Maryland Faces New Challenges In Big Ten
By James Ferguson
The Maryland Terrapins are making the move to the Big Ten next season, where they will compete in the East Division against the likes of Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State.
Good luck with that.
The Terps depart the ACC after 60 years with their share of memories, including a national championship in 1953, nine ACC titles and nine bowl wins in 20 appearances. More recently, they have produced such stars as Shawne Merriman, D'Qwell Jackson, Vernon Davis, Darius Heyward-Bey and Torrey Smith.
The most famous players to wear a Maryland jersey are Randy White and Boomer Esaison, while the Terps' comeback from 31-0 at halftime against Miami in 1984 remains among the greatest in college football history. But there have definitely been ups-and-downs. The Terps endured 33 losing seasons, and from 1986 to 2000 produced only two winning campaigns.
Perhaps a change of scenery is for the best. Unfortunately, entering one of the most powerful conferences in the FBS will not be an easy task. The problem for Maryland will probably occur on the offensive side of the ball, as they had a total of 5,100 yards in 2013, which would put them as seventh best in all of the Big Ten. They will have to make their offense more dominant, as they ranked 83rd in all of college football in rushing yards per game and 85th in points for in all of the FBS. Rushing defenses in the Big Ten didn't give up yards on the ground easily in 2013, which will also create a bigger problem for Maryland.
Maryland will face flashy offenses and playmakers such as Ohio State's Braxton Miller and Michigan's Devin Gardner more often. Maryland's defense made 37 sacks in 2013, which ranked third in all of the ACC, so they might be able to put pressure on the big name quarterbacks in the Big Ten. The good news is that the Terps won't have to face Florida State's Jameis Winston and they will be a more attractive place to play in the eyes of big-time recruits.
The challenge to win will be enormous for coach Randy Edsall in the Big Ten as his team also travels to Wisconsin and Penn State in its inaugural season. The new atmosphere will produce plenty of highs and lows for a program that spent 60 years running a slow and steady race. Now, however, they will need to make a real name for themselves, instead of only being known for having flashy uniforms.