There’s no truth to the rumor that school officials are thinking of changing the fight song at the University of Maryland to “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
But there’s no mistaking the advanced stage of giddiness in College Park and environs over the stunning start to the 2019 football season for the Terps, who have burst from the gates in amazing fashion.
Maryland opened the season a week ago Saturday with a 79-0 thrashing of Howard. While the score may have been shocking, the outcome shouldn’t have been.
The Terps play at the highest level of college football, in an elite conference, where they are permitted to have 85 players on a full-ride scholarship.
By contrast, the Bison play at a decidedly lower level, where 65 scholarships are distributed, often in a piece-meal manner, among 100 or more athletes.
The test, supposedly, was to come this past Saturday in another Maryland Stadium contest, this one against No. 21 Syracuse, who, like Maryland, is a Football Bowl Subdivision school.
The Orange, it was said, would give the Terps a stern test, especially on defense, challenging Maryland in a way that Howard couldn’t.
Well, when the dust settled, Maryland saw the previous week’s 42-point first half and raised it with another 42-point first half on the way to a 63-20 pasting of Syracuse.
In the win, Maryland posted more points than it ever had against a ranked opponent and posted a victory over Top 25 opposition in College Park for the first time in nine years.
In the process, the Terps perhaps provided notice that something special may be afoot in a sport that has usually provided downtime on the way to basketball season.
New coach Mike Locksley is bringing offensive tendencies that help guide Alabama to the national championship game last year, if not the players themselves.
The players Locksley has, namely quarterback Josh Jackson and running back Anthony McFarlane, may not have Alabama credentials, but they appear to have enough talent to make the Terps competitive.
Jackson, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, threw for just under 300 yards and three touchdowns Saturday,, while McFarlane, a sophomore, scored three touchdowns. The immediate future may indeed be bright at Maryland.
Of course, virtually everything is bright compared to the nightmare that 2018 was for the football program in College Park, which witnessed the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair.
McNair’s death rocked the program and shook the university to its core. By season’s end, coach D.J. Durkin and one of his assistants were fired, university President Wallace Loh was forced to leave, then retained.
The training and medical programs were revamped, and all parties pledged to do things differently with Locksley promising a more relaxed atmosphere. So far, things are great.
But this is early September. The Terps have meetings with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State still to come. By November, the warmth of the first two weeks might be a distant memory.
But, for a change in College Park, that memory will be a pleasant one.
And that’s how I see it for this week. You can reach us via email with your questions and