It was hard not to notice the changing images on the flat-screen TVs in Maryland’s team house yesterday while waiting for players to emerge from practice.
They seemed innocuous enough … “Cal Week,” which was soon followed by a somewhat cryptic “21.”
An homage to the 1988 Baltimore Orioles?
An acknowledgement of someone’s affinity for blackjack?
Evidence Trenton Hughes (who wears No. 21) is the one who programs the TVs in Gossett?
The number of days that have passed since camp started? (It’s actually up to 23 now).
Or might it possibly be an oblique reference to the point spread for Saturday’s game at California, which has hovered around three touchdowns for much of the last month and will be the largest a Ralph Friedgen-coached team has ever faced?
Hmmmm, says I. Hmmmm.
Maybe that’s a happy coincidence. Maybe. From talking to wideout Adrian Cannon yesterday, it didn’t seem like he was too concerned about his team’s severe underdog status. In fact, he was embracing it.
Even if the revolving lobby message has nothing to do with a spread (and maybe it’s just an attempt to lobby Dr. Pepper to drop two of its flavors), it’s fair to say Maryland is aware of how it is perceived vis-a-vis California.
Whether the Terps can change the way they are seen won’t be determined for another three days and change.