Welcome back to reality everyone, I hope everyone had a tremendous Christmas holiday. And now that the gifts have all been unwrapped and the ham is continuing to digest, I'd like to take a walk around some of the goings-on around the Charm City. So let's begin...
Orioles - Ah, angst. Teixeira has officially signed with the Yankees, as we are all well aware, and yet again O's fans have to be hit with the cold slap of reality. Next year will most likely be worse than this year for the Birds. Who knows what is going to happen for sure, but the AL East has only gotten better, and the Orioles will only be marginally better at best. Certainly this signing for the Yankees doesn't necessarily get them into the postseason (with the Sox and Rays still favorites to win the division and wild card in my opinion) but it does reassert universal baseball hate to the fat cats in New York. I can't blame them for trying to win, but that doesn't mean I can't be angry. The Orioles offseason hasn't finished yet, however; there is still a veteran catcher that needs to be acquired, and most likely at least one starter will be added. Again, regardless of the move it will most likely be very very ugly next year.
Terps Football - The Terps went 7-5 and are going to a bowl game. It certainly doesn't feel like this year has been that good, does it? The Humanitarian Bowl, where Maryland plays Nevada on December 30th, reeks of an upset. I have serious doubts as to whether or not Maryland shows up; the Terps did not want to go to this bowl game, there will be little to no fan attendance in Boise, and Nevada is not an opponent who they're going to easily get up for to play. Regardless the Terps should want to show up for this game; with the disappointments that have littered this season and embarassments on national television, games like this are crucial for recruiting. Terps need a win to get this bad taste out of their mouths, I'm just not sure they're going to do it.
Terps Basketball - They could be pretty good. Then again they could be terrible. If nothing else, they're a classic Gary Williams team (minus the frontcourt). The Terps are marching through the cupcakes on their schedule, and thankfully avoiding any upsets along the way. Now, the avoidance of upsets does bode very well for the Terps; consider the fact that last season the Terrapins lost to both Ohio and American in this stretch of their schedule, dropping below 100 in RPI but still nearly made the tournament. In that light this season could not have started much better. They lost badly to both Georgetown and Gonzaga but acquired two very quality wins against Michigan and Michigan State. Thus, they're in good position but they're still reliant on the ACC stretch to get their marquee wins. That's very dangerous. The Terps don't have a frontcourt that can compete in the ACC, although Dino Gregory has shown flashes of being a decent post player, and that will make it awfully hard to survive an always-murderous ACC schedule. The pressure will not only be on the development of those young frontcourt players, but on the backcourt to carry this team through.
Ravens - I don't know how many Ravens fans share this sentiment with me, but I feel awfully tense about this game on Sunday. The Jaguars, after looking disinterested and sloppy on Monday night a few weeks ago, have come on awfully strong down the stretch. No, it doesn't reflect in their wins-losses, but the Jags have been competitive, particularly in their near-upset over Indiannapolis last week. The important thing to remember, however, is that the Ravens have not slipped up against an inferior team yet this year, going undefeated against teams with a losing record. I have no doubt that the Ravens will show up and play with emotion, but the key will be whether or not that emotion is controlled. Passion is generally a good thing, but it can also get people out of position and cause sloppy mental mistakes. I have no doubt that the Ravens coaches will be aware of this and try their best to keep the team disciplined and focused amidst all of the playoff fervor.