It’s generally assumed that Maryland is going to have a pretty rough schedule during their first season in the Big Ten. After all, the Big Ten has a reputation of being a much better football conference than the ACC, Maryland’s former beau. But if we’re going by this Amway preseason coaches poll released on Thursday, it’s all relative.
Former ACC opponent and defending national champ Florida State topped the coaches poll this year, but we’re not focusing on that. The Terrapins failed to record a single vote in the poll, which is to be expected given their 7-7 finish last year and loss in the Military Bowl to Marshall. But the Big Ten received as many votes in the poll as the ACC, which ties them for last place:
Big Ten: 3
Ohio State (6), Michigan State (8), and Nebraska (22) are the lone representatives of the conference in the poll, and only two of those are on the Terps schedule. Sure, those two teams are really good, but how is that any different from having to play Florida State and Clemson every year? It’s kind of not.
Michigan (53 votes) and Iowa (49 votes) just missed the cut, but so did Miami, Duke and Louisville. They’d all have been on the schedule for Maryland, and again, just lends itself to the idea that the Big Ten isn’t as highly rated as their fans will swear to you it is. Yes, Michigan has a chance to get into the rankings early, giving Maryland another tough game and Iowa could as well given their easier schedule, but that’s all guesswork.
One thing to note is that Penn State isn’t on this list. The Terps get Penn State this year, but because of NCAA sanctions the Nittany Lions aren’t included on this list. There’s a good chance they would have been on here, however. So technically, the Big Ten has four teams, but it’s still behind the SEC and Pac-12.
Maryland certainly has their hands full and the Big Ten is going to be difficult, but the coaches think it may be a slight step up, not a B1G one.