After a 6-18 start to the Randy Edsall era, he enters his third season at the helm in College Park with his job on the line in what will be Maryland’s final year in the ACC before joining the Big 10.
The good news is that Edsall changed last year, showing more humility and backing off his drill sergeant persona. He’s much more likeable now, and combine that with the fact that Maryland has arguably its most talented team in the past few years and things are looking up in College Park.
The Terps won just two games in Edsall’s first year but won four last season despite starting a linebacker at quarterback for half the season. If not for the rash of injuries at the quarterback position, it’s very possible Maryland would have won six to eight games and made it to a bowl.
Of course, the best news of all is that the Terps head into the season with plenty of depth at quarterback and hopefully won’t have to turn to linebacker Shawn Petty this year. C.J. Brown is 100 percent after tearing his ACL and ready to lead the Terps back to a bowl game.
Brown is a dual threat quarterback who could emerge on a national scale if things break right. He has two fantastic weapons at his disposal in Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, and there is plenty more talent at the wideout position. The key for Brown will be staying healthy and being given enough time by his shaky offensive line to get the ball to his weapons.
The offense will only go so far as the offensive line will allow it. The group has not been impressive in spring practice or training camp and is of significant concern entering the season.
The Terps are going to need to score points this year because they lost a lot of key players on the defensive side of the ball, particularly the defensive line and at linebacker. It remains to be seen whether the Terps can replace stalwarts like Joe Vellano, A.J. Francis, Kenny Tate and Demetrius Hartsfield.
There is more good news when it comes to Maryland’s schedule, which features a lot of winnable games. Contests at Florida State and Virginia Tech are always tough and the Terps will host national title contender Clemson, but the rest of the slate is pretty easy.
The final showdown with Virginia will be of particular importance given that a few recruits are currently choosing between the Cavaliers and Terps. West Virginia has given the Terps fits in recent years but lost a lot of talent from last year’s squad. The rest of the schedule features weak out-of-conferences foes and ACC teams that are mediocre at best.
Given the athletic department’s budget challenges, Edsall probably only needs to improve from last year’s win total to keep his job. That seems like a lock given the easy schedule, and I actually see the potential for a surprisingly high number of victories. As long as Maryland stays healthy at the key positions, they will be bowling once again and could win as many as nine games in the regular season.
Schedule and predictions
Sat, Aug 31 vs Florida Int 12:30 PM ET – Win
Sat, Sept 7 vs Old Dominion 4:00 PM ET – Win
Sat, Sept 14 @ Connecticut 7:30 PM ET – Win
Sat, Sept 21 vs West Virginia TBD – Win
Sat, Oct 5 @ #11 Florida St TBD – Loss
Sat, Oct 12 vs Virginia TBD – Win
Sat, Oct 19 @ Wake Forest TBD – Win
Sat, Oct 26 vs #8 Clemson TBD – Loss
Sat, Nov 9 vs Syracuse TBD – Win
Sat, Nov 16 @ Virginia Tech TBD – Loss
Sat, Nov 23 vs Boston College TBD – Win
Sat, Nov 30 @ NC State TBD – Win