This week remains one of the biggest “What if’s?” around… especially with the passage of time.  Could we have known things would change so markedly in an instant?  Did we have any idea what ripples would result from one fatal decision?  Sometimes it’s just nice to imagine what would have been if he had lived…

Let’s just say Len Bias turns 50 this week.  The University of Maryland’s going to honor the basketball Hall of Famer with a star-studded evening…almost a “This is Your Life” at the Comcast Center (popularly called the “Driessell Dome”).

Lefty Driesell’s expected to make the trip up from Virginia Beach where he’s enjoyed retirement since stepping down in 2002.  After posting 696 wins over 32 seasons as Terps coach the longtime rival of Dean Smith left the game same time his constant nemesis did (Driessell joked that “Dean was done in ’97…but only stuck around so I wouldn’t have a crack at his record”).  Although Bias didn’t lead Lefty to the Final Four, he helped set the stage for the recruiting classes that finally did in 1991 (where they lost to Gary Williams’ Ohio State Buckeyes).  Finally getting a National Championship in 1998 eased the sting when recruit Steve Francis signed with the Terps and then bolted for the NBA (holy moses!).

Larry Bird’s supposed to fly in from Indianapolis…his back that gave him issues in the late 80’s after the Celtics’ third championship in a row (remember Boston coach KC Jones trademarking “Boston Three Party” and making a mint off the merchandising?) needed more surgery this summer.  Kevin McHale will be in town as well (how about when as a rookie Bias stepped into the starting lineup so McHale could fully recover from foot surgery for the playoffs?)…as will Robert Parish (“the closest I came to smiling was watching Lenny play”).

Michael Jordan will also be on hand…as Lenny and MJ provided NBA fans a decade of duels (Jordan’s Bulls winning NBA titles in 91-92, 95 and 98 while Lenny’s “second generation” Celtics took it all in 93-94, 96-97 and 99).  Jordan often says that without Bias spurring him on, he probably would have retired at 30–or 35–instead of playing out the string with the Washington Wizards at age 40.

And even though he coached a different sport, Bobby Ross will make an appearance…probably to bask in the 25th anniversary of the National Championship team that upset Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.  When Bias left College Park, Ross was fresh off guiding the Terps to a 9-3 season (with losses to eventual #2 Michigan, #3 Penn St. and #9 Miami)…and with a supportive Athletic Department Maryland was able to take things to the next level over the next decade.  Ross finally retired after the 2000 season, handing the program to Ralph Friedgen who promptly led the Terps to another ACC Title and an Orange Bowl in his first season.

What a celebration– and what a what-if…

 

Alma Mater Update– Syracuse finds itself playing for its postseason life, needing  a win against either Pitt or BC to clinch bowl eligibility.  In other news, the basketball team almost lost to St. Francis (the Brooklyn one) before closing the game on a 10-0 run…holding the opposition without a field goal over the last 4:51…(3 shots and 4 turnovers).  Who’s ready for five months of the Orange hoops rollercoaster?

Maryland vs Boston College–the Eagles boast the best runningback in the ACC…as Andre Williams (1,810 yds rushing) has broken Virginia’s Thomas Jones’ conference record for yards in a season.  But the Terps rank 4th in stopping the run in the ACC and are tied for 3rd in lowest opponents yards per carry.  Maryland matches wits with former defensive coordinator Don Brown which means plenty of pressure.  But although the Eagles rank 5th in the league in sacks, BC is last in pass defense and total defense.  Terps triumph, 31-24.

Virginia at Miami– which team is falling faster?  This showdown of slumping squads in the Sunshine State has a UVa team that’s dropped seven straight…against a Miami team that’s gone from 7th in the nation to 5th in the Coastal Division over the last three weeks.  And if the Hurricanes win out and get the right mix of other teams to lose…they could be the lucky ones facing Florida State for the ACC Championship.  What amazes me is this is just the fourth road game for the Cavaliers this fall–when did they start thinking they were Nebraska?  Cavaliers come up short, 38-15.

Navy over San Jose State, Georgetown slips to Holy Cross, Howard falls to Hampton, Towson tops James Madison, Richmond beats William & Mary.

Last Week: 3-4?  Another rough week…

Overall: 62-26…looking to finish with a flourish.

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