Today Maryland became a Big Ten school. Yet here I am, already sick of their fans. Their loudest members display an abnormal mix of hypersensitivity with a cartoonishly clumsy lack of wit. Devoid of self-awareness, they're the crazy girl on an MTV Real World season - the one who gets drunk, starts a fight, sobs in a corner, and then craps her yoga pants before getting kicked out of the house. At least, that's my perception of some of the Maryland fans after roughly twelve hours of conference membership.
But not wanting to misjudge that handful of Terp fans so hastily, I searched the innernets for contrary evidence. 'Give me some evidence, known Universe, that this small pack of miscreant Terp fans may posses a redeeming quality,' I thought to myself.
Instead, the known Universe (Google machine) answered with simple confirmation. In his article "New ACC Starts Tuesday" on SBNation site Duke Basketball Report, author JD King's byline reads: It's hard to imagine missing Maryland very much, though.
Telling, isn't it? An ACC member and supposed rival appears joyous at Maryland's departure. It's difficult to imagine that Michigan fans would react similarly should Wisconsin or Minnesota leave for another conference. But to get the full story, and sift through the detritus of this Maryland addition, I reached out to JD. He was generous enough to share his perspective on Maryland, and provide insight on our conference's new colon polyp.
Ben: Welcome, JD King, from the outstanding SBNation site Duke Basketball Report. Thank you for swinging by BSD. Let me begin by stating that I'm sorry the Big Ten stole Maryland from the ACC. They've officially become Big Ten members just today, yet I already wish the Big Ten could return them. Does my regret surprise you?
JD: I can't say yes or no because I don't know what your reasoning is. Why do you regret it?
Ben: Maryland has not played a down or bounced a ball in the Big Ten, yet I'm already irritated by their fans. They're such a strange brand; I'd have to describe it as "aggressively inferior", even though that makes no sense. It's difficult for me to describe precisely because the behavior is so bizarre.
JD: That's pretty close actually. Maryland fans have a sense that the school should be dominant, and a keen sense of inferiority because it rarely is. There's also a strain of bullying behavior which you'll find out about soon enough. Suffice it to say they take pride in their riots and physically intimidating opposing fans. They're a piece of work.
Ben: The Terps consider themselves to be a basketball school, yes? But I've also read that they've won just one NCAA tournament game in the last decade (2005 - 2014). So I have a two-part question: 1) is that real? One win (over Davidson) in 10 years?; 2) why are they so awful?
JD: Part of it is simple - they haven't been very good for awhile. But another part of it is the Maryland psyche: deep down - okay, not so deep down - they expect to fail. They have this image of their team as being powerful, but the image is brittle. So when things go wrong - think Duke in the 2001 Final Four or the Gone in 54 Seconds game in College Park, or any number of Carolina comebacks - they expect to fail. And they're bitter, and they take it out on people or property.
[editor's note: "Gone in 54 seconds" refers to a 10-point Maryland lead over Duke, at College Park, that evaporated in the final 54 seconds of regulation. Maryland lost. Hilarious.]
JD: I should have mentioned that I think it's not just the university but the DMV region in general. I had a friend when I was young who I saw in the summers. Later on I came to realize that he was not just telling me about the violence in his schools, but relishing it. It was completely foreign to me.
Later I encountered the same attitude in older people so I came to think that it was just part of the deal up there in "Alaska", as Gary Williams called it (relative to the rest of the ACC). It's hard to understand: win and they break stuff and hurt people; lose and they do it with a bit of nastiness. They'll hate you guys in football soon enough because it'll be years before they can compete on a regular basis.
Ben: Apparently they already hate Penn State. I thought it might be because they'd won just one time in 37 attempts on the gridiron. That's not so. It's because Penn Staters are arrogant, condescending, haughty, etc. Let me take a wild guess - that's a familiar refrain?
JD: That's pretty much the rap on Tobacco Road from their perspective.
Ben: Alright - thanks again for the experiential knowledge on the clown factory in College Park. Any parting words of wisdom?
JD: Well you could go on and on about Maryland fans. As you'll no doubt hear, they hated feeling left out of the club, with the club being the NC schools, so I imagine that when they figure out that the power in the Big Ten is always going to be in the Midwest, they'll have a similar reaction: they're going from being the ACC's "Alaska" to the Big Ten's Mississippi and when it sinks in, it won't be pretty.
My advice to you for road games, if you go: don't wear anything that identifies you with Penn State and be prepared to defend yourself. It's hard to imagine a more thuggish, loutish, less couth bunch of fans than what Maryland is forced to claim. They're truly the worst of the worst.
I look forward to seeing what the upright citizens of the Corn Belt do when they find they've invited barbarians into their midst. We were used to it here, not that it makes it okay, but we knew what to expect. The Big Ten has no idea what they're in for. It's going to be great entertainment from a distance, but I would imagine that after a riot or
two, and after a number of excuses why Maryland should have won - you might as well get ready for "we're not in the Midwest so we'll never be treated fairly" routine - you'll understand why we won't miss them all that much. You can have them, good riddance, and best of luck. You'll need it.
So there we go, BSD friends. Our disdain for these Terps we've met recently is vindicated. And barring a minor miracle, we'll have a mouth breathing stooge as our next door neighbor for the rest of our lives. Thanks again to JD for swinging by BSD.