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Charlotte 49ers vs. Maryland Terrapins Preview

St. Frances Academy vs IMG Academy
First-Year Charlotte Coach Biff Poggi
Set Number: X163003 TK1

Date: Saturday September 9

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: SECU Stadium, College Park, MD

TV: Yes! NBC. Really.

Maryland is favored by 24.5 points. However, this game will be much more intense and chippy than you would normally expect, given the point spread. This is Charlotte’s Super Bowl. According to Ben Dickson from Inside Maryland Sports, Charlotte O-lineman Kevin Williams said Charlotte wants to “make a statement” and “it’s definitely personal.”

Why so personal? The crazy connections between the programs. These connections are 100% the result of Charlotte’s first-year Head Coach, Biff Poggi.

According to Ben Dickson of Inside Maryland Sports, twenty-nine of Charlotte’s players previously played for St. Francis Academy in Baltimore where Biff coached from 2017-2020. Charlotte OC and QB coach, Mike Miller, spent four seasons as the TE coach for Maryland. Isaiah Hazel, Zion Shockley, T. J. Butler, Joey Bearns III, Ja’Khi Green, and Austin Fontaine transferred from Maryland to Charlotte. That’s a lot of connections.

Oh. And Mike Locksley’s son, Kai Locksley, was coached by Biff when he was the coach at Gilman from 1996-2015. The other stints when not coaching high schools in Baltimore? He coached under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan.

Biff is, by far, the most interesting aspect of this game. I almost wrote a hate piece. It practically would have written itself. Wanna climb aboard the hate wagon? Here’s some red meat for ya.

· He attended the Gilman School [current tuition: $36,000. You can even send your future genius there for kindergarten for “only” $25,000. Really.]

· He attended Duke.

· His name is Biff.

· And his most unforgiveable sin: He is friends with Jim Harbaugh.

Welcome aboard.

Why do I hate him? For years and years while coaching at Gilman and St. Francis, he constantly sent his best players from these national powerhouses to Michigan, skipping right past Maryland. Maryland got the leftovers.

How did he coach two powerhouse football programs? He would pay for some of his player’s tuition and room and board.

How could he afford to do this? His father-in-law brought him aboard and started a hedge fund. Seriously.

Now, Gilman is an elite blue-blood school. St. Francis? Not even close. Biff spent his own money giving a lot of football players the opportunity to escape a life surrounded by poverty and crime. Did he directly benefit from this by bringing in so many big strong athletic kids from all over? Absolutely. He is not a saint. Or maybe just a very opportunistic saint. But it is truly a win-win. The win for the kids is way more important than the win[s] for Biff. Despite my hate being duty-bound as a Maryland fan, Biff deserves recognition for helping so many of these kids with his own money, especially while at St. Francis. Nevertheless, I’m still going to ding him for having such an elitist background [Gilman, Duke, hedge fund investor] yet his public persona is that of a stogie chompin’ construction worker who coaches in sleeveless T-shirts. This public persona is just a little disingenuous.

Anyway, the game should be more interesting and intense than most would expect. I am hoping for a complete and total annihilation of Charlotte by Maryland. Like, a “welcome to the league” moment.