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Should the Terps football team be nationally ranked?

It was the end of the 2010 season, and Maryland was trying to make a point.

The Terps were coming off a 2-10 record in 2009. Then-Terps coach Ralph Friedgen felt his team had something to prove.

So it meant something when Maryland beat a ranked North Carolina State team (behind four touchdown catches by wide receiver Torrey Smith) in the regular-season finale.

The Terps cracked the Associated Press rankings at No. 23 at the end of that season after they beat East Carolina in the Military Bowl.

That’s the last time Maryland’s football team was in the Top 25.

This week, the Terps (4-0) received 24 votes in the AP poll, placing them 28thin the country. Maryland is coming off a 37-0 victory over West Virginia that earned it some attention. The Terps are also collecting votes in the USA Today coaches' poll.

Some fans wonder if the Terps should be ranked.

Here’s the thing about the national rankings -- they mean a lot more at the end of the season (such as 2010) than at the beginning. In a season’s early stages, polls are semi-educated guesswork. Since there’s not much of a body of work, the rankings are largely extrapolation.

That’s why I wouldn’t put too much stock in Maryland’s current standing. Coach Randy Edsall says he doesn't pay much attention to such things this time of year.

We have a sense this season that Maryland is good. After losing the last six games of 2012, it’s fun for the program to even be in the conversation about rankings.

But it’s hard to know where to position a team until it has played one or two teams in the Top 25 -- or close to it.

The Terps have done everything asked of them this season. It’s not the players’ fault that the schedule has not tested them much so far.

That’s about to change.

After its bye week, Maryland plays No. 8 Florida State on Oct. 5 in Tallahassee, Fla., where the Terps have never won. Three weeks later, No. 3 Clemson comes to College Park.

By then, we’ll know a lot more about where the Terps should rank.

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