With a 3-3 start to the season, a 1-2 record in conference play, and a win needed against the Indiana Hoosiers, I decided to head to College Park to cover the Maryland Terrapins for this week’s edition.
The game had it all for a small Big Ten game. I saw leads switch back and forth,, amazing rushing performances including a career day from Javon Leake, and a thrilling end. But the biggest thing I took away from the whole Maryland experience was the culture and atmosphere around the university itself. While many might think the University of Maryland has a great football culture, I unfortunately did not witness such. So why is that?
The University of Maryland is home to many inspiring teams, the notable ones being men’s soccer and men’s and women’s lacrosse. The one sport the school is not great at is — you guessed it — football. I saw a small crowd of fans at the game with most leaving by halftime. Why doesn’t Maryland have sold out crowds? Why are they not succeeding in football?
For starters, Maryland doesn’t win. The Terps did not appear in a bowl game last season, and it doesn’t look like they will this year either. This automatically makes players not want to come to the school, which is dreadful for team recruitment and performance. Another thing is the Big Ten. There are so many incredible schools in the conference, but the main issue for me is the geographic location of Maryland’s opponents. Do you expect a student to be excited for a Northwestern versus Maryland football game? I honestly can’t blame them for saying no. When Maryland played Duke, UNC, and NC State in football, they were exciting and relevant games that students could actually attend.
While I could sit here and complain about the atmosphere around College Park, there are some positive aspects I can take away from the game. Indiana started off very strong, but Mike Locksley and company found a way to stay in the game and kept it close all the way through. A career day from Maryland LB Chance Campbell, who recorded 10 tackles and a good performance by Dante Demus Jr, made it a pretty good day.
Maryland football and College Park in general, can be an amazing experience. But there are many things that still upset many fans including me. Despite the issues with the atmosphere, this Terps team is often fun to watch, and should be a team to follow now and into the future.