I've never been a believer in trends as a predictor of future performance. But I do recognize they can be fun.
This week's best trend: only once in the last seven meetings between the Terrapins and the Mountaineers has the game's winner not scored at least 30 points. That was WVU's 13-0 win in 1996.
I think that streak will get broken up this week. That might sound odd in light of Maryland's scoring numbers and West Virgnia's ground attack, but I see a game that could be decided on the defensive side of the ball -- and that doesn't even take weather into account.
Both teams have good defenses with excellent linebacking corps, while both still have some questions to answer in the passing game. I think those factors will keep the winning score in the twenties.
Speaking of linebackers, might this Saturday feature the best pair of linebackers to grace Mountaineer Field this year?
|WVU 0-0, 3-1
UM 0-1, 3-2
|Sat. 10/5 Noon|
|Series: WVU 19-18-2|
|BCS: WVU-40 - UM-60|
|Stats & Trends|
Henderson broke Maryland's career record for tackles behind the line of scrimmage last week, and his assault on the Terp record book isn't over. Wiley, the Big East rookie of the year as a freshman, is the most tenacious pursuer and one of the biggest hitters in the conference.
No matter who has the ball on Saturday, there's going to be some excellent linebacking skills on display.
RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
Pam Ward, ESPN2 play by play announcer who will be calling the game for the Deuce this week, is a 1984 Maryland graduate. I wonder if I ever yelled anything at her in the stands during a WVU-Maryland football contest?
If so, Pam, nothing personal. But watch those homer calls. Remember, there's no cheering in the press box.
If the Terp football team were a stock, their rating so far would probably be "hold and evaluate".
For Mayland, that's not so easy, even with their season heading toward the halfway point. The Terps have crushed three opponents that aren't very good (Akron, Eastern Michigan and Wofford). They have gotten kicked around by two foes (Notre Dame and Florida State), who are very good. So, where do the Terps themselves rate?
Unfortunately, we won't have an answer to that until around 3:30 on Saturday. I do think that West Virginia and Maryland are very close to each other, and I'm expecting a tight contest.
WEATHER OR NOT
It looks like the worst of the rain will have dissipated or moved out by game time on Saturday, but another factor may play a big part in the game. That's wind.
Forecasts are calling for 15-25 mph winds throughout the day. Winds that strong can have an effect on passes, especially the high, deep balls that WVU favors in efforts to create jump ball situations for their bigger outside receivers. Watch for the game plans of both squads to be modified according to wind direction.
BIG EAST RIFF OF THE WEEK
In the Big Ten Conference, officials that perform poorly are not retained, or outright fired. In the Big East, they are promoted to oversee all of the league's officials.