The beloved Big Ten Network had 101 questions for the Big Ten for the upcoming 2014 season, which begins in just 37 days for Maryland, but who’s counting? I break down each Terp-related question below. You can catch the full article here.
Can Maryland be a dark-horse in the uber-competitive East Division?
BY: The schedule certainly isn’t in its favor.
While Maryland certainly has the talent to immediately compete, I agree 100 percent that the reason Maryland may not become bowl eligible is because of their schedule. As we saw inconsistency last year from Maryland due to injuries to some marquee players, Maryland dropped some games that they shouldn’t have, notably Boston College and Syracuse. This year? Maryland plays Ohio State and Iowa at home and Wisconsin and Penn State on the road in consecutive weeks. After a one week bye, they host Michigan State then travel to Michigan. That’s three teams that finished in the top 25 in the final 2013 rankings, excluding Iowa who finished 32nd in the nation in the AP poll. Certainly, Maryland will have to bring their ‘A’ game each week. There are definitely easier games on the schedule, such as Indiana, James Madison, Rutgers, Syracuse and West Virginia. With that said, none of those games, with the exclusion of James Madison, are true “gimme” games. Indiana is known for their high-octane offense, and West Virginia will look to avenge last year’s 37-0 butt-whooping at M&T Bank Stadium. Yes, they can be a dark horse, but how they finish after the first five weeks will determine their bowl-eligible fate.
Which Big Ten newcomer is best equipped to succeed this fall: Rutgers or Maryland?
SM: I’m going to go with Maryland, if it can stay healthy. That has been an issue for this team.
Last year, Maryland had injuries that really hurt them in the second half of the season. Star receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long both went down in the same game, and from that point on, the offense looked much less explosive. This year, Maryland has more depth at the receiving position with Taivon Jacobs and Juwann Winfree able to make a big impact. Rutgers, on the other hand, isn’t quite at Maryland’s level talent-wise. Although a program on the rise, I expect Maryland to be notably better than the other incoming Big Ten team. I guess that will be settled in the season finale when former Terps head coach Ralph Friedgen returns to College Park as Rutger’s offensive coordinator.
Does any school have a tougher schedule than Rutgers?
SM: Nope. Although, Maryland’s schedule is no cake-walk either.
Like I said, home games of Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa at home and traveling to Wisconsin, Michigan and Penn State is far from easy. I’m not sure these players have ever experienced such rowdy fans as they will consistently experience in 2014.
Does Nebraska have the best set of receivers in the conference? Or is it Maryland?
SM: I think that award goes to Maryland. This team has five guys who caught 30-plus passes last season. Can you say “impressive.”
Led by Stefon Diggs, Deon Long, Levern and Taivon Jacobs, Juwann Winfree, Nigel King and Marucs Leak? Clown question, bro. This Maryland team has 2-3 NFL-ready receivers in their receiving corps. In my opinion, among the top ten in the country.
Could Maryland have the top offense in the Big Ten?
BY: Wouldn’t be a big surprise, although I could make a case for Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Led by sixth-year quarterback C.J. Brown, Maryland has so much depth at the running back position with the return of Wes Brown and the emergence of Jacquille Veii. We’ve mentioned just how good the receivers are, and with Damian Prince and Derwin Gray on the offensive line, Maryland definitely can have one of the best, if not the best, offense in the Big Ten. That is, until the Terps have to move a backup linebacker to quarterback.