Punt/Counterpunt: Maryland 2017

Submitted by Seth on November 11th, 2017 at 9:14 AM


no, stay down. [Patrick Barron]


By Bryan MacKenzie

Football games are predictable only in that they are almost uniformly unpredictable. Sometimes the result itself leaves people scratching their heads or throwing things through the television screen. But even the most to-the-script games played on a given Saturday bring at least some surprises. You know that if you drop an Illinois onto an Ohio State the Illinois will almost certainly break, but like an offensively-challenged snowflake, it will break in its own unique and unpredictable way.  It is part of the allure of the game.


But if you are anything like me, dear reader, there are three kinds of football Saturdays leading up to kickoff.

The first are the games in which you expect your beloved team to get thumped. These are not terribly fun, although there is something almost liberating about the freedom from expectation. Occasionally you will get a 2013 Michigan/Ohio State performance as a bonus. Michigan fans have experienced fewer of these in the last few years, though the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2014 seasons did exist. It's not fun, but a blend of fatalism and gallows humor can get you through. 


The second are the competitive games. These are everyone's favorites. The games circled on the calendar. The games where, when you wake up in the morning, you don't think, "hey, Michigan plays today." You think, "hey, Michigan plays OHIO STATE today." You brush your teeth with a little more enthusiasm. Your thoughts never drift far from the upcoming game. Your loved ones ask if you are feeling okay, because you look a little constipated. These are the days for which college football fans spend so many months honing their fandom. They crave those few hours of painful anxiety that leads up to the opening kick. If you do it right, you can't exhale properly.  It is stupid. And it is glorious.

Then, there's... this.

This is one of the empty calorie games. The games that barely get mentioned on College GameDay. The games that get the who-dat announcing crew that can't pronounce your right guard's name. The game may not be "easy," but it makes for an easy game day. There is no stress. There is simply waiting patiently for the inevitable (regardless of how inevitable it turns out to be).


We complain about these kinds of games early in seasons. Like a teenager eager to get out into the Real World, we want to get to the meat of the schedule. But now, as the season passes middle age and we get contemplative about the approaching football-less Great Beyond, there is something to be said for an afternoon of sitting down to a relaxing afternoon of beating the hell out of a bad team. Do we learn anything? Probably not. Is there any real upside? Eh. But we get to watch Michigan's Mammoth Right Guard To Be Named Later smash some dudes on a power play. We get to watch Mo Hurst hurl humans into other humans. We get to laugh and enjoy a simple, unfair fight. This is the last of these until next September. So, enjoy it.

Michigan 38, Maryland 6.



By Nick RoUMel


By Nick RoUMel

There’s an animal in trouble!

For those of you who are culturally unaware, “Wonder Pets” is a Nickelodeon animated show featuring Linny the Guinea Pig, Ming-Ming Duckling and Turtle Tuck, who team together to rescue baby animals in distress.

The opening theme song grips you from the ringing telephone, through our superheroes’ realization that their services are needed:

The phone … the phone is ringing!

The phone … we'll be right there!

The phone … the phone is ringing

There's an animal in trouble

There's an animal in trouble

There's an animal in trouble somewhere

I once created an entire Wonder Pets episode in my head. My wife and I were driving on a highway in upstate New York, when we swerved to avoid a giant box turtle in the road. I turned to my wife and exclaimed, “This is a job for Wonder Pets!” I envisioned birds flying down to place orange cones in the road, while other animals nudged the turtle to safety. (Of course, this could be more elaborate, with additional drama like the texting driver who doesn’t notice the animated animals, frantically trying to get his attention.)

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Today, Testudo, the Maryland Terrapins’ mascot, is an animal in trouble.


Our chaplets, on his bier we throw, Our braided tresses tear, and join a turtle’s woe! [Barron]

It didn’t start out that way, with all the excitement about beating Texas to start the year. But that was before everybody started beating the Longhorns like a hardware bucket in Central Park. Then injuries brought Maryland down to their fifth string quarterback.


So today, this Wonder Pets episode is going to end up with a different song altogether.


Tire tracks all across your back, I can see you’ve had your fun.




November 11th, 2017 at 10:38 AM ^

of today's game. As I heard someone point out on the radio the other day, after Maryland, UM could go 0-4 in their next 4 games. We will likely be the underdog in all four of those games.


November 11th, 2017 at 2:31 PM ^

My daughter used to watch the Wonder Pets when she was a toddler. I didn't dig it but whatever. And I had managed to forget all about it, too. Until now.