The B1G is shaping up to be one of the premier conferences in college football this season. With a plethora of teams looking to contend for a B1G Title and even more hoping to lock in a bowl bid, we’re going to be running through what I believe will be the final B1G standings and how they’ll end up that way.
Maryland: 7-5 (4-5)
This was one of the most puzzling teams in college football last season, and I wasn’t necessarily sure where I wanted to rate them this season. Do I evaluate them by the peaks of their season (win over Texas and thriller vs. Ohio State), or by their deep deep valleys (35-14 loss to Temple, 23-0 loss to Iowa)? In the end, I decided to go somewhere in the middle. I really like this Maryland team, and think that Anthony McFarland Jr. has the chance to be one of the premier running backs in the country this season. With head coach Mike Locksley and offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery taking over this season, expect for the Terps to bolster their passing attack, as well as featuring the backs in facets other than just rushing the ball. Maryland will be rolling into week 1 with Virginia Tech grad-transfer Josh Jackson, hoping to replace the hole that was left by Kasim Hill.
Unfortunately for Maryland, the Terps are returning zero starters from their d-line, a bright spot for the defense last season. Finishing sixth in the B1G last season in run defense and 11th against the pass, the Terps must get things turned around quickly if they hope to make a bowl game in their first season under the new coaching regime.
As for their schedule, there are a few must-wins for Maryland, the main two for me being Syracuse and Penn State. The Nittany Lions are ranked #16 in the TTS Composite top 25, and syracuse missed the cut by just one vote, so both matchups would be upsets should the Terps be able to pull out wins. Games that I see no outcome in which Maryland comes out on top include matchups against Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Nebraska. As for “sure wins”, Maryland received the blessing of a fairly simple Western division draw as they take on Minnesota, Purdue, and of course the Cornhuskers of Nebraska. If they can win the games that they should, that being Minnesota and Purdue, then they remain with the chance to make a bowl game.
One game that could make or break Maryland’s season is their battle against Indiana. Last season, the Terps fell 34-32, to the Hoosiers, and I’m expecting this to be a game that throws a wrench in their plans of a bowl game. If they lose this, as I’m expecting, then they must win at least one of those two matchups against Penn State and Syracuse, as well as not falling to any of their weaker Western division foes.
This team has the potential to post a winning season for the first time since 2014, and I think that they will be able to do just that. The combination of a new coaching staff and the promise that I see in McFarland Jr. lead me to believe that the Terps will take care of business in 2019.