Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday Smorgasbord 11-5

  • The Terps went and did it again. This time they took down Clemson 13-12 in South Carolina yesterday. The Terps were once again out gained everywhere but where it matters most, on the scoreboard. The Terps bend but don't break defense kept Clemson out of the end zone and Dan Ennis' field goal as time expired won it for the Terps. Now at 7-2, the Terps are firmly in the driver's seat for the Atlantic Division title and their season finale on November 25th vs. Wake Forest looms large as the game which decides who goes to Jacksonville. Also Maryland finally earned some respect, the Terps are ranked for the first time since 2003 entering the AP Poll at 23 and the Coaches' Poll at 24 putting them 23rd in the BCS Standings.
  • One thing about yesterday's win that still upsets me is the reversal of safety call in the fourth quarter after Erin Henderson stripped Clemson quarterback Wil Proctor at the Clemson 16 yard line. Instant replay was created to make sure that the calls are made correctly. However, much like the infamous Oregon-Oklahoma debacle earlier this year, instant replay got the call outrageously wrong. If the replay officials had an angle that TV did not, it is incumbent upon the ACC to release the angle that provided the indisputable video evidence that overturned the call. Two years ago, one game official personally botched three calls that cost Maryland the game. That official was suspended by the ACC, his crew was removed from all remaining games with Maryland (they were scheduled to work three more Maryland games that year), and the official in question was fired after the season. The same fate should befall the replay crew from this past Saturday at Clemson. The fact that Maryland went on to win the game anyway should not mitigate the fact that instant replay failed miserably in this case.
  • And speaking of last second field goals by Maryland Terrapins, Nick Novak kicked a 47 yard field goal with no time left on the clock to beat Dallas 22-19. It was the third field goal attempt in the final minute of play and the only one to be successful. Novak missed a 49 yard attempt earlier but came through in his second chance. The circumstances for his redemptive chance were bizarre to say the least. However, in the history of the Redskins-Cowgirls rivalry, bizarre circumstances are the norm. Remember when the Redskins recovered a Dallas fumble in their end zone that the officials couldn't find? Now at 3-5 the Redskins remain upon life support. While they should be happy with the win, they should be concerned about having 7 plays inside the ten on their opening drive and couldn't get the ball into the endzone. Just what in the world is T.J. Duckett doing on this team?
  • Last night the Caps and Bullets won and as mentioned already, the Terps and Redskins picked up big wins as well this weekend. But alas, into every life a little bit of rain must fall, and since the Nationals are in the off-season, it was D.C. United who came up short today, losing 1-0 to New England in the Eastern Conference Finals. Back in July I said that it would be a HUGE disappointment if D.C. United did not win it's 5th MLS Cup title and I still believe that is the case. Of the three titles that United was on track to win, they only got the Supporter's Shield and that was won largely on the strength of their great start. I also noted that as goes Alecko Eskandarian, so did United. Well, Esky got hurt late in the season and never recovered his form. D.C. played a good game and did everything right except for the finishing. Personally, I think this loss stings worse than last year's 4-0 debacle at the hands of Chicago in the first round.
  • The guys over at The DCenters disagree but I have to think that Mike Wise's call for coach Peter Nowak's head is on target. Nowak is a known taskmaster and those coaches burn out their players quicker than any other. But I think back to the end of the Caps' disastrous 1996-1997 season. The Caps playoff streak ended and it was a forgone conclusion that David "Bud" Poile was going to be fired. But (Com)Post columnist Jennifer Frey wrote a column outlining the case against the Caps taskmaster coach at that time, Jim Schoenfeld. Schoeny was shown the door after Poile and current Caps GM George McPhee came on board and brought Ron Wilson with him. The Caps ended up in the Stanley Cup Finals that next season. D.C. could very well benefit just the same from a change of pace on the bench. Where Schoeny and Poile were the victims of mediocrity, Novak though would be the victim of success. D.C. United isn't the most successful team in the MLS for nothing and losing the Eastern Conference Title at home when you posted the best record during the regular season calls for change in my book.
  • One last note on D.C. United as we close the book on this season, personally, Freddy Adu cannot get off of this team quick enough. Freddy is considered the future of American soccer and if that is the case, U.S. soccer does not have a very bright future. Freddy is still very, very immature and I can't imagine his going to Europe is going to change that. Comcast SportsNet this morning was looking back at the epic game that D.C. and New England played in 2004 and Freddy commented how he wished he had started that game. He reminds me of Andre Collins (who?) from Maryland who was a freshman on the 2002 National Championship team. Collins was quoted after season as wishing that he played more instead of sitting behind such scrubs as Steve Blake and Juan Dixon. Ok, he didn't call Blake and Dixon scrubs but you get my point. I wouldn't be surprised if Freddy's attitude and shameless self-promotion is a problem in the locker room. Add in one taskmaster coach that the kid doesn't get along with, and you've got the makings of a poisonous atmosphere.
  • This week, the Caps are home tomorrow night facing the Ottawa Senators, they then take a trip to Carolina on Thursday night before hosting the Rangers on Saturday. All three games this week start at 7:05 pm. The Terps men's basketball team starts their season with the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Tuesday night vs. Hampton. Win or lose they will be right back at it on Wednesday night playing either Vermont or New Orleans and they will host Florida A&M on Sunday in an old-fashioned non-conference game with all three being played at the Comcast Center. The Terp women will raise their banner next Sunday when they host George Mason before the men play Florida A&M. The Terps football team hosts Miami on Saturday kicking off at 3:30 pm for an ABC regional telecast. The Redskins are in Philadelphia facing the Iggles next Sunday at 1 pm.
  • As always, please send all comments, questions, corrections, suggestions, criticisms, and election predictions to "capsnut" over at gmail dot com. I've got a busy week ahead of me so maybe I'll get around to reading what you send over my Thanksgiving vacation.

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