The city of Baltimore, of course, sees nothing but good in having Maryland play Clemson Saturday afternoon in Memorial Stadium. By game time, more than 60,000 seats will be sold. Mayor William Donald Schaefer, dressed in a turtle-shaped hat, renamed 33rd Street "Terrapin Way" for this week.
Not everyone, however, has been as positive and energetic as Schaefer and university Chancellor John Slaughter, who helped initiate moving the game from College Park, a move that has left some Maryland supporters unhappy.
Several members of the Terrapin Club, Maryland's booster organization, have complained about not being able to have a tailgate party before the game. Parking in Baltimore's Memorial Stadium is so tight that autos are "stacked" one against the other. No room is left for opening trunks, pitching picnic tables and having a pregame eat-drink-and-be-merry.
This is no minor inconvenience for those who usually come to a football game two hours early and this week will find nothing to do. One school official said, "It's too bad people around here aren't worried as much about winning and losing as they are about whether they've got a good parking space."
As Dick Dull, Maryland's director of athletics, said yesterday, "The game has disrupted the routine of a lot of people who come to College Park and love the campus environment. But what we're asking them to do is bear with us this one time and see what it's like."
Dull then acknowledged that some football supporters have not been very patient. The group is not very big, probably only 50 members out of more than 2,000. But their voices have been loud.
"I think that some of them ought to be a little bit more reasonable," he said. "My mail has been absolutely vicious. I guess it's been a little disarming and alarming personally.
"Three of the letters stand out. One said, 'In the entire history of the University of Maryland, you are far and away the worst thing that's ever happened.' Another wrote and said he'd never buy another ticket as long as I'm on the payroll. And a third person wrote (when Dull was under consideration for the comparable job at Southern California), and said, 'You should go to Southern Cal, but if they don't pick you we applaud their judgment.' "
Some Maryland students have alleged that they will be getting fewer seats at Memorial than they would if the game were at Byrd Stadium. Not true, Dull said.
"They're getting a few more tickets, in fact (13,000 to 11,000), than they would if the game were in Byrd," he said. "Unfortunately, there is a greater student demand than there is student supply. Those tickets went in three days. In fact, we took one or two sections that we were going to sell and turned them over to the student body to meet the need."
Reprinting the tickets cost Maryland $3,000, Dull said, and a comprehensive liability insurance policy for one day will cost $5,000 (to protect stadium and fans). The school will help the City of Baltimore transport students by bus.
But unless the football team loses the home field advantage -- which Dull and Coach Bobby Ross don't feel will happen since there will be 15,000 more fans in Baltimore than would be in Byrd -- there appear to be far more positives than negatives in having the game in Baltimore.
First of all, the university feels it badly needs to improve its relationship with Baltimore, which perceives the College Park campus as "a Washington school" (an estimated 80 percent of the school's nearby alumni live closer to Washington).
As Dull said, "We have to recognize we're a state institution, that we belong to the entire state of Maryland, not just the Washington area. This game, I think, is going to broaden the support we have throughout the state, especially the Baltimore area.
"When I first came here, I said I wanted to play a game in Baltimore. And regardless of how bad our relationship has been with Baltimore, the fact is this university had to take the first step."
Ross echoed that sentiment last night, saying, "We're trying to get better state support, and I know the people in Baltimore are very excited about this."
Another one of the positive aspects is that Maryland will take the excess revenue, which will be between $50,000 and $100,000 and create a special scholarship fund.