Rumored Black Turtle Shell Maryland Turf & The Ongoing Influence of Swag


I was writing a season preview on the Big Sky Conference in the summer of 2010, as Eastern Washington University was installing a bright red field turf at Roos Field. Later dubbed “The Inferno,” it was a sort of kitschy item to include, so I asked a few coaches their thoughts.

Former Montana head coach Robin Pflugrad joked that Grizzly Stadium would install silver and maroon turf that he said, “looks like a Diet Coke can.”

He was kidding, but others are serious about standing out with unique fields. A year after EWU introduced The Inferno (and won the national championship), Central Arkansas distinguished itself with a purple and gray field. The Bears had their own turn of good luck with the swagged-out field, earning a bid to the NCAA Playoffs in one of their first years of Division I eligibility. Hey, with EWU and UCA both having success immediately after installing unique turf, maybe there’s something to it?

Perhaps that’s enough to convince struggling Bowl Subdivision programs to follow suit. After all, the originator of specially colored turf, Boise State, has thrived using its Smurf Turf as a recruiting pitch.

Barstool Sports has details on a possible black-with-turtle-shell-print turf coming to Maryland’s Byrd Stadium. The Terrapins wore a white/turtle print helmet (among others) in 2011. Under Armour used Maryland as its fashion plate to unveil unique looks last season, a la Nike’s relationship with Oregon. Indeed, uniforms are becoming an increasingly significant recruiting tool. Programs roll out specialty looks for big games, new helmets, countless alternates; perhaps the thought is that the same principle could apply to turf.

Oregon (who else?) tested the waters with its basketball court; perhaps Autzen Stadium is soon to be decorated with turf akin to the forest themed hardwood of Matt Knight. Likewise, Texas A&M has its basketball floor branded with an obscenely large image of Texas. As the Lone Star State’s sole SEC representative, the Aggies can remind all who visit Kyle Field of the fact with a similar logo.

Of course, if Maryland builds on the trend BSU started, what’s the next step? Uniform swag is becoming somewhat passe, so we’re left to wonder what might happen if the same became true of field turf. Solid gold cheerleaders a la Goldfinger? Permanent body paint for the student section? Perhaps some sort of firework that pimps out the color of the sky directly over the stadium. Imagine how much more intimidate Bryant-Denny Stadium becomes under an actual crimson sky.

I’m copyrighting these ideas, by the way.