1. MARYLAND WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN
New head coach Mike Locksley has just enough talent in place – and a schedule just good enough – to make anything less than a bowl trip a major disappointment.
But how quickly can the holes be filled?
The Terps have to come up with some new defensive ends, three new offensive linemen, a new punter, and a few parts in the secondary, and they have to be far more consistent on both sides of the ball while putting it all together.
Fortunately, the offensive backfield should be terrific. Virginia Tech transfer Josh Jackson is a massive position upgrade – he’s the best Terp quarterback since … ? – and the running backs are deep and talented. The questionable O line will be good enough as long as injuries aren’t an issue early on.
The defensive side will find the pressure in the backfield that’s been painfully missing over the last few seasons. The youth in the back seven will play a big role early on, but there will be games when the line gets gouged by a good running game. Even with all the inconsistencies the Terps will have to fight through, expect a more disruptive overall D.
Set The Regular Season Win Total At … 6
Winning early is a must with a brutal November with Michigan, at Ohio State, Nebraska and at Michigan State. Just winning one of those would be massive, but that means at least five wins have to come in the first eight games to go bowling.
The Terps will beat Howard, and if they’re any good, they should beat Indiana at home and Temple and Rutgers on the road – but that’s just four wins.
They’ll come up with a Texas-like upset somewhere along the way, and they’ll get that one extra win they couldn’t generate last season to get to six and bowl eligibility.
And then expect a much bigger 2020.