Kickoff in the Capital

With all the craziness I had going on in Labor Day, I failed to discuss one of the leisurely activities that I'm interested in... kicking back and watching a good game of (American) football.

As we all know, the NFL kicks off its 2010 season tomorrow. And, for those of you who have followed this blog since it's inception, you would know that I am a serious Washington Redskins fan. However, I will not be talking about my thoughts on the NFL Season, nor the Washington Redskins in this particular entry. We have tomorrow's entry for that. Instead, I will be offering up a few thoughts as it relates to the College Football Season, mainly because we had two marquee matchups locally here in the DC area in Labor Day.

Many are aware that I am a University of Maryland alumni. And on Labor Day, the Terrapins were embroiled in a huge rivalry game against the Navy Midshipmen. They had a good in-state rivalry going since 1905, and their series have been deemed as "The Crab Bowl" classic. The rivalry has settled down over the last few decades, as controversies between the programs have separated them both. It used to be a frequent meeting early in the 20th century, but before Monday, the last time they played each other was in 2005 (and before that, 40 years earlier in 1965). This past Monday, their rivalry was renewed as they played in Baltimore.

I had plans of attending this game, however I wasn't able to. But, I was still able to catch it, and more importantly, enjoy it. The game did not disappoint. The Terrapins ended up winning by a score of 17-14. And although it was a rather sloppy game, I was proud that the Terrapin football team showed heart and character by allowing limited scoring and making stellar game-changing plays (despite 7 Navy red zone possessions), and knocked off QB Ricky Dobbs off the Heisman race by forcing him to turn the ball over a couple of times, and getting a crucial defensive goal line stand on to seal the game. The game had my heart racing in the last couple of minutes, and I certainly wasn't disappointed with the result. It was a hard earned win for the Terrapins.

It was apparent in this game that the Terrapins aren't the most talented team, and probably has a long way to go if they're serious about competing in the ACC, but this was an extremely important win. This win was against a quality Navy team who won 10 games last year, made up of disciplined young men who will one day be serving our country. That same year, this Terps team lost 10 games. This win can possibly set the tone for the rest of the year. And even though this game was sloppy, this game can serve as a great building block to correct whatever mistakes they have and help turn the program around from a dismal 2009.

But all-in-all, I do hope they make this rivalry series more frequent (considering the Annapolis touchdown club has recently just made a trophy for this game). For now, it may be too much to ask that they make this rivalry an every-year home-at-home series (although, I do hope that it eventually happens), but if they play this game every couple of years on a neutral site like Baltimore or Landover, both organizations can benefit, and I believe it will please many in-state fans.

The second football game took place later that evening, pitting the non-BCS Boise State Broncos and the Hokies of Virginia Tech (representing the BCS-conference of the ACC). This game had national title implications, as the winner would have strong national championship aspirations (especially if they win the rest of their games through out the year).

Admittedly, I didn't see much of this game, since I didn't really have too much rooting interest for this game. (I was switching in between this game, and watching WWE Monday Night Raw, which ironically was being held in the Verizon Center in DC). However, from what I did see, this game did not disappoint, and definitely surpassed the hype. Boise went up quickly on a fast run, Tech worked back to take the lead, and the game was decided in the last couple of possessions (which I happened to catch). In the closing minutes, Boise was down by 4, and rallied with a late touchdown to win by 3-points. It was an exciting finish, just about as exciting as the Maryland-Navy game. I would say though that the skill level and talent of these two top-10 ranked teams, and that this game had national title implications, added more to the over all quality of this game.

I will say this though, that games like this (as well as future well-contested games with two top teams playing each other that will be played throughout the season) further proves that college football needs a playoff system. This has been brought up countless times over the few years with how the BCS controversially ranks the teams. But this game will show that there will probably be many teams that will prove their case all throughout the year that they deserve to play for a National Championship, not just two team. Every major sport, college or professional, has a well-structured, tournament-style, playoff system to crown an undisputed champion, except for Div. I college football (even Division 1-AA, D2, or D3 football have their respective playoff systems). I won't get into too much into the need of a playoff system as there will be no shortage of discussion about this through out the year, but I will say that it probably would be best for the teams, the players, and the fans if it were to happen. If it does happen, I understand that it will probably not be perfect the first time around, but I'm sure it would be better than the current system they have now. 

But all in all, I am looking forward to an interesting college football season. I wish I can tell you more about the other teams, but it's a little bit harder if you don't have a rooting interest for them. All I know, is that the SEC should be as strong, as always, and that there are a lot of quality teams that will probably have a decent case for the championship come the end of the year. And if Boise State remains undefeated the whole year, I don't see why they should be left out of the conversation in favor of BCS schools who probably didn't want to play them in the first place. My main hope for this season is that the only team that I root for, the Maryland Terrapins, would have a vast improvement, so they don't have to fire Coach Friedgen. A 7-5 record with a bowl game berth should be sufficient (at least). Hopefully, that can happen, and even better, they can surpass that goal.

But, here's to a great season! Remember, NFL blog tomorrow, definitely before kickoff (and not just before midnight).


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