Big Ten Preview: Maryland Terrapins

To put it quite simply the University of Maryland is not known for having an exceptional football program.  In recent memory, they have made their name heard on the hardwood and not the Byrd Stadium turf.  Still, in 2013, Maryland became bowl eligible for the first time under head coach Randy Edsall before falling at the hands of the Marshall Thundering Herd.  If the Terps are unable to handle a team of Marshall’s caliber, the Terps may be in for a rude awakening when they open their inaugural Big Ten season.

Maryland faces a major upgrade in strength of schedule and arguably the toughest conference slate, highlighted by a visit from perennial power Ohio State as well as trips to Happy Valley (Penn State), Ann Arbor (Michigan), and Camp Randall (Wisconsin).

Strengths:  Thanks to an extra year of eligibility, quarterback C.J. Brown will return under center for the Terps.  This is integral for Maryland’s transition season as eight of their conference opponents will also retain their starting quarterbacks.  Even further, Brown’s main targets, wide outs Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, could be the best receiving duo in the Big Ten.  The offense certainly doesn’t lack the overall depth that may hurt the other side of the football.

Weaknesses:  The Terrapins have a very solid starting 11 on defense, but the lack of experience behind these players could hurt the team during the grind of the Big Ten schedule.

Also, the team lost a significant chunk of their offensive line from a season ago and will rely heavily on freshmen Derwin Gray and Damian Pierce.  Pierce, a five- star recruit, could potentially protect Brown’s blind side.  The lack of continuity within the line could be a major area of concern for newly hired offensive line coach Greg Studrawa.

Player to Watch: If you’re new to following Maryland there’s one name you should learn now and never forget: Stefon Diggs. The all-world receiver will be asked to do it all for the Terps in 2014 and expect him to excel in his first season since returning from a broken tibia.

Prediction:  Maryland appears to be a middle of the road team within the Big Ten.  Expect Maryland to be strong during September, but succumb to the brutally tough conference schedule.  Overall Record : 6-6