he was pressing for PT as a true freshman at DT last year.
Jesse: I’ve always been a huge advocate for your obvious wins to be at home and obvious losses to be away for a season to really work in your favor.
This season doesn’t look like it’ll be one of those… I see Maryland as favorites against Howard, @Rutgers, and maybe Indiana? Maybe? From there it is dicey. They’ll be dogs against Syracuse and probably @Temple if the Owls don’t start out flat in Rod Carey’s first season there. That stretch from the time the conference season starts to the end of the year is really not doing them any favors.
Anyhow, sign me up for 4 wins somehow, with one of Michigan, OSU, Nebraska, or MSU being taken down (I really don’t want it to be Nebraska, but it’s going to be Nebraska). I guess they’ll go 2-1 in non-con and also beat Rutgers? Ugh, none of this is fantastic.
WSR: The talent is there, the coaching is not. I get the impression that a Brewsterian coaching staff will produce some TREMENDOUS Brewsterian results. 3 wins. Howard, Temple (I HOPE!), Rutgers, and a whole lot of “WELL WAIT UNTIL LOCKSLEY GETS HIS GUYS IN.” Godspeed, Turtlebros.
Creighton: Ok, you can count Howard, Temple, and ‘Gers. After that I think they get either Minnesota or Indiana, followed by one of Purdue, Sparty, and Nebraska. Embarrassing results in the rest of the games. We got a new Team Chaos.
MNW: Wait...Rod Carey took the Temple job?! Why is this the first I’m hearing of it?! His white-bread bullshit won’t last three years in Philly unless he goes full Collins and starts talking like a mook obsessed with being Temple Tuff.
On the whole, though...I think this is a rebuild, as Locksley gets his feet back under him in the world of coaching and sees just how big a deficit the Terps have to overcome in Big Ten football. This could easily be a 1-2 team when conference play rolls around, as Dino Babers’ offense can (and probably should) rip their old ACC foes’ defense to shreds; Temple’s no pushover, either, as Carey should offer some identity continuity.
From there? Maryland gets the free space of Rutgers, but nothing else is a given. I like the Terps to trip up one of Indiana or Purdue, but I’m not holding my breath. Give me a disappointing 3-9 (2-7).
In the Big Ten, Maryland goes...
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5-4 or better
How does Maryland finish overall?
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2-10 or worse
8-4 or better