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Terps? Ravens? Redskins? Let me think

October 15, 2006|by DAN KAUFFMAN

Some things I think I think (channeling Peter King ... Peter King, come in, please):

· I think I'm going to owe sports editor Mark Keller a Lincoln - five dollars, not a car - when Maryland's women's basketball team gets top billing in the AP preseason poll.

Surely, this was a dumb bet, considering the Terps are defending national champions and have everyone back.

But I had my reason: I didn't trust the voters to make a logically sound decision. Maryland may have won the title, but it is still not held in the same regard as a national program as UConn or Tennessee. So I assumed the voters would pick one of those teams based on tradition and not so much on merit.

Thankfully, if ESPN's women's basketball analysts - who all have the Terps as their preseason No. 1 on ESPN.com - are any indication, the voters will prove me wrong. That's five dollars I don't mind blowing.

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· I think if Maryland's men's team fails to make the NCAA Tournament for a third straight season, there could be rumblings about Gary Williams' job security.

I can't imagine Williams - who passed Lefty Driesell on the Terps' all-time wins list last season - being on any kind of hot seat. He's done too much for the program, which was on a respirator thanks to the Len Bias tragedy and NCAA sanctions stemming from the Bob Wade era when Williams first arrived in 1989.

But I also can't imagine supporters of the program being real happy if the Terps get left out of the Dance again. And quite frankly, this team hasn't played inspiring basketball since its run to the ACC Tournament title in 2004.

· I think I know absolutely nothing when it comes to the Redskins.

I want to bash Mark Brunell (as I've been known to do), then he sets an NFL record by completing 22 passes in a row and plays great against Houston and Jacksonville.

So then I start thinking maybe the Redskins are figuring out Al Saunders' offense and are starting to click, and they stink Giants Stadium up with an awful effort in a key NFC East showdown.

Seriously, making any predictions with this team is a fool's game. They could lose at home to lowly Tennessee today and then go on the road and stun Indianapolis next weekend, and it wouldn't surprise me.

The only thing I know is that the Redskins' schedule after Tennessee is flat-out brutal - at Indy, Dallas, at Philadelphia, at Tampa Bay (looks like a breather but there are no such things as road breathers), Carolina, Atlanta, the Eagles again, at New Orleans, at St. Louis (nobody's talking about them, yet they're 4-1) and home against the Giants to finish the season. Yikes.

· I think the Ravens are what they are - a solid playoff-bound team with a very good defense and an average offense people are overrating because it's been a decade since one could so much as call it average.

Twice, Steve McNair has played a mediocre game only to put it together for game-winning drives late. That trick only works so often, and usually, twice in a season is about the maximum. Teams can reach the playoffs with a good defense and an inconsistent offensive attack, but winning the Super Bowl requires more out of an offense.

· Finally, I think I'm on the Detroit Tigers' bandwagon. They're proving - yet again - that pitching wins in the postseason. It's no coincidence the Tigers posted the lowest ERA in the majors this season.




Dan Kauffman is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7520, or by e-mail at kauffman@herald-mail.com

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