Man, picking the ACC this season is tough. Many of us successfully picked the Terps in their last game against N.C. State. Bonus points for those who foresaw that the Wolfpack would make it close.
I see another close game with Virginia Tech.
Here's one reason why it's so difficult to call. We don't know yet whether dual-threat quarterback Tyrod Taylor (442 rushing yards) will play for the Hokies. N.C. State's Russell Wilson gave the Terps fits scrambling out of the pocket in the last game, and Taylor could do the same. But his bad ankle might limit him, even if he were to play.
Maryland running back Da'Rel Scott is questionable, too, with his sore shoulder.
I think Maryland is more confident and mature than the team that lost its two earlier night games on the road (Middle Tennessee, Virginia). Also, the stakes feel higher since there are only three regular-season games after this one and the Terps are clinging to the Atlantic Division lead. The Terps face two large obstacles.
* Virginia Tech's defense, which is adept at forcing turnovers (the Hokies are plus-10 in turnover margin). DB Victor Harris has four interceptions.
* Lane Stadium is a challenging place to play. Virginia Tech is 21-8 at home in night games, and has won 14 of 17 games overall on Thursday nights.
I think the winner is decided late. I'm going to pick Virginia Tech (I'll have a score prediction later) but kicker Obi Egekeze should stay ready because I won't be surprised if the Terps manage to pull this one out.
A loss, by the way, wouldn't prove fatal to the Terps, who come home for two games after this one. Maryland is fortunate to have Florida State on its schedule because that game gives the Terps an opportunity to hand a loss to one of its major rivals for the division crown.