It's just a short drive down I-95 to see the Scarlet Knights play in Byrd Stadium against the Maryland Terrapins. Heading to the game? We asked our SB Nation colleague Alex Kirshner of Testudo Times for what to do and see while in the land of crabcakes and football.
What's the best thing about College Park as a town?
Alex Kirshner: College Park's really close to Washington, which is either the most important or most infuriating city in the world, depending on who's talking. It's got the classic features of a college town (bars, tailgates, etc.) within a stone's throw of the slightly more upscale nightlife and daytime tourism of the nation's capital. I still think it's really cool that I can go from campus to the Capitol Building in about 30 minutes.
What is the best or most unique aspect of the fanbase for the Terrapins (mainly football)?
Alex: I don't think there's anything all that unusual about Maryland fans. They're enthusiastic when the team does well and not when it doesn't. The biggest thing to say in their favor is that rooting for Maryland sports hasn't always been the easiest slog (especially in recent times), and fans have still come out in spades for games this year. Maryland has posted the largest attendance increase from last year to this year of any team in the country.
There's been a lot on the blogs about Rutgers and Maryland joining the B1G. Neither has a great football past compared to other members of the conference, though you have had some more notable years. How do UMd fans feel about leaving the ACC, joining the B1G, and having Rutgers on the schedule each year?
Alex: At this point, I don't think many people would like to see Maryland back in its old conference. The Terps have had, all in all, a pretty good first Big Ten season, and that's helped to win some hearts and minds. I don't think Maryland has any special affinity for or against Rutgers, but their geographic proximity could add a little spice to the series over the years.
Any great craft breweries worth checking out? Sports bars to watch and share college football or get some good local brews?
Alex: A few miles south of campus down Route 1, the main thoroughfare that connects the campus to Washington, there's a place called Franklin's that people mostly like a lot. College Park does have a Buffalo Wild Wings, but the best bets for bars are R.J. Bentley's and Cornerstone right across Route 1 from the campus. They're very collegiate-feeling places.
Rutgers has the grease trucks; where in the College Park area (or DC and Baltimore) can you go to get a heart-attack inducing meal?
Alex: Five Guys might be the best burger in town, but I realize that isn't a very exciting local commentary for the purposes of this exchange. You can get a really good burger at Bentley's, too.
What other great attractions are there in and around the University?
Alex: Washington, Washington, Washington. D.C. has a million things to do, but I especially recommend trips to the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorials and the Smithsonian Museum of American History. On campus, take a stroll down McKeldin Mall and maybe check out Cole Field House, the site of Texas Western's win over Kentucky in in 1966 and a future practice facility for the football team.
What should Rutgers fans watch out for or be aware of in College Park? Any tips on how RU fans should act and behave around UMd fans?
Alex: College Park has cleaned up its act in recent times, and there's no reason to be worried for your safety. Be respectful toward Maryland fans, and everyone should be respectful back. Are there a few misguided souls? Sure, but not too many.
On the Banks thanks Alex for his insights. Enjoy the game!