The Washington Times - September 15, 2008, 03:07PM

Maryland’s players aren’t the only ones looking to the future after the Terrapins knocked off California on Saturday.

Turns out their fans are as well.

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That’s to be expected, given a big victory that helped erase most of the bad vibes associated with a loss at Middle Tennessee (just how the heck did the Terps lay that egg again?)

Anyway, weekly D1scourse Challenge winner VR6 Terp offers up this forward-thinking question as Maryland heads into its final nonconference game of the regular season.

How do you see Byrd Stadium’s renovations affecting the future of the football program? I don’t hesitate in saying that Byrd, while it has its charms, is not a very aesthetically (or architecturally) attractive stadium. And it’s never going to be confused for the Horseshoe, LA Memorial Coliseum or Bryant-Denny Stadium. But, all things being fair, how should fans expect an improved stadium to affect the program’s performance and standing over the long term (if not just its bottom line)?

Like I said, great question.

I’m sure Maryland fans would love to hear that the renovations are the next step in sending the program to a prosperous run of 10-wins seasons and conference titles that ensures fans will wake up in a hotel room far from home every year on New Year’s Day and nurse their lingering hangovers with an all-day tailgate.

The truth is, the college athletics arms race pretty much forced them to upgrade the stadium – if not entirely to keep up appearances, then certainly to generate more money to put toward other shiny things.

So this isn’t so much a matter of moving upward and it is ensuring the program isn’t left behind. And while that’s not the most welcome motivation, it is still a good one. After all, I’m pretty sure N.C. State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest have all improved their stadiums in recent years. That’s a decent cross-section of what the Terps of trying to keep up with.

What I am interested to see is just how the atmosphere in the stadium changes. Byrd already feels different with the construction in progress, and the extension of Tyser Tower – even if it doesn’t add many loud fans – will enclose the stadium quite a bit. It certainly seems as though it will feel much more like a big-time stadium.

So that should help – just like improvements at countless other schools have helped in those places, as well.

Patrick Stevens