Thursday, September 14, 2006

Quick Preview: Maryland-West Virginia

Tonight
Maryland (2-0) at West Virginia (2-0), 7:45pm ET
After Ralph Friedgen played Steve Spurrier to Rich Rodriguez's Phil Fulmer in each of their first 4 seasons as skippers at their respective alma-maters (both were hired in 2001), Rodriguez has claimed the upper hand in the last two meetings, a 19-16 OT win in 2004 and a come from behind 31-19 closer-than-the-score-indicates victory in 2005. Prior to that, Friedgen unleashed hell on the Mountaineers to the tune of 32-20 in '01, 48-17 in '02, 34-7 in '03 and 41-7 in that season's Gator Bowl rematch. Alas, for Ralphie and his turtles, the mojo in this series has flipped decidedly into the couch-burner camp.

Both clubs have warmed up on lightweights, with West Virginia dominating Marshall and Eastern Washington by a combined score of 94-13 while Maryland turned in more workmanlike performances against William & Mary and Middle Tennessee. Simply put, the Mountaineers are flat-out more talented and explosive, something the Terps look unable to contain. And lastly, the Terps aren't so good at the football on Thursday nights, losing their last 4 appearances on that day by a combined score of 120-31, which leads me to believe that the Fridge has a wee bit o' trouble preparing in a short week. This certainly doesn't look to be one the best of Fridge's teams, while West Virginia is definitely one of the best opponents he's ever faced in his tenure in College Park. Not tonight, Ralphie.

The Pick: West Virginia 38, Maryland 17


Tonight's forecast in Morgantown calls for the unbearable stench of scorched, beer-soaked cloth upholstery

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