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So what do you think of the Terps so far?

There are a couple ways to view the season ...

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The Rosy View

Remember that Maryland won two games a year ago. This season, the Terps are 5-2 and on the verge of becoming bowl-eligible. No, Maryland is not likely to go to the Orange Bowl this season, but improvement takes time. Progress is incremental, but visible.

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The Terps are an opportunistic team that has learned how to hang on and win. Yes, the defense often surrenders big yards between the 20s. But it is at the top of the conference in red-zone defense and is proficient at fourth-down stops. The Terps are plus-8 in turnover margin. All represent improvement.

One of the best things you can say about Maryland is that it appears to have found a quarterback in redshirt freshman Danny O'Brien who could be good for a long time. He is working behind a predominantly young offensive line. The line is not the quickest, and it has had to be reconfigured (again) this season due to injuries. But it should only improve in the next few years as players mature and promising linemen such as Max Garcia are added to the mix.

As Clint Eastwood might have said: "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do you feel optimistic?"

The Less Optimistic View

OK, you have to look at who Maryland has actually defeated. The ACC used to be one of the most balanced conferences in the country. Consider 2008, when all six teams in the Atlantic Division (including Maryland) finished either 5-3 or 4-4 in league play.

This season is different. The teams Maryland has defeated in the ACC (Duke and Boston College) are 0-8 in the league. The Terps will soon face Wake Forest and Virginia -- a combined 1-6.

The Terps did defeat Navy in Baltimore, but stumbled to the other two truly challenging teams it faced away from home -- Clemson and West Virginia.

Look, we know Maryland is improving. I consider the bottom line to be this -- how high can the Terps ultimately ascend? Does the foundation exist for them to climb higher than the 8-5 season of two years ago that ended with a Humanitarian Bowl win over Nevada? When will they be ready to compete with the Virginia Techs of the conference? I sense that is the question that Terps fans are asking most.

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