clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

B1G 2022 // Maryland Terrapins Cocktail Party

Is this the breakthrough year for Locksley’s Terps? What would that even require?

NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Virginia Tech at Maryland Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Did Maryland have a good season in 2021?

No, I’m asking - did they?

What Happened In 2021?

Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but September Maryland looked like a high-flying conference-contending dark horse. Beating a decent West Virginia team, notching a conference win over Illinois on the road, and dispatching weaker opponents in Howard and Kent State brought Mike Locksley’s third team in College Park to its best start yet heading into October.

Then, September ended, and contrary to Green Day’s anthemic urging, Maryland did not in fact wake up. Rather, in its last eight games, the Terps went 2-6, with those wins being over wounded Indiana and Rutgers in the last possible chance to secure a bowl bid.

Were they close to breaking through at any other point? No. Their margins of defeat in those losses were 37 (Iowa), 49 (Ohio State), 18 (Minnesota), 17 (Penn State), 19 (Michigan State), and 41 (Michigan). After the calendar turned to October, they held exactly one opponent under 30 points (Rutgers).

But! But. Maryland did get to its first bowl game since 2016, and even won that bowl, breaking a postseason losing streak dating back to 2010, by bludgeoning Virginia Tech in the Pinstripe Bowl. Now...even that win requires some context, as VaTech had fired Justin Fuente and by the time of this game, their starting and backup QBs had both left the program.

So...Trending Up, Trending Down, Or What?

I still don’t know, man. As you may have noticed, it’s not a Maryland fan writing this piece, and I have no earthly idea how they feel about this program’s position and direction. 2021 was one of the program’s better seasons since the heights of the Friedgen era, but that really just throws how miserable the 2010s were in College Park into sharp relief.

It’s the first bowl win in over a decade; it’s also a team that was competitive in exactly three conference games, and did not stay within two scores of anyone else in the league.

They found a very good, generally underrated quarterback in Taulia Tagovailoa, but he also played them out of the Iowa game immediately.

They bring back a very experienced defense between their returners and a few transfers, but it’s a unit that got absolutely shredded more often than it played decently last year.

Locksley has kicked their recruiting into a gear they haven’t experienced before, but they’ve also lost steam on that front and critical pieces of those stellar classes aren’t sticking around.

So College Park is a land of contrasts as we sit here today; fair enough. What should we expect for this fall?

Schedule

September 3rd: vs Buffalo

September 10th: @ Charlotte

September 17th: vs SMU

September 24th: @ Michigan

October 1st: vs MSU

October 8th: vs Purdue

October 15th: @ Indiana

October 22nd: vs Northwestern

October 29th: BYE

November 5th: @ Wisconsin

November 12th: @ Penn State

November 19th: vs Ohio State

November 26th: vs Rutgers

It really feels as though, to have any shot at a bowl game whatsoever, Maryland needs a 2-2 month of October. Because after that Northwestern game, there doesn’t appear to be a realistic W on the slate until Senior Day, against a Rutgers team that ought to be trying to secure a bowl bid itself that day. The Vegas odds I’m looking at set the O/U at 5.5, which feels about right.

Poll

Maryland will finish 2022 with:

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    8+ wins
    (21 votes)
  • 28%
    7 wins
    (50 votes)
  • 28%
    6 wins
    (51 votes)
  • 23%
    5 wins
    (42 votes)
  • 7%
    4 wins or fewer
    (13 votes)
177 votes total Vote Now