The State of the State: Maryland Look at College Football Futures

August 18, 2023

Is it time for the Terps to crawl past mediocrity?

© Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

On the heels of two winning seasons, Maryland football is trending upward.

The University of Maryland Terrapins football program is in a unique position. On one hand, they’re playing in one college football’s toughest conferences. Making matters worse, the Big Ten’s elite programs – Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State – aren’t going away anytime soon. On occasion, one of them will have a down year, but someone else can always fill the gap.

On the other hand, the Terps are fresh off back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2013-2014. In the past two years, they’ve amassed 15 wins, the most since 2002-2003. That’s encouraging.

Maryland isn’t ready to contend for a conference title, but there’s no doubt it’s trending upward.

Head coach Mike Locksley is in his fifth season with the Terps and it appears as if the new world of college football – the portal, NIL, roster overhauls – is suiting him well, as Maryland has had an influx of talent of late.

Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is worth watching, as he threw for over 3,000 yards last season. His touchdown passes (18) were down from the season before (26), so it’s reasonable to think he’s due for an uptick in production – especially considering the talent around him. His backfield is loaded with All-Big Ten selection Roman Hemby and the bruising Antwain Littleton, making for a thunder and lightning attack. Maryland had two receivers drafted into the NFL this spring, but coming in behind them will be Tyrese Chambers from FIU and Kaden Prather from West Virginia. Already at Maryland are WR Jeshaun Jones and TE Corey Duchess – Locksley’s top two yardage producers from 2021.

There’s a lot to like about the Terrapins as they get set to try and make it three winning seasons in a row. The list of concerns heading into the season include the offensive line (they’ve got to play better than last season), the pass rush (Maryland only logged 24 sacks last year with none in three of the last four games) and the conference in general. Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State were the only teams to put up more than 400 yards of offense on Maryland last season, a campaign that saw the Terps go 8-5 (4-5 in the Big Ten).

With the over-under coming in at one less win than last season, betting on the Terps to build on their recent momentum seems like a good gamble.

Bud Parmalee’s pick: Maryland over 7.0 wins (-140)

In looking at Maryland’s schedule, there are a handful of games that will truly determine their win total. Early home games against Towson, Charlotte and Virginia are gimmies. Games against Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State can be considered losses already. The total will be achieved (or not) at Michigan State (Sept. 23), Indiana (Sept. 30), Illinois (Oct. 14), at Northwestern (Oct. 28), at Nebraska (Nov. 11) and Rutgers (Nov. 25). Splitting those games for a push makes this bet virtually risk free; taking four-out-of-six certainly isn’t out of the question for the payoff.