Time to step up, Terrapin Nation
So you’re mad that Maryland got stiffed in the bowl selection process? You’re mad the third place team in the ACC was relegated to the bowl with the eighth selection among ACC teams? You have every right to be, and I’m just as upset as you are. But I don’t agree with the blogs and comments from fans saying they won’t attend the Military Bowl as some sort of protest against the selection process or that it’s so close to home, or any number of reasons you could pull out of a hat.
While it’s tough not to be upset about being passed over by the Champs Sports Bowl and just about every other bowl known to man, the bowl committees were not exactly wrong. Sure, based on record, Maryland deserved to have bowls knocking down the door with invitations.
But the reality is, as a fan base, we did not support our football team as we should have. This season, we carried a sub-par 72.5% attendance rate at Byrd. For comparisons sake, N.C. State blew us away, averaging a whopping 98.7% attendance rate. I’m sorry, but that’s pitiful. As a bowl official trying to make money, while still putting a quality product on the field, which team would you have selected? As much as it pains me, it’s tough to say the Terps without being biased.
The proximity of bowl game the Terps were selected to play in stinks for the team, but not necessarily the fans. For the team, it has to be deflating. To give everything you have every Saturday in hopes of an ACC Championship and/or warm weather bowl game only to be told you have to spend your vacation at home is rough.
But for fans, this isn’t a bad scenario. Sure, we’re upset that it’s not in warm weather and our program isn’t getting the recognition it deserves. But in the tough economic times that we are in, what’s so wrong with only having to take one day off of work, take the Metro, and spend money only on tickets, food, and maybe a hat and sweatshirt? Sure it will be cold, but 2:30 during the day is more than bearable. If you can’t take off from work, I get that and don’t fault you for it. But if you can, put on a couple layers and support the Terps; they deserve at least that much.
We might not have had the foresight to support our team during the regular season, but we have an opportunity to make up for our regular-season disappearing act. The Terps deserve our support, especially the seniors. They have worked hard and improved by leaps and bounds from last year, besting their 2009 record by six wins so far. This team also features multiple post-season award winners. And it shouldn’t be a bad game, with ECU having one of the top offenses in the country and an equally terrible defense.
If that’s not enough for you, a portion of the money made by the Military Bowl will be donated to the USO. What could be better than supporting the Terps and the troops all at the same time?
Ultimately, what some are failing to realize is that if we don’t want the Terps to be in this position again, we have to change. Maryland will be relegated to bowls on the same level as the Military Bowl year after year unless we start supporting this team. Great programs are built upon a base of great fans, and this area and these fans have limitless potential to be a tremendous fan base. Penn State, Ohio State, Florida and all of the other traditional powerhouse programs have exceptional fan bases that turn out for every home game and bowl game, regardless of opponent or location.
It’s time to put up or shut up Terp fans. I’m not blaming you for being upset, but our fanhood is being questioned people. Every bowl committee associated with an ACC team is calling us out. NC State head coach Tom O’Brien says the reason that N.C. State passed us by was because they “have fans.” The East Carolina fan base is gloating about how RFK is going to be filled with purple. Even Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen and athletic director Kevin Anderson are, essentially begging us to show up.
If you’re okay with having your fanhood questioned, then I’m not sure what to tell you (nothing I can write on the Washington Post anyways.) But I’m not okay with it, and I will be at RFK wearing red, hopefully surrounded by more than 10,000 of my closest friends.
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