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The Cuban Missile Crisis, MacGyver and Today's Gam

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groupthink“The Missiles of October.”

\ (Somewhere, Wayne Shapiro, my high school history teacher, should be smiling at the fact I would remember that ridiculous film. Also starring in the movie was Dana Elcar of MacGyver fame. “Of MacGyver fame” is a phrase few actors probably dream of following their name).\

\ Anyway, let’s fast forward 45 years from the Cuban Missile Crisis, shall we? The point of that admittedly absurd aside was to point out the Official Beat Diva has already weighed in with her pick this week … and mine is almost identical. But before anyone tosses out the idea that groupthink is in play, I can assure you (a) The picks were made completely independent of each other and (b) There is really no incentive to completely agree on something so trivial.\

\ Anyway, I’m saying Maryland 23, Wake Forest 20. The Demon Deacons have not been offensive impresarios so far this year, though the return of quarterback Riley Skinner should help some. Still, Maryland should be able to eke out just enough to escape with a tight victory.\

\ One other thing; if you think Maryland is accustomed to close games, check out Wake’s record under coach Jim Grobe. He’s 38-37 overall (a heck of an accomplishment, since only one other coach in school history made it into a seventh season with a winning record and just two others made it into a seventh season period), but the Demon Deacons have played an inordinate number of tight games.\

\ Exactly 60 percent (45 of 75) of Wake’s games under Grobe have been decided by 10 points or less, and many of those came as Grobe was building the foundation to the program and his team was downright outmatched by deeper, more talented teams. Wake is 22-23 in games decided by 10 points or less under Grobe and 16-14 in the rest.\

\ As a point of reference, barely a third of Maryland’s games under Ralph Friedgen (27 of 77) have had a margin of 10 points or less. The Terps are 18-9 in those games, including a 6-1 record last year.\

\ — Patrick Stevens

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