Prognosticators Pick Terps Last

Heather Dinich (the former Terps beat writer for the Sun) analyzed the top college football mags in her blog post on ESPN today.  I'll give you a quick summary: no one thinks the Terps are any good.  See for yourself:

1. Athlon
Atlantic:
1. FSU, 2. NC State, 3. Clemson, 4. Wake Forest, 5. Boston College, 6. Maryland
Coastal: 1. Virginia Tech, 2. North Carolina, 3. Georgia Tech, 4. Miami, 5. Virginia, 6.

2. Lindy's
Atlantic: 1. FSU, 2. Wake Forest, 3. Clemson, 4. NC State, 5. Boston College, 6. Maryland
Coastal: 1. Virginia Tech, 2. Georgia Tech, 3. North Carolina, 4. Miami, 5. Virginia, 6. Duke

3. Sporting News
Atlantic: 1. FSU, 2. NC State, 3. Wake Forest, 4. Clemson, 5. Maryland, 6. Boston College
Coastal: 1. Virginia Tech, 2. Georgia Tech, 3. North Carolina, 4. Miami, 5. Virginia, 6, Duke

4. Yahoo! Sports and rivals.com
Atlantic: 1. Florida State, 2. Clemson, 3. NC State, 4. Wake Forest, 5. Boston College, 6. Maryland
Coastal: 1. Virginia Tech, 2. Georgia Tech, 3. North Carolina, 4. Miami, 5. Virginia, 6. Duke

5. Phil Steele
Atlantic:
1. Clemson, 2. Florida State, 3. Boston College, 3. NC State, 5. Wake Forest, 6. Maryland
Coastal: 1. Virginia Tech, 2. Miami, 3. Georgia Tech, 4. North Carolina, 5. Virginia, 6. Duke

To recap, of the five magazines profiled, four picked Maryland to finish last in the Atlantic.  The fifth cut us a break and picked us to finish second to last.  (Thanks for the vote of confidence Sporting News.)

I have to say these predictions took me completely by surprise. From what I can remember, Maryland is coming off  two straight bowl seasons, returns a senior quarterback, and its entire backfield.

This is the same backfield that dominated much of the ACC last year.  Does anyone remember Da'Rel Scott?  He's the guy who finished second in the conference in rushing and eviscerated NC State.  The Terps also return Davin Meggett who had an excellent freshman campaign. How often do you hear about a team returning what is arguably the conference's best rushing game finishing last in their league?

Obviously, I see everything through Terp-colored glasses but it looks to me that these magazines have barely done any research in making their predictions.  It is simply impossible that the rest of the ACC has gotten so much better than a Terps team that by all accounts was on the rise last year.

I understand the criticism that our QB is inconsistent.  However, Chris Turner is a senior.  The team is his from day one and you have to think that he is poised to have his best season in a Terp uniform.  Another critique is probably that the Terps lost their best receiver; but anyone who followed the team last year knows that Darius Heyward-Bey barely got involved in the offense.  It was mind-numbingly frustrating, but his impact was actually minmal.  What's more, the Terps have oodles of young receiver who are ready to take the reins from DHB.

Defensively, the Terps were maligned for failing to blitz and playing "read and react" defense.  It is a virtual certainty that new defensive coordinator Don Brown's squad will be more aggressive.  The secondary sports four fifth-year seniors for Pete's sake!

If the oddsmaker's are using these magazines as a guage for where to set the over/under for win totals; I suggest that we all get on a flight and bet the over.  Mark the tape, the Terps will not finish last in the Atlantic Division and they will be going to another bowl this year.  I still think the Terps are headed for at least 8 regular season wins and maybe a 9th if things fall our way.

If we aren't the Rodney Dangerfield of the conference; I don't know who is.
Author: Jeremy | 7/13/2009 6:49:11 PM | Tags: football, predictions, respect |