This is part four of a 12 piece series examining all 12 ACC school’s 2012 schedule and making predictions based on returning players and incoming talent.
Today we will focus on the Maryland Terrapins. The Terps were a major disappointment last year under first year head coach Randy Edsall. They finished the season with a 2-10 record, and their offseason couldn’t have been much worse. Players transferred out of Maryland at an alarming rate, making many Terrapins fans question whether Edsall was worth it. Despite the fact that Edsall is only entering his second season at the helm, he is firmly on the hot seat. Maryland’s 2012 schedule won’t help that fact.
In week 1 Maryland takes on FCS school William & Mary. The Terps will be expected to win this game and it shouldn’t be close (predicted Maryland record 1-0). Maryland plays Temple in week 2, last season the Owls were able to win in College Park in blowout fashion. The score was 38-7, and it is hard to predict a different conclusion this season. The game is in Philadelphia, and Maryland is coming in with an inexperienced team (Maryland record 1-1).
Things get interesting in week 3. Maryland takes on Randy Edsall’s former team, Connecticut. This game is in College Park, but Connecticut has all the motivation. When Edsall left UConn he did so in a way that made people around the country angry. He didn’t even give his players the courtesy of a meeting or even a phone call, he did it via text. UConn will win this game (Maryland record 1-2).
The Terrapins’ then take on new Big 12 member West Virginia. Last season’s game between these two was a shootout with Maryland coming up just short (the score was 37-31). This season the game is in Morgantown, and simply put West Virginia is just a more talented team. The Mountaineers are the defending Orange Bowl champs and they were able to put up 70 points against Clemson. Maryland doesn’t have much of a chance in this game (Maryland record 1-3).
Maryland then has a bye week before heading into conference play. The Terps first ACC game comes against Wake Forest. This will be the Terrapins best chance at a win since week 1. Maryland might actually be more talented than the Demon Deacons, but that didn’t matter last season. Wake beat Maryland in 2011 31-10. Unlike last year, this is a home game for Maryland so it will be closer this year and may yield a different result. Fans should harness the power of positive thinking (Maryland record 2-3).
The Terps then head to Charlottesville to take on the Virginia Cavaliers. UVa was a major overachiever last season, but they will take a step back due to a loss of seniors. This will be a close game, but the game’s location will determine the outcome (Maryland record 2-4). Maryland then has a home game against N.C. State. The Wolf Pack will win this game because they have the better quarterback in Mike Glennon (Maryland record 2-5).
Randy Edsall will then take his team up to Alumni Stadium to take on Boston College. The Eagles were fellow underachievers last season with a 4-8 record, but one of their four wins was a 28-17 victory over the Terrapins. This game should be closer than last year but with the same result (Maryland record 2-6).
Maryland will then enter a very difficult three week stretch against Georgia Tech, at Clemson and Florida State. Last year the Terps gave the Yellow Jackets a game, the final score was 21-16, but Edsall doesn’t have a whole lot of experience defending the triple option. GT is coming into this season with a senior quarterback, Tevin Washington, and by this point in the season that offense will be humming. It is hard to see Maryland making a game out of this one (Maryland record 2-7).
The Terrapins next two games shouldn’t even be close. Maryland played a thriller against Clemson last season (score 56-45), but the Tigers will have a better defense this season under new defensive coordinator Brent Venables. Maryland will not fare well in Death Valley (Maryland record 2-8). Florida State is Maryland’s next opponent and if last year’s score is any indication (score was 41-16) this will be an embarrassment. The Seminoles will have an easy win (Maryland record 2-9).
Maryland’s final game will be the last game for the regular season. It will also be the last game for their opponent North Carolina. The Tar Heels will be serving a one-year bowl ban in 2012, so as far as these two teams are concerned it is a bowl game. Both of these teams have young talent, but this game is being played in Chapel Hill. Maryland doesn’t have much of a shot at the upset, and will finish with a 2-10 record for the second straight season.
If Maryland does in fact end the season with a 2-10 record, it is unlikely that Randy Edsall will be the head coach in 2013. The Terrapins appear to have brought this on themselves with the firing of Ralph Friedgen a couple of years ago.