Facelift, Champs Sports, and Cupcakes

1/1/2007 9:43:32 PM maryland_wins_bowl1.jpg

A great deal of change has occurred across Terrapin Nation and my own personal blogosphere since I left for my own personal semester break to Sanibel Island, Florida. I enjoyed my time off, recharged the batteries and I am now ready to take on the ACC season with full force.

Regarding the new look of the site, I hope you like it. The archives are in the process of being transferred and I have a new sponsor: The Finish Line. If you are in the market for any sports or athletic apparel, please click on the ads on this site and you will help to fund all of the work that goes into publishing Turtle Soup. Now onto the Terpies.
Ralph Friedgen and the Football Terps clearly took advantage of their time off. The Terps pasted Purdue 24-7 in the Champs Sports Bowl. At 9-4, the Terps exceeded all expectations and now appear to be back in the upper echelon of the conference. With Miami, Florida State, and Virginia Tech consistently out-recruiting the Terps it is going to be tough to stay there, but Fridge is a great coach, and we will see what this Portis kid can do next season. Byrd Stadium should be fun again in 2007.

Before I put the college football season to bed, let me just say how boring the bowl season is for this fan. Did anyone else notice that the entire upper deck was empty during the Champs Sports Bowl? There are a multitude of reasons why. The games are meaningless. The corporate sellouts and sponsorships are distasteful to most fans, and there are just too damn many of these meaningless bowls. For the life of me, I will never understand why there is not a playoff system. If D-1/AA can figure it out, so can the big conferences.

As for the money argument. I don't understand the attraction for these corporate brands. I work in advertising, and I would like for someone to explain to me the branding benefit of a bowl sponsorshop. I knew about Champs Sports before the game, and the ad naseusm commercials that they ran during the game did not make me more likely to shop there. In fact, it pissed me off. It's not as if there is precedent that this sort of sponsorship works. Didn't Maryland once play in something called the "Poulan Weed Eater Independence Bowl"? The Poulan Weed Eater brand is thriving today as a result isn't it? Here is some financial advice (which I am sure you want): when a company whose stock you own enters into a sponsorship agreement with a bowl game, sell immediately. That is an indication that they have no idea how to spend their marketing dollars. They are officially out of ideas and they are just looking for a company paid vacation.

Onto Basketball.

We have not learned anything new about the Terps since the loss to BC. They are turning the ball over too much, DJ Strawberry is not a natural scorer, and Mike Jones is inconsistent. We knew this.

The lone insight maybe that James Gist seems poised to emerge as a force. He is our best hope of getting into the upper division this year. He is the most athletically gifted player on the team and one of our tallest. He grabbed 13 boards against Siena. Can he emerge as the go to guy? It's either Gist or Jones and I am just not seeing any consistency from Jones. Besides with the freshman and Strawberry also producing from outside, we really need a consistent inside threat. Gist needs to be that guy.

The Terps have one more cupcake on Thursday and then the ACC season will begin in earnest on Wednesday, Jan. 10th. If that doesn't bring a sellout crowd to Comcast, then our student body has officially been lobotomized.
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