Annapolis and College Park.  It’s the best of times and worst of times, respectively, at Navy and Maryland this fall.  Both schools have a bye week to bask in what’s working and what’s wrong.  Even after a 17-point loss to Notre Dame, the Midshipmen are on track to succeed in their first season of AAC (American Athletic Conference of America) and coach Ken Niumatalolo’s team is just two victories away from their fourth straight bowl.  Despite being in the league’s West Dvision while residing on the east coast, the Midshipmen seem to have made the right move–again.  Meanwhile, even after hanging with #1 in the nation Ohio State for more than a half, the Terps find themselves staring at a fifth straight season of six losses or more.  Not to mention a coaching change that paints the Ralph Friedgen firing as the mistake many said it was in 2010.  While the Terps are in the geographically correct (Big Ten East) division, the task for whomever takes the job will have their hands full against big time bluebloods Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State plus over-achiever Michigan State.  In the last 30 years, the school has hired a head coach in the Big East (Randy Edsall) or Patriot League (Mark Duffner), a coordinator from the ACC (Ralph Friedgen) or Big Ten (Ron Vanderlinden), or an assistant on the current staff (Joe Krivak).  Before taking over in College Park, Kevin Anderson was the Athletic Director at Army West Point.  Does his coaching search include a trip out route 50?  And after everything he’s seen up the road the last six years, does Ken Niumatalolo even consider taking that call?

Alma Mater Update– the Orange head to Charlottesville while their faithful prepare burgers and brats plus wings and bleu cheese.  A glass that was half-full turns half-empty with a loss to a South Florida that was 18 points worse than Maryland.  They’re 3-2 and still haven’t played Clemson or Florida State.  Saturday’s showdown in Charlottesville is crucial to Pinstripe Bowl dreams.

Virginia entertains Syracuse– it’s a clash of blue and orange against orange and blue…and not necessarily in that order.  Can the Cavaliers contain freshman quarterback Eric Dungey?  Let the record show that Mike London-coached teams at UVa are 1-5 against freshman starting QB’s.  And this isn’t one of his better defenses:  the team ranks 14th in the ACC in stopping the pass and 14th in points and yards allowed.  Obviously they’re spending too much time stopping the run (10th).  Kippy and Buffy mark the beginning of ACC play by shifting to reds…tailgating this week with Chateau O’Brien’s Late Harvest Tannat and gruyere on Crispbread.  Cavaliers come up short, 29-21.

Virginia Tech visits Miami– it’s been a tale of two programs since the Hokies and Hurricanes bolted the Big East:  while coach Frank Beamer’s team has won four ACC titles in the last decade while Larry Coker, Randy Shannon and Al Golden have yet to  lead the U to even the Conference Championship Game.  This year’s matchup features a pair of bumbling mid-level teams appearing to fight over who gets to go to the Music City Bowl, instead of the Quick Lane Bowl.  Miami leads the ACC in passing and turnover margin while Virginia Tech hasn’t been great at stopping teams this fall–a huge departure from previous years when the D carried an offense that was struggling.  Just like this year’s attack that is 8th in the conference in scoring and rushing…while 9th in the league in passing and points.  Hurricanes awaken their alumni base’s ridiculous hopes, 31-20.

Georgetown tops Colgate, Howard slips to South Carolina State,Richmond routs Rhode Island, William & Mary handles New Hampshire, Towson tumbles to Stonybrook.

Last Week:  6-1.

Overall: 41-8.

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