ESPN recently took a look back and then looks forward on what it considers to be the football Terps’ signature win of 2015 and what it thinks will be the game to circle on our 2016 schedules.
It’s hard to argue with Rutgers being the Terps’ signature win of 2015. It was our only in-conference victory, and our only win against a Power 5 opponent.
I suppose one could look at Maryland’s single point loss to Penn State, or only losing to Wisconsin by a touchdown, but ultimately a loss is a loss and a win is a win.
The Rutgers win might also qualify as a rivalry win, as one of our two geographically closest in-divison opponents, and a team that scored an upset victory against the Terps in 2014 with the help of former Terrapins head coach Ralph Friedgen, who was serving as the offensive coordinator of the Scarlet Knights that year.
One would like to think that we are above Rutgers’ level, but we’re going to have to do better than 3-9 and stop losing to them before we can even think of putting that one to bed. In the early going of the two teams’ tenure in the Big Ten, it’s an I-95 corridor rivalry.
ESPN cites the Ohio State game as one to watch next year, mentioning the way we admirably stuck with them in the first half of last year’s game. Oddly, the Dwayne Haskins thing and the Urban Meyer-DJ Durkin student-teacher dynamic is not mentioned, but you could figure those factors in also in making the case.
The flipside is its hard to circle a game on the calendar that’s not likely to be competitive. It’s a good one to circle if only to remember to get your antiHaskins chants, jeers, and signs ready, though, I suppose. It should be easy for him to hear it from the Buckeyes’ bench. That’s assuming he shows up, of course. Redshirts sometimes don’t travel. 🙂
A more realistic upset opportunity might be Penn State on October 8th. That could turn out to be, when we later look back on it, the game that either made us bowl eligible or didn’t. We play three non-power five teams in the first three weeks. Obviously, no game is a gimee (See last year’s Bowling Green game), but Maryland should be favored in all three matchups. Then later scattered throughout the rest of the scheduke there are three potentially winnable conference games against Rutgers, Indiana, and Purdue that could go either way. Win all six, and we’re bowl eligible. However, a loss in any of those games, or a crowded field of bowl eligible teams, might mean we have to score an upset elsewhere to get in, with Penn State, probably Maryland’s most hated in-conference rival, and whom Maryland beat at Penn State in 2014, being a prime candidate.