His team had no remaining bowl hopes. He’d just lost a quarterback to injury. A rough season was winding to a close.
But it wasn’t done yet for Ralph Friedgen.
The losing season was clinched in the road, but there was still an appearance in College Park to make the next weekend.
And clearly, Friedgen was in no mood to acknowledge what it was at the time.
“It’s not a meaningless game, let’s get that point clear. …,” Friedgen said. “Winning your last game, whether it’s your last game ever, or your last game of the season or your last game in Byrd Stadium, is something that always stays in your memory. A win on saturday will carry us into the off season and make us feel good about ourselves. I don’t think it’s a meaningless game. It has a lot of meaning.”
This, of course, was in 2004 —- a few days before Maryland closed out its season with a 13-7 defeat of Wake Forest in a showdown of 4-6 teams.
It was, in fact, the only game carrying zero potential postseason ramifications that Maryland has played since the start of the 1999 season.
Well, until now, since Maryland has three of them.
It could be worse. Maybe not for this season, since the Terps are the ACC’s first team assured of a losing record, having just fallen to an outfit that was winless in the league before yesterday.
But in the previous 10 seasons, Maryland had mounds of meaningful games. And that seemed worth mentioning, at least until I looked up how it compares to the rest of the ACC in that span:
17: North Carolina
7: Wake Forest
3: N.C. State
0: Boston College
0: Florida State
0: Georgia Tech
0: Virginia Tech
The possibility of something telling about Maryland existed when I conjured up this idea. Instead, it just says a whole lot about how bad Duke’s been the last decade.
The Blue Devils, it should be noted, are still playing games with ramifications beyond Thanksgiving weekend in 2009.
—- Patrick Stevens