Can Maryland realistically make it to a bowl game?
With four wins, the Terps need two more to become bowl eligible. Maryland has six games remaining, so the math appears promising.
I don’t usually predict future wins and losses game-by-game. Football (and life) is more complicated than that. Too many things happen in the course of a football season to try to forecast the outcome of a game that is a month or so away.
Maryland can win any game on its schedule. But, for convenience sake, let’s assume the Terps won’t win the contests against Florida State and Clemson. Those are the two nationally ranked opponents remaining on Maryland’s schedule. Maryland’s defense handled another ranked team with a potent offense (West Virginia) pretty well, but the Seminoles and Tigers are – at least this season – the best the ACC has to offer. Maryland will have to travel to Death Valley, where Clemson is so far unbeaten.
That leaves four games – N.C. State, Boston College, Georgia Tech, North Carolina – from which the Terps would need to extract two victories.
I’d look first at Boston College, which has lost five of six games – including one to Army.
I’d peek next at Georgia Tech. Yes, the Yellow Jackets are averaging 37.8 points. But the Terps will get them at Byrd Stadium, and Georgia Tech’s defense continues to give up unseemly quantities of points – more than 40 in each of the past three games.
It goes without saying that Maryland will make the arithmetic a lot easier if it can notch its fifth win on its homecoming this Saturday against N.C. State.
How does the group of players coming into Maryland next year as transfers or recruits compare to this year's group that Mark Turgeon brought in?
Don Markus: I think when the players Turgeon is adding for next year isn't quite as good as who he has this year, but a lot depends on where Xavier transfer Dez Wells fits in the equation.
Put Wells in a lineup with freshmen Shaquille Cleare, Jake Layman, Charles Mitchell and Seth Allen as well as transfer Logan Aronhalt and just by sheer number, they would have an advantage over incoming freshmen Roddy Peters and Damonte Dodd as well as Michigan transfer Evan Smotrzyc. But if Wells doesn't get his eligibility back from the NCAA for this year, next year's group would get the edge.
It's going to be interesting to watch the development of Layman and Allen in particular in regard to the group coming in next year.
Layman was recruited as a small forward because he was looked on as primarily a perimeter shooter. But he has already added 20 pounds and is up around 210. He told me last week that he now prefers to dunk over taking 3's and Turgeon has said that he expects Layman to get time at both forward positions.
Allen and Peters are similar athletically, but I get the feeling Allen is going to be the surprise of this year's recruiting class and might wind up as the starting point guard sooner rather than later. Allen seems to be able to play both in a halfcourt and transition game, while Peters right now is much better in the transition according to Eddie Jordan, the former Washington Wizards coach who coached Peters on the D.C. Assault this summer.
The X-factors for next year's group are Dodd and Smotrzyc.
Dodd was recruited as a project and is spending this year at a military academy near Harrisonburg, Va. He came to Maryland Madness last week and he looks bigger than either Cleare or Mitchell. I was impressed with what Dodd showed at the Capital Classic last April, mainly because he looked liked he was holding his own against players with bigger reputations.
The matchup between Aronhalt and Smotrzyc is hard to gauge, since they play different positions and the fact that the 6-3 Aronhalt will be there for one season as a graduate student and the 6-9 Smotrycz will be there for two. Given his experience and the lack of experience the Terps have going into this season, Aronhalt might be a more important addition than Smotrzyc will over his two years, but Smotrzyc will give the Terps the same outside shooting dimension.