Time for some Terps football predictions

The Baltimore Sun

It’s time to take a deep breath and make some predictions. I do this occasionally against my better judgment. I said in a recent post that there is already enough material online that is less than certain, and I don’t need to add to the morass. I want people to believe what they read here.

But sports are meant to be fun. So – with the caveat that this is educated guesswork – here are some predictions for Maryland football in the upcoming season.

** How many games will the Terps win this season?

Maryland won two games in 2011 and four games in 2012. So it doesn’t take a math major to spot the trend and calculate how many it will win in 2013.

I’m kidding, of course, but only somewhat. It’s not a coincidence that Maryland’s victory total is steadily (but not dramatically) increasing. The program is recruiting better athletes and growing accustomed to a coach now entering his third season.

Remember that the Terps were a promising 4-2 last season before missing a 33-yard field-goal attempt with two seconds left in North Carolina State's 20-18 victory. Plagued by injuries, the Terps didn’t win another game after that.

So I would predict Maryland’s victory total as “six-plus,” which sounds like a clothing size. Seven wins would not surprise me. With an abundance of solid “skill position” players, I know the football program believes it can do better than that, and it would be fun for Terps fans if the team overachieved in its final season in the ACC.

Note that I’m not making any assessments yet about what lies ahead in the Big Ten in 2014. That schedule presents a whole new set of challenges. But first things first.

As it strives for its first bowl game appearance since 2010, consider that Maryland will be running essentially the same offense and defense — with the same coordinators — as last season. That hadn't happened during all of the changes of the preceding three years.

The lack of continuity tells you a couple things:

* That this has been a program utterly in transition.

* That the team may now finally benefit from familiarity with offensive and defensive schemes and a better understanding of what is expected of it by coaches.  

A few more football predictions:

** Maryland’s return game will be its strength. Stefon Diggs is among the best in the country. He will only be helped by the arrival of Will Likely and Deon Long to complement him.

** The Terps will be improved offensively – that’s a safe prediction since last season’s scoring output was so limited by injuries. But a number of games in 2013 will come down to whether Brad Craddock can convert field goals in the final minutes.

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