William & Mary, Sept. 1
Pssst, nobody wants to talk about it, but
enters the season with an eight-game losing streak hanging around -- like a nagging cold -- from last year. No win is guaranteed, but the largely inexperienced Terps and their coaches are likely happy to open the year against a
team rather than a major-conference team like California, which routed Maryland, 52-13, in the 2009 opener. William & Mary lost its all-time rushing leader, Jonathan Grimes, and is picked seventh in the CAA by the media.
For Maryland fans, last year's 38-7 loss to Temple at Byrd Stadium was a Wes Craven horror movie. Can the Terps exact revenge? At least Maryland won't have to contend with Owls running back
, who scored five touchdowns in the game and is now with the Ravens. Temple, now in the
, has Montel Harris at tailback, a
transfer who has rushed for more than 3,700 yards in his career.
was the Huskies' coach before coming to College Park, Connecticut set up this contest against Maryland. Now, Edsall is on the other sideline, ready to face his former team, which is picked to finish sixth in the Big East by media members.
The Terps' toughest nonconference challenge comes in the final game before conference play begins. When Maryland locked into a long-term series with its border rival, the Terps didn't know the Mountaineers — led by quarterback Geno Smith and receiver-returner
(Dunbar) — would be so potent and a member of the
Wake Forest, Oct. 6
Maryland had just one victory in the
last season (
) and here is a chance — at home — to record one early. The Demon Deacons were picked fourth in the Atlantic Division by ACC media members. The Terps need to watch redshirt junior wide receiver
(River Hill), who had 73 catches last season.
Don't get me started on how the Terps don't have a true football rival. Virginia is as close as it gets, and the Cavaliers walloped Maryland, 31-13, last season. Quarterback Michael Rocco, who passed for 307 yards in that game, returns to test the Terps' new 3-4 defense.
N.C. State was not bowl-eligible until coming back from 27 points behind in the third quarter to beat the Terps in last year's regular-season finale. N.C. State — whose athletic director, Debbie Yow, held the same position for 16 years at Maryland — often seems to play dramatic games with the Terps. The challenge for Maryland will be stopping Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon, who passed for more than 3,000 yards and threw 31 touchdown passes last season.
at Boston College, Oct. 27
Not to get off point, but do they still serve that creamy clam chowder in the press box at Alumni Stadium? It's hardly diet fare, but sometimes you've got to say, "What the heck!" The Eagles-Terps matchup this season can't be any worse than last year's Boston College win in the rain and snow that was witnessed by an announced crowd of 29,945 but appeared to be about one-third that size at Byrd Stadium. The Eagles raised hopes for 2012 by beating N.C. State and Miami late last season.
Former Navy coach Paul Johnson will return to the state of Maryland with Georgia Tech's dangerous triple option. His quarterback, Tevin
, is a year older and the Yellow Jackets' running game is as menacing as ever. But Georgia Tech lacks experienced receivers.
Maryland will head to Death Valley for what appears to be its most challenging conference road game of the season. Clemson remains loaded offensively, but is the Tigers' defense suspect? Last year's senior linemen —
and Rennie Moore — are gone and the Tigers may struggle to plug in replacements on the fly.The Terps — who often struggled to score last season — managed 45 points in a loss to Clemson.
Last year was supposed to be Florida State's year, but the Seminoles failed to meet the high expectations. However, the bulk of the defense returns this season. Florida State's defense is one of the few in the ACC that will be able to hold its own in a conference suddenly rich with experienced quarterbacks.
After a series of football-related scandals in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels are set to actually play football. First-year head coach Larry Fedora and returning quarterback Bryn Renner will try to start anew.