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.
What were the most memorable moments from the past year in Maryland athletics?
Jeff Barker: No. 1: I have this image in my head of Randy Edsall, Mark Turgeon, Brenda Frese and other Maryland coaches all assembled behind president Wallace Loh.
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It was November, and Maryland was announcing officially that it was joining the Big Ten.
I wish I could have known what all the coaches were thinking. Sure, they backed the decision to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference. But the coaches -- some more than others -- must also have been thinking that the ground was shifting beneath their feet. So much of Maryland’s identity was tied for so many years to the ACC. Your conference affiliation influences how -- and who -- you recruit. The coaches surely understand the financial motivation for the switch. But their worlds were changing, and I couldn’t help but think about the transitions that they will face heading into the new league.
No. 2: It was Oct. 20 and Brad Craddock’s 33-yard field goal attempt sailed high into the air. For a fleeting moment, it appeared Maryland was somehow going to survive losing its starting quarterback -- it lost four during the season -- and delight a homecoming crowd by beating N.C. State and remaining unbeaten in ACC play.
But in a game full of odd twists and hard hits, the cruelest hit of all for Maryland may have been when Craddock's attempt slammed into the left upright in the final seconds to preserve the Wolfpack’s 20-18 victory.
A Maryland win would have moved the Terps to within one victory of bowl eligibility with five games remaining.
But Maryland lost the rest of its games. Somehow, Craddock’s kick -- it was so close to squeezing between the uprights -- stuck with me.
No. 3: Maryland’s men’s basketball team missed the NCAA and NIT tournaments last season. Perhaps that’s why my third Maryland moment was the three-point loss to Kentucky in this season’s opener on Nov. 9 at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Sure, it was just an early-season nonconference game. Kentucky hasn’t turned out to be as good (yet) as pundits imagined.
But it felt important. Perhaps that's because it was played against a good team at a neutral site, lending it a postseason aura.
It was also a game notable for its talent -- a large contingent of NBA scouts were on hand. The game marked the debut of Maryland’s highly touted freshman class.
But I’ll also remember it for the fans. It was a loud, fun, raucous sellout crowd of Terps and Wildcat fans celebrating the beginning of a new season full of promise.
Don Markus: There haven't been too many memorable moments for either the football or men's basketball teams at Maryland in the past year, but the one that stands out to me happened at Comcast Center on Jan. 25, before the Terps were scheduled to play Duke.
It was the night the court was named for former coach Gary Williams.
The decision to name the court after Williams was then, and remains, a controversial one in the eyes (and more importantly the hearts) of many Maryland fans, especially those with an allegiance to Lefty Driesell. Initially, I was among those who believed the court should have been named in honor of both former coaches.
My opinion changed that night, the moment I saw Williams walk onto the floor in that brisk, slightly-hunched, tip-toed gait of his and give one last trademark fist pump to the adoring crowd.
Comcast Center was Garyland once again.
Had a similar honor been bestowed on Lefty years ago at Cole Field House after Driesell was forced out of College Park -- and before the court at Georgia State was named in his honor -- I would have thought the same thing. I am not sure why it didn't happen, though Driesell was honored by former athletic director Debbie Yow with a short but touching ceremony.