The Maryland football team will play six of its 12 games at home this year and face West Virginia and Rutgers - two programs that combined for a 22-4 finish last season.
The Maryland schedule, released yesterday, has the Terps opening at Byrd Stadium on Sept. 1 against Villanova, a member of what the NCAA now refers to as the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA). The Wildcats have had one losing season in the past five, and finished 6-5 last year.
Maryland will then travel to Florida International on Sept. 8 for the second straight matchup against the Golden Panthers. FIU was winless last season, including a 14-10 loss to the Terps at Byrd Stadium, and made the most news for its October brawl with Miami players.
A Thursday night ESPN-televised game against West Virginia might carry more bragging rights this season, as the series will be put on hold in 2008 and 2009 in favor of Maryland's home-and-away series with California. The Mountaineers stung the Terps last fall, 45-24, after taking a 28-0 lead in the first quarter. West Virginia finished the season 11-2, including a win over Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl.
Maryland begins its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule Sept. 22 at Wake Forest - the program that handed the Terps their final loss of 2006 and kept Maryland out of the ACC championship game. The Terps then wrap up their nonconference season on the road against Rutgers, a team that garnered national attention with its 9-0 start last year and finished 11-2 with a win in the Texas Bowl.
Home conference games include Georgia Tech, Virginia, Clemson and Boston College. Three of Maryland's final four league games are on the road, including trips to North Carolina, Florida State and the season finale Nov. 24 at North Carolina State.
Duke, Miami and Virginia Tech are not on the Terps' ACC schedule this year.