As the Maryland football team prepares to play its second spring game under DJ Durkin, there is one obvious point that has to be made: The schedule the Terps will play in 2017 will be collectively tougher than the competition the offense and defense will face, respectively, come Saturday.
While Durkin hasn’t spoken publicly much about the schedule his young team will face in the fall, it’s been pretty clear that his first season was much more favorable for a positive result. Many believe the Terps will be fortunate to get close to being bowl-eligible as they were – barely - last season in finishing 6-7.
According to Athlon's list of the 25 most difficult schedules for college football reason, Maryland ranks at the top. Much has to do with playing in the Big Ten’s top-heavy East Division, but it also has to do with playing West Division teams Wisconsin and Minnesota on the road as well as opening the season at Texas.
It doesn’t even mention the ultimate trap game, when the Terps face Central Florida in College Park a week before the Big Ten opener against the Gophers. (Add to the fact that Maryland beat UCF in Orlando in double overtime last season.)
It also doesn’t mention the fact that Maryland will likely play more true freshmen than it did last year, when 16 first-year players got onto the field for the Terps, and that several of them could be playing key positions such as quarterback (Kasim Hill) and safety (Markquese Bell).
There’s no doubt Durkin will have a more talented team than he did a year ago, and it’s certainly possible that the Terps will also be a more competitive team. Given the schedule, there’s also a good chance that Maryland won’t come close to being bowl-eligible.
So Maryland fans should try to get out Saturday to see what the future might look like.
Just not the immediate future.
Red-White Spring Game
Saturday, 12:30 p.m.