Maryland surprised a lot of people in their first season as a member of the Big 10. The Terrapins finished 3rd in the Big 10 East behind Ohio State and Michigan State with a 4-4 record in conference play.
They also went 3-1 in non-conference play, with the only loss coming 37-40 at home to West Virginia. They received a difficult matchup against Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl and were beat 45-21 to end the year at 7-6.
Heading into what will be head coach Randy Edsall’s 5th year on the job, the expectations aren’t high going into 2015. Maryland loses 25 lettermen from last year’s team and has just 10 returning starters (6 offense, 4 defense).
Big Ten (East)
|9/26||@ West Virignia|
|10/10||@ Ohio State|
|10/24||Penn State (Baltimore)|
|11/14||@ Michigan State|
Estimated Wins: 5.18
*We take the win chance by using the college football win percentage chart for each point spread
The Terrapins improved from 26.2 ppg in 2013 to 28.5 ppg last year, but their yardage production dropped from 397 ypg down to 342 ypg. Most of their offense came from their passing attack, as they only managed 122 ypg (3.7 yards/carry) on the ground.
The offense figures to have an even harder time moving the ball in 2015, as they have to replace starting quarterback C.J. Brown. They do have a capable replacement in senior Caleb Rowe, who has seen action the last two years, but Brown was a major part of the running game. He led the team in both rushing yards (539) and rushing touchdowns (8).
So while they have their top two running backs returning in Brandon Ross and Wes Brown, the rush numbers don’t figure to improve all that much. Another troubling concern for the offense is they lose their dynamic duo at wide receiver in Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, who combined for 113 receptions, 1,367 yards and 7 touchdowns.
The offensive line isn’t in a whole lot better shape, even with 3 starters returning from last year. However, Maryland does have a number of highly touted freshman and sophomores who could end up forcing their way onto the field and potentially turn this unit into a strength.
The defense was a major disappointment last year, as the Terrapins went from giving up 25.3 ppg in 2013 to allowing 30.2 ppg, despite returning 9 starters on that side of the ball. Now they have just 4 starters coming back for the 2015 season, which has to be a major concern.
The biggest losses from last year come on the front 7. Maryland loses 3 starters up front on the defensive line, including 2nd-Team All-Big Ten defensive end Andre Monroe and talented nose tackle Darius Kilgo (6th round draft pick). They do get back junior defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (6 sacks) as well as senior defensive end Quinton Jefferson (13 starts in 2013, medical red-shirt last year).
If you think the losses along the defensive line are bad, it’s much worse at linebacker. Maryland doesn’t have a single starter back from last year and in total loses 104 career starts. That includes their #1 and #3 tacklers from last year in Cole Ferrand and L.A. Goree.
On the bright side of things, the Terrapins do get back 3 starters to a secondary that played well at times last year. Junior corner William Likely and senior safety Sean Davis are two of the better defensive backs in the Big 10. The big concern is whether or not this unit can be as productive with so little experience in front of them.
Regular Season Win Total
Big Ten East Odds
Big Ten Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes
*Odds updated live on our college football odds page
It’s easy to see why expectations are way down this season with what this team lost from last year on both sides of the ball. Oddsmakers certainly aren’t expecting much out of this team, as they went ahead and set their win total at 4.5 after they have won 7 regular season games each of the last two years.
I’m certainly not going to go out on a limb and pick Maryland to be a factor in the Big 10 in 2015. The only conference game they are expected to be favored in, is a home game against Indiana late in the year and that will be no easy victory.
The Terrapins have a great shot at opening 3-0 in non-conference play, but will likely lose at West Virignia, meaning they would need to win 2 conference games to eclipse their 4.5 win total. I don’t see that happening, as I have them going just 1-7 in the Big 10 to finish up at 4-8.
Big Ten (East)
Big Ten Record
Win Total Prediction
I asked some more experts on Maryland football what they thought about the Terps’ upcoming season. Here’s what they had to say.
OVER 4.5 – I believe that the Maryland Terrapins win eight or nine games in 2015. I think to say they win five games is a slap in the face. The Terps have brought in Daxx Garman for some veteran leadership at the quarterback position. There will be competition between Garman and Caleb Rowe for the starting spot but I think both are capable to lead this team in 2015. There is enough talent on this team to remain steady. They would just need to get wins against Ohio State, Michigan State and West Virginia. Wins against those teams would help their cause tremendously.
Looking forward to 2016 though, which is really what I’m most excited about, even though they lost out on the commitments of Devery Hamilton (Michigan), Elijah Johnson (Rutgers) and Carlos Basham (Wake Forest) recently, they still could make up for those losses. Five big names the Terps are still targeting in the 2016 class: Wide Receivers Trevon Diggs,Tino Ellis, offensive guards Terrance Davis and Richard Merritt and linebacker Keith Simms. All five of these guys would be huge pickups for the Terps, Diggs and Ellis in particular.
The Terps will be fine. There record will improve this upcoming season. 4-4 in the Big Ten wasn’t bad for their first season in that conference and that will improve too.
UNDER 4.5 Wins – The Terps won more than we expected last year getting to 7-5 in the regular season. However, they were outgained by an average of almost 100 YPG on the season and their point differential was -22 on the year. They finished 11th in the Big Ten in offensive YPG and 10th in the league in YPG defense. In other words, they probably didn’t deserve a winning record. This year they are massively depleted on both sides of the ball. Their offense loses starting QB Brown and their two playmaking WR’s Diggs & Long who combined for almost 1,400 yards receiving last year. The Terps return only 40% of their total yards and just 45% of their total tackles ranking them in the bottom 18 in both categories. Their 34 returning lettermen are the fewest of any team from a Power 5 conference. On top of all that, they have a brutal schedule this year. We rank it as the tough slate in the Big Ten. Once they get through their first three games (Richmond, Bowling Green, & USF) they hit the gantlet of opponents facing West Virginia, Michigan, Ohio St, Penn St, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan St in order. Thus, there is a very good chance they start the Big Ten with an 0-6 record. Last year this team played above their heads and we see a big drop this year after losing too much key talent. This number is low but we think the UNDER is worth a look.
OVER 4.5 – I would definitely take the over. I feel very confident in that choice. I like their chances against Richmond, Bowling Green and USF to open the season. I also believe they’ll beat Indiana and Rutgers.That gets you to 5 wins and I’m confident that they can get at least 1 win out of their 3 games against WVU, PSU and Michigan.