The following week Syracuse will be playing No. 6-ranked Florida at the Carrier Dome. There's a good chance the Orange will be looking past Maryland and ahead to a game that could improve its No. 22 ranking.
Keeping his Orange football team focused on unranked Maryland could be difficult for first-year Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni. If he's not able to do it, the Orange will bow to the 5 1/2 -point underdog Terps.
Looking ahead will be no problem for Maryland. Coach Joe Krivak never places more emphasis on one game than another.
"This Syracuse game," Krivak says, "is our second game. It's no more than that. It's not a measuring stick or anything else. And after this game we have nine more."
Nevertheless, if Maryland can beat Syracuse it will place a whole new light on the season.
Going in, a lot of people thought the Terps might have been facing an 0-3 start. But with a win over Syracuse and with West Virginia, which is down this year, coming to Maryland next week, the Terps could get off to a 3-0 start.
* ORANGE CRUSH: Everybody knows that Krivak is going against his alma mater this week. He was a lineman at Syracuse when the great Jim Brown played. Krivak graduated in 1957.
But Krivak is not the only Terp facing his old school in this one. Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger graduated from Syracuse '61.
A couple people have asked me what Geiger played at Syracuse. Guess, I told them. One man said, "Big guy like Andy, he must have been an offensive lineman." Said another: "Basketball forward." Geiger's sport at Syracuse was crew.
The Terp-Orange game also will be a sort of homecoming for someone else from Syracuse. Last month S.U. installed as its chancellor Dr. Kenneth A. Shaw, who was a vice president for academic affairs for eight years at Towson State in the '70s.
Known to all on the Towson campus as "Buzz," the popular Shaw, once an athlete at Southern Illinois, played shirts vs. skins basketball every day at lunchtime with Dr. James L. Fisher, then Towson's president, and a bunch of students. Shaw plans to attend tomorrow night's game and to visit with Fisher, now an educational consultant based in the Washington area.
* SIGN LANGUAGE: If people try to tell you today's college athletes are too satisfied to buy all that rah-rah stuff that worked for coaches in the old days, don't believe them.
Listen to Jim Sandwisch, Maryland's quarterback, describe what happened last Friday night on the eve of the opener with #F Virginia:
"Coach Eisaman [quarterbacks coach Jerry Eisaman] told us to look up at the sign in Bryd Stadium that says 'Home of the Terrapins.' He said every letter in the word Terrapins stood for something that would help us to win the game.
"He said, 'It's going to be hot and you're going to get tired, and when you do, look up at that sign and pick a letter. T stands for tough, E for effort, R for respect, R for reckless, and so on. That's what I did and it helped me. Some of the other guys said it helped them, too. It really did help us to beat Virginia."
* TOUGH SCHEDULE: A lot of people -- particularly some who coveted his job -- were watching with interest as Towson State basketball coach Terry Truax flirted with the Southwest Conference for a position as assistant commissioner/director of basketball operations. Truax withdrew early this week.
By Jan. 27 Terry may be yearning for the SWC. At that point Truax's team will have played 16 games -- only three of them at home (Lehigh, Washington College, American U.) That's brutal.
* MUSIC TO THE EARS: I'm glad the Orioles are staging Colt Day at the stadium Sunday before the ballgame with Cleveland, not because we've never seen John Unitas, Jim Parker and Art Donovan before, but because the crowd will see something it has never seen -- the biggest, best Baltimore Colts band ever.
The band not only has stayed together since the team fled in '84; it has played many performances at pro games throughout the NFL. The Colts band played at the Hall of Fame Game at Canton this summer.
"In pre-game ceremonies," says Colts Band president John Ziemann, "we're going to march on the stadium field for the first time since the Colt-Jet game in '83, we'll play the Colt fight song and then form a tunnel for the former players to come through. It's going to bring back a lot of memories for everybody."