As for the area’s FBS teams, their immediate futures appear murky at best.
The best news for Virginia should be its schedule the next three weeks: at Duke, Maryland at home and at Wake Forest. Duke is improved — it beat Wake for the first time this century on Saturday — but it is still Duke. Maryland has two wins over bad teams; a loss to a mediocre team and a loss to a very good team. Wake Forest? Well, it lost to Duke at home. Enough said. The Cavaliers could easily win all three games.
Maryland’s next five games are all winnable: reeling Wake Forest at home this coming weekend; the trip to Virginia; a mediocre North Carolina State team at home; an equally mediocre Boston College team on the road; and then Georgia Tech at home. The Yellow Jackets are 2-3 after a humiliating 49-28 loss to Middle Tennessee State.
Virginia Tech’s schedule is about as daunting as an ACC schedule can be — how daunting, after all, can an ACC schedule be? The Hokies play at North Carolina, get a breather at home against Duke and then go back on the road to Clemson and Miami before returning to Lane Stadium to play Florida State. That’s a Thursday night game that looked like a key to Virginia Tech’s season in August. It won’t be quite so key if the Hokies are 4-4 when they take the field that night.
Navy actually has the best chance to salvage its season for two reasons: a win over Air Force on the road this week would put the Mids on course to take back the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, which Air Force has won the last two seasons. As bad as Navy has looked, Air Force hasn’t looked very good, either. Army is 0-4, including an awful 23-3 loss to Stony Brook on Saturday. Navy’s schedule after the Air Force game is lighter than air, so a victory in Colorado Springs could (no pun intended) right the ship.
As of this moment it appears that the local team with the best chance for a special season is Howard. Coach Gary “Flea” Harrell has turned the Bison in the right direction since returning to his alma mater last season. Six of Howard’s last seven games are against conference opponents and the Bison are 2-0 in conference play. The last time Howard won the MEAC title was 1993, when Jay Walker was the quarterback and a diminutive wide receiver who was nicknamed “Flea,” was his No. 1 receiver.
A conference title is a long way from happening at Howard. Then again, at least for the moment, it is a good deal closer than at any of the other area schools. Especially after this past weekend.
For more by the author, visit his blog at www.feinsteinonthebrink.com. To read his previous columns for The Post, go to washingtonpost.com/feinstein.