On Friday’s College GameDay, Scott Van Pelt showed the state of Maryland a video that made him unhappy. It turned out to be the show’s final showing, and the full, three-minute production — one of the most watched editions of the program in recent years — focuses on Maryland’s five-game losing streak, the mess it has gotten itself into on offense and the grumbling fans, many of whom would like to see Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon canned.
In the middle of it all is Van Pelt, his friends and his children, being thoroughly miserable about things, including which team is the worst in the ACC. He takes his fans to task on the air, without admonishing them, saying he can’t blame them and they shouldn’t come at him with irrational things like boycotting the team.
This is, of course, Van Pelt being Scott Van Pelt.
In all seriousness, these are the same fans who twice voted for Maryland basketball to claim one of the NBA’s minor hoops titles, and who annually fill the house in College Park for “March Madness: Inside the Madness.” I’d guess that they take it a lot easier on John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats, who, at 15-10, are the only program ever to go a season without winning a tournament game. I can even sympathize with those Maryland fans who feel they should have an automatic bid just because they came into the season with a lot of hype and a Final Four in the back of their minds. After that, though, things got hairy.
Now they probably just want to light a lollipop fire under Maryland basketball, but that might be a tough sell to average fans. And with seven games remaining and the Terps’ 22-7 record in jeopardy, it wouldn’t be wise to criticize Maryland fans publicly — at least not for a long time. The Sports Illustrated poll — that Depp deadpanned about a few weeks ago and that Turgeon said he won’t respond to — will probably shape up differently by the time it’s published.
The Terps can still put themselves in good position to win the ACC regular-season title and earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, although it would be a surprise if they pulled it off. No. 9 Virginia Tech pulled off that stunner on Sunday. It will be close.
Yes, it’s pathetic when Terrapins fans are this unhinged. But that’s what makes it great. Scott Van Pelt gets into their heads in a way that few analysts do. The show will probably come out better for it.