Sunday, June 11, 2006

Early Crack Pipe Predictions: The Maryland Edition

First of all, I want to give a huge shout out to Vernon Davis for leaving school early! Yes, you were ready. Unfortunately, the "human sun-blocker", Jared Gaither had to come back for his sophomore year. The offensive tackle comes in at 6-9, and just a shade under a billion pounds. But, enough of the funny stuff. The Terps return 7 starters on offense and defense, from a team that went 3-5 in the ACC, and 5-6 overall. Maryland also looses it's top three wide receivers as well as Davis. According to ESPN, those four combined for 160 receptions, 2,352 yards, and 13 touchdowns. By comparison, the top returning receiver, Drew Weatherly caught 10 passes. Returning at quarterback Stan Hollenboch passed for over 2,500 yards and 13 TD's. Maryland also returns running backs Josh Allen and Lance Ball.

On defense, Maryland will need to replace linebacker D'Quell Jackson and cornerback Gerrick McPhearson. Finding new talent shouldn't be a problem, as it usually isn't at Maryland. Maryland's defensive line should be strong again with most of the starters returning.

This game could come down to a battle of weaknesses with Maryland's lack of experience at wide receiver, and WVU's lack of experience in the secondary. The biggest concern I have for this game is that it is on Thrusday the 14th of September, 5 days after WVU plays Eastern Washington. Maryland also plays 5 days earlier, so I give a slight advantage to WVU because the game is in Morgantown. Both teams are playing what should amount to warm up games.

Maryland is rarely an easy win, and of late we have been lucky to win at all. Last years game was a coming out party for the offense. And given that night games in Morgantown can be sheer hell on opposing teams, (hold on, let me hit the pipe one more time for good luck) I am looking for WVU to pull away in the second half for a 34-17 victory.

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