MIKE BURKE

Allegany Radio Corporation Sports

We missed most of the month of December here in this space because, frankly, I’m very deep and very wealthy (as the great Bill Fitch once said, “I’m independently wealthy. I have enough money to last me for the rest of my life – provided, of course, I die tomorrow”).

So, I just felt I should take the month off to reflect and appreciate some meaningful things in life: health, happiness, family, loved ones and friends, the holidays and what the hell my dear, sainted mother could have done with all of my old baseball cards; those things could be worth something, you know?

Anyway, a lot happened in the final month of the year that we didn’t have a chance to talk about, so I thought we’d catch up on a couple of things, you know?

Mark Turgeon

Okay, we talked about the former head coach a bit last week when we discussed the current plight of Maryland basketball. The only reason I bring him up is he was the subject of our last discussion here in the year of 2021.

I said then I felt Turgeon had and was genuinely doing his best for Terps basketball; and I will always genuinely believe he did, but it, frankly, didn’t meet the job standards. I suggested the following game on Sunday afternoon at home against Northwestern would be an important one for him, even though it would be just the fifth day of December.

My friends and I attended the Northwestern game that Sunday afternoon at Xfinity and, son of a gun, I was right – it was a momentous game for Turgeon. It was the first game in over 10 years he wasn’t the Maryland head coach. He had walked two days prior.

I hope one day Turgeon decides to talk about his decision to bail out (he was the head coach, he brought those players and the current interim coach there; he bailed out eight games into the season). If he’s going to be a head coach again, and he will be, he’s going to have to face the music.

Turgeon owes it to his former players, coaches, the university, boosters and fans to face the music. He wasn’t run out of town. He left town and now cashes big checks from the university not to finish what he started.

I just wonder what runs through his mind when (or if) he watches those he left behind.

Terps football

Neither did we get a chance to talk about Maryland’s resounding 54-10 win over Virginia Tech in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Pretty heady words in that sentence about Maryland football, yes? Well, it’s about time.

Look, the Pinstripe Bowl is what it is – a nice bowl game for a couple of teams like Maryland and Virginia Tech, who both entered the game with 6-6 marks. Of course, some of that perceived mediocrity (perception is your decision) was softened quite a bit by playing a nice bowl game in Yankee Stadium in the greatest city in the world, you know? Good for both teams, and both schools.

The best part, at least from this point of view, is Maryland finally played a mistake-free game and won in a very grand fashion to finish a very challenging, and important, season with a winning record.

Yes, of course, Tech was without most of its best players. But why were they in the transfer portal? Yes, Tech played without its head coach, but why had he left?

Blah, blah, blah all you want to, but it’s not Maryland’s problem. The Terps showed up. The Terps won, and the Terps won big. And they looked pretty darn good in doing so. We’ll take that and go from here.

It’s like this: Every now and then, Maryland gets to have the happy ending, too.

Deal with it.

WVU Mountaineers

Meanwhile, West Virginia lost its bowl game the night before – 18-6 to Minnesota in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix.

I watched. I watch all of the WVU games just as I watch all of the Steelers games because many of my friends root for WVU and the Steelers.

I had seen Minnesota play this season (I am a Big Ten man, you know) and I’ve been impressed with the Gophers. I was really impressed with them, though, during that bowl game.

Minnesota was so much superior to WVU in size, speed, athleticism and depth and should have blown out the Mountaineers. Yet, they didn’t. They couldn’t. Minnesota couldn’t shake West Virginia.

Don’t misunderstand, the Mountaineers were never really in the game because they didn’t have an offense. Yet, they were never out of the game because they have a very impressive defense.

It was a late-night game, but I sat in my kitchen by myself and watched every play (bored rich guys do this sort of thing, okay?), and I was very impressed with the WVU defense. They tackle very well (and it might seem odd that most teams today don’t), they’re tough and they just don’t quit. That’s why I thought it turned out to be a pretty good game.

Graham Harrell, the man head coach Neal Brown hired away from Southern Cal to be the Mountaineers’ offensive coordinator, is on the clock.

Intriguing hire. Intriguing season coming up for the Mountaineers.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Radio and Pikewood Digital. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT