Baltimore Sun reporters Jeff Barker and Don Markus and editor Matt Bracken weigh in on the three biggest topics of the past week in Maryland sports.
Maryland’s 2015 Big Ten football schedule is set to be released Monday. What do you anticipate?
Jeff Barker: I know what Maryland is anticipating – a full spread of marquee home games presenting the opportunity for multiple sellouts.
This is a major reason why Maryland joined the Big Ten.
I don’t know the precise schedule yet. But consider that Maryland plays Penn State and Michigan on the road in 2014. Since the Wolverines and Nittany Lions are in Maryland’s division, both schools would be due to appear at Byrd Stadium in 2015.
Maryland also plays at Wisconsin – which is in the other division – in 2014. So it seems likely the Badgers would also land in College Park in 2015.
With the exception of Penn State – which dominated Maryland in a series that ended in 1993 – the Terps don’t have much history with these opponents.
But they’re big names. The hope and belief around College Park is that these matchups will generate sellouts and buzz.
“We’re excited about the divisions as they’ve broken out,” said Nathan Pine, deputy director of athletics. Also in Maryland's division: Ohio State, Michigan State, Rutgers and Indiana.
“At the end of the day, it’s that storied football program. It’s that history and tradition that some of those schools carry with them. It’s the name recognition,” Pine said.
Pine said men’s basketball is also adding some bigger names to its nonconference schedule. The Terps are expected to host Oregon State and Tulsa in the upcoming season.
Is the ACC trying to punish Maryland – and its fans – with the way the schedules for men’s and women’s basketball were made for the upcoming season?
Don Markus: You would think there are too many variables in play for the ACC to give the Terps a tougher road schedule and their fans a less interesting home slate for their final year before moving to the Big Ten.
But after the women’s schedule was released earlier this week, it clearly points more to conspiracy to computer machinations.
How else do you explain the fact that the Maryland women won’t host Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State for the first time in more than 30 years, not to mention Virginia, but have to play at all those schools.
The only big draw at home for the women is Notre Dame. The Maryland athletic department is going to have to get pretty creative trying to find a way to attract fans for a schedule that doesn’t include the Blue Devils, Tar Heels, Wolfpack or Cavaliers.
Mark Turgeon’s team might not have as big a complaint, but still it’s pretty obvious that the ACC is not exactly bringing any parting gifts to this going-away party. I expected last year’s Duke game at Comcast Center to be the last, but to have neither Duke nor Carolina takes away something for the fans.
You also have to wonder about the ACC-Big Ten draw for the men’s team. I figured the Terps would get a home game against a second-division team such as Nebraska, yet instead find themselves going on the road for the second time in as many years.
I think playing at Ohio State gives Maryland to put something on its resume early in the season, but I’m sure Turgeon would have preferred getting the Buckeyes at Comcast Center rather than in Columbus. Again, there’s very little in it for the fans.
Memo to ACC commissioner John Swofford: the fans had nothing to do with Maryland’s move to the Big Ten. In fact, there are many longtime fans I know who still haven’t accepted it. But that is not what college sports are about. It’s all about the money, as Wallace Loh stated when explaining taking the Terps out of the ACC last fall.
The folks in Greensboro have apparently answered in kind.
But at least the Terps are finally playing a Baltimore team, Morgan State, in late November.
I’m sure Maryland fans are fired up about that.
What’s the latest in the recruitment of Kai Locksley?
Matt Bracken: I caught up with the son of Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley after a Nike Baltimore Elite practice last week at Baltimore City Community College. Kai Locksley, a rising junior at Gilman, is currently playing up a level with Nike Elite’s 17-and-under squad.
“It’s going real well, trying to manage both basketball and football, so it’s been a little bit of a transition,” Locksley said. “Playing up and then playing in a league like the EYBL, it’s a real different type of basketball, real competitive.”
In his first game of the EYBL session in Los Angeles last month, Locksley put up 17 points and 15 rebounds. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound wing averaged 12 points during that first session. His numbers have gone down a bit since then, but the Greyhounds star has done enough to draw mid-major attention, most recently from Tulsa.
While Locksley acknowledged that it’s nice to have a “fallback plan” in basketball, football remains his No. 1 sport in terms of accomplishment and college interest. He played wide receiver for the MIAA A Conference-champion Greyhounds last fall, but is expected to switch to quarterback as a junior with the graduation of future Terp QB Shane Cockerille.
Locksley said he has offers from Florida State, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Temple.
“A couple schools actually offered me as an athlete because they’ve seen what I can do as a receiver but they want to see what I can do at quarterback now, so they’re just waiting based on how I do this season,” he said.
Thanks to his father’s coaching career, Locksley has lived in Florida, Illinois, New Mexico and now Maryland again. He wouldn’t be opposed to going to college in “a nice hot area,” but acknowledged that he “can definitely get acclimated to wherever.”
Locksley will be/already is a priority recruit for Maryland and a host of other major football programs. The Terps can obviously play the family card, but Locksley said his father is playing the recruitment straight so far.
“He actually doesn’t put too much pressure on me,” Locksley said. “He’s not much of a pressure guy, but he definitely holds me to high standards.”