February 28, 2009

2 years and still standing...

Well gang, we've made it to our second anniversary. Which, according to Emily Post, is the "cotton" anniversary. You can tell some of us are married now.

Back on February 28, 2007, Brien kicked us off with this post with some video of horrific basketball injuries, J-Red followed with this post detailing drama with a Duke-loving then-girlfriend's sister, and Jeremy finished up the day with this post, an egomaniacal introduction to himself.

Now, we're two years later. We've continued to crank out an average of over a post a day, and we've enjoyed literally hundreds of thousands of visitors to our blog over the past year. While most of these visitors have come from the United States, we'd like to thank our 39 visitors from Iran (which likely has landed us on a watchlist somewhere), our 2 visitors from Madagascar (yes, this is an actual country, not just the title of an animated movie), our 12 visitors from the Sudan (um, free Darfur or something like that), and our 1 visitor from the country that Homer Simpson thought was a made-up country, Burkina Faso. You know what, we'll just shut up with sarcastic comments about countries, and simply say we've had visitors from 181 countries this past year. Hooray for Google Analytics which lets us track this crazy shit.

We'd all like to take a few moments to thank a few people who have linked to us or otherwise helped us out: Yardbarker, Deadspin, Dan Steinberg's Washington Post DC Sports Bog, CNN-SI's Extra Mustard, and The Big Lead. There's many more of you out there, and just know that we appreciate your links and your support.

Bottom line is this... we do this as a hobby. Three of us try to be gainfully employed and the fourth is finishing up his doctoral dissertation (and will likely soon make more than the other three of us combined). So sure, there are times when we get writer's block or we just don't really feel like getting to a computer and writing coherently on a cool topic, or we really just hit busy times in our personal and professional lives and our blog contributions pay the price. When we hit these times, we're kept going by all of you, who we want to save our thanks for last... each and every one of our readers. Nobody ever wants to feel like they are writing for an audience of none, and as we've grown over these two years, we know that we do have at least a few readers, and that you do visit us and hope to see some fresh content. Your comments on the blog, our interactions with you, and knowing that you are out there, keep us going.

So thanks everyone, keep commenting, keep bookmarking us in your Google Reader, keep subscribing to our Facebook page, and above all, just keep visiting, and if you ever have an idea for a post or just want to say hi, we're at [email protected].


February 27, 2009

Ravens Make a Great Signing

The Ravens opened up their free agent signing period today with one brilliantly bright spot aside from the gloom of likely losing Ray-Ray and Bart Scott to the Cowboys and Jets, respectively. They were able to sign free agent cornerback, hometown boy, ex-Maryland Terrapin, and incredible all-around-person Domonique Foxworth to a 4-year $27.2 million contract, with over $16 million guaranteed.

Foxworth grew up in Baltimore County, went to high school in Catonsville, and has talked openly about rooting for the Ravens since they arrived in Baltimore when he was 13. In today's Baltimore Sun, he sums up his feelings for Baltimore in a way that will make all Ravens' fans hearts beat a little faster... "When the Ravens got here [in 1996], automatically we gravitated to them, just like most of the city has because they are a hard-nosed, blue-collar team just like this city is... To finally be able to come back and be apart of it is great."

Beyond being a great cover corner for his size, Foxworth is just a stand-up guy. Those of us who became familiar with him during his playing days at Maryland knew this long before he was taken in the third round of the 2005 draft by the Broncos. He's respected by his peers, having been elected to the Executive Committee of the NFL Players Association. He's been one of the most active NFL players with the United Way. He funded the building of a boys and girls club in Denver, at which he later taught a writing course. He's been named the recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award by the Denver Broncos, honoring his community service.

So let me put it bluntly... today the Ravens spent $27.2 million on Domonique Foxworth who is barely known and is an underrated great person and player. The Redskins spent $55 million on DeAngelo Hall, who is largely known for being an overrated scumbag.

Yes, today is yet another reason why this Redskins fan is slightly jealous of the Baltimore Ravens.

NFL Free Agent Season Indicates Owners Don't Anticipate a Cap

The Redskins signed DT Albert Haynesworth for seven years, $100M ($41M guaranteed) and kept CB DeAngelo Hall with a six year, $54M deal ($22.5M guaranteed). Both are either going to be maroon and black fixtures, or crippling salary cap disasters.

Assuming there is a salary cap.

Lost in the typical free agent buzz is the fact that owners, for the first time since the salary cap was first instituted, are not playing under the same rules. Wealthy teams and owners, like Jerry Jones' Cowboys and Danny Snyder's Redskins, know that they will have a competitive advantage in an uncapped year.

That's all fine and understandable, until you remember that the owners are the ones who vote on whether to approve a new collective bargaining agreement. Guess what? It takes a 75% supermajority, 24 owners, to approve a new CBA.

In 2006, when this disastrous agreement was approved, two clubs voted against it. Those two clubs were the low-budget Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills.

Picture this scenario - the high-budget teams do not want a new CBA so they can dominate in an uncapped NFL. The low-budget teams consider the current system untenable and will hold out for something that can make them compete. The teams in the middle will probably want the most reasonable solution. It only takes a total of 9 teams on the two extremes to stalemate the negotiating process.

Oh yeah, and the NFL has an untested Commissioner in Roger Goodell when it comes to labor issues. And the NFLPA has a power vacuum following the death of Gene Upshaw last year. How on Earth could this possibly end well?

When the stuff hits the fan around this time next year, think back to this day. This was the day the haves decided to bet against the NFL.

Duke Postmortem - Gary is a Great Coach

I'm not going to repeat all the excellent post-game analysis I found at Testudo Times, Shell Games, and elsewhere, but I did want to make one point:

I know I keep going back to Gary's coaching, but the job he did this week was nothing short of amazing.  We had back-to-back games against top 10 opponents and the team played two of their best games of the season.  Not only that, but they used entirely different strategies in the two games.  The Terps aren't good enough to dictate the style of play to their opponents, so they have to adapt.  

Against UNC, Maryland played a lot of perimiter offense and relied on hitting jump shots against a bigger Tar Heels team.  On defense, we threw all our big men at Hansbrough and held him to 10 points, even though most of our front court fouled out.  

In the Duke game, the Terps looked like a totally different team.  Especially in the first half, Maryland showed no interest in taking 3-point shots instead concentrating on cuts to the basket and dribble-drive penetration against a smaller Duke team.  On defense, the Terps spread the court (even playing some zone) and trusted Milbourne and Neal to handle Duke's less athletic big men.

The Duke strategy wouldn't have worked against UNC and vice versa.  I think it's a sign of a great coach that he puts his players in a position to win no matter who the opponent is.  The way the Terps adapted to exploit their opponents' weaknesses makes me very optimistic for the rest of the season.

Other quick thoughts:
  • As much as I hate losing, especially to Duke, I came away from the game last night feeling pretty good about the Terps.
  • As others have said, Hayes looked great, Milbourne is a stud, and the team seems to be gelling at the right time.
  • The refs didn't help, but they didn't cost us the game.
  • We have at least 4 games left (3 regular season + at least 1 ACC Tournament) and if the Terps can win 3 of them, they'll probably make the big show.  That's not an ideal place to be going into March, but it's not that bad.  Maryland is hot right now and just needs to win games against beatable teams to make the tournament.  That's a lot better than things looked a few weeks ago.

February 26, 2009

Idol Recap 2/25/09

Come on, we are, at heart, a sports blog run by Terp grads. What the hell do you think we were focusing on last night? We'll be back next week with a recap.

February 24, 2009

Duke Fan - Epic Fail

On the eve of Maryland-Duke at Comcast, the smack talking has begun. While Maryland fans plan to layer the entire arena with Scheyerfaces pursuant to Operation Scheyerface v. 2.0 in honor of the beautiful John Scheyer, and are likely at present spending hours on Photoshop coming up with the most horrific, offensive (and beautiful) posters possible of Ratface (Coach K) and various Duke players doing unspeakable things to barnyard animals, Dick Vitale, and others, some Duke fans are trying their best to retaliate.

Some of you might remember the absolutely legendary video "This Is Why Duke Sucks" rap song and video generated by Terp fan Peter Greenberg. See below:

Well, some random Duke fan has tried to fire back with his own rap, entitled "This Is Why They Hate." It was so poor that within 24 hours, the guy has already taken it off of his webpage and tried to destroy any record of its existence. In the words of Lee Corso, "not so fast my friend." Maryland fans managed to grab the audio of this insanely piss-poor attempt and have put it to the music video below (images placed in the video courtesy of Maryland fans, audio courtesy of this dumbass Duke fan). See below:

So, Duke fan, to put it bluntly...


February 23, 2009

Even Terp and NFL Legends Have Trouble with Replying to Listservs

We've all had that embarrassing moment from time-to-time where we hit "Reply All" unwittingly, instead of simply "Reply." Or, in the alternative, when we reply to a mass-mailing from a listserv thinking that we are going to e-mail the head of the listserv, only to find out that we are actually replying to the entire listserv. Hell, even I did it about two months ago to a Montgomery County Bar Association listserv. And I caught hell about it from quite a few people.

Well, former Terp star Frank Reich, who you may remember from such upset wins as "second biggest college football comeback of all time in 1984 against Miami while playing for the Terps" and "biggest NFL Playoff comeback of all time against the Oilers in the 1990s while playing for the Bills" is the latest to gaffe.

The Maryland Gridiron Network (MGN) is a separate booster network designed to solely support the Terp football team and raise funds for them (as opposed to the Terrapin Club which funds scholarships and improvements for all 27 varsity sports at Maryland). Frank Reich is a member, and like all members, received an e-mail invite to the Maryland football spring game.

Well, unfortunately, Frank Reich hit "reply all" when expressing his regrets:

From: Maryland Gridiron Network ([email protected]) on behalf of Frank Reich ([email protected]******.COM)

Sent:Mon 2/23/09 8:58 AM
To: [email protected]
Thank you for invite to spring game - please tell Coach
Friedgen I would love to be there but I am currently
unable to attend due to work schedule. If something
changes I will call.

Frank Reich
So, ECB readers, in case you were wondering, Frank Reich will not be attending this year's Maryland football Spring Game. Something tells me with Frank Reich now unwittingly publishing his e-mail address to thousands, he will also soon be changing his e-mail address. At least he didn't throw his phone number in there.

February 22, 2009

Bracket Time Is Coming - The Best of Gus Johnson

It's late February, and the rain piddling outside my window is supposed to change over to sloppy wet snow this evening. On the other hand, Maryland just beat UNC and I'm starting to have dreams of filling out brackets where I can have the Terps make an improbable run to the second round.

It's almost Gus Johnson time.

Here is the best of The Best.

1) The Gurgle (Bonus - Adam Morrison Cries at the End. Double Bonus - Gumbelsnark.)

2) The Incomprehensible Scream and Recover (Bonus: Sacrosanct Fish)

This shows Gus' remarkable ability to hype and recompose.

3) Double Scream + Hyperbole (Bonus - Regular season Big Ten upset = Kennedy assassination)

4) You Will Not Deny Gus His Upset (Bonus: Invented Word "Officious")

5) The Male Multiple Orgasm (Bonus: Heartbreak City, the slipper fits)

Oh yeah, and he does football too. The Greatness of Gus can only be captured in this tribute.

Gary Williams, Terps, Continue to Surprise UNC Tarheels

Before I get into the meat of this post, Maryland has three triple-doubles in school history. The other two were in 1987 and Derrick Lewis achieved the feats using points, blocks and assists against University of Maryland - Baltimore County (UMBC = U Made a Bad Choice) and James Madison. Tonight Greivis Vasquez accomplished it against #3 UNC. That poses a pretty good argument for best single-game performance ever by a Terp.

The gist (not James) of the post, however, is to point out something that we probably fail to notice as Dook-centric Terps fans. Gary Williams has done very well against North Carolina over the years. Since 1989-90, Coach Williams is 18-25 against UNC.

Yes, that's a losing record, but let's see where UNC was ranked for each win...

1/10/90 - NR
2/17/90 - NR
3/1/92 - 10th
2/7/95 - 1st
2/6/96 - 12th
1/8/97 - 13th
1/14/98 - 1st
1/13/99 - 9th
2/13/99 - 12th
2/26/00 - NR
1/9/02 - NR
2/10/02 - NR
1/22/03 - NR
2/22/03 - NR
1/14/04 - 9th
2/25/07 - 5th
1/19/08 - 1st
2/21/09 - 3rd

blblablahblahhblahblahblah I'll ride with Gary.

Just getting 18 wins against UNC would be impressive enough. Factor in that EIGHT of those wins came against top ten teams, and you'd start to think Gary knows the antidote to NBA-ready Tarheel teams. Throw in that he's beaten FIVE top-five teams and THREE #1 Tarheels' squads, and you'd wonder why anyone would talk about getting rid of him.

And lest we bought into the whole "Maryland is done" or "Gary is done" recent talk, some of which came from certain bloggers here, let's not forget that the 2nd through 10th spots in the ACC are still up for grabs here in late February.

The same bounces that caused Wake Forest to beat UNC before losing to supposed ACC bottom feeders Va Tech, Miami, Ga Tech and NC State could go the other way for Maryland in the homestretch.

The same people who said "Gary can't recruit, just look at Georgetown!" might be trying to find a better argument now that Georgetown is 5-9 in conference with the only 2009 wins coming against Providence, Rutgers, South Florida and Syracuse.

Let's take a deep breath and prepare to get back at Dook.