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Some view Maryland’s 2016 campaign a success in head coach DJ Durkin’s first season simply because the Terrapins got to a bowl game. But digging deeper, this team got blown out too many times for anyone to be proud of what they did. Their three Big Ten wins came against teams with two combined conference wins and they were blown out in every other conference game. With a more difficult schedule, even with improvement, Maryland may not get more than last year’s six wins.

The main thing for the Terps will be incorporating a new quarterback with Perry Hills gone. UNC transfer Caleb Henderson is whom everyone is talking about, but he doesn't have collegiate experience and he suffered an ankle injury in the spring so he missed the scrimmage. He’s competing with Tyrrell Pigrome and true freshman Kasim Hill, who doesn’t arrive until the fall. What doesn't help is that receiver is unknown outside of D.J. Moore (637 yards, 6 TDs), so someone will need to step up whether it’s Taivon Jacobs, D.J. Turner or someone else. Even so, this offense should still focus heavily on the ground game with all major players returning in Ty Johnson (1,004 yards, 6 TDs) and Lorenzo Harrison (633 yards, 5 TDs). Durkin hired a new offensive line coach early in the year, so the thought is maybe that will help the group gel to make this offense even more potent.

But even with an improved offense, the defense still has a long ways to go after an inconsistent 2016 season. Even though they allowed 29.0 points per game, the Terps gave up at least 28 in all of their losses with opponents reaching 36 points five different times. The Terps had a solid 38 sacks last season, but three of their starters are gone from the line. Freshmen may be required to see relevant time throughout the year, while senior Chandler Burkett takes the lead along with linebacker Jesse Aniebonam. The secondary is a mystery with a lot of early enrollees and inconsistent players from last season returning. After another high-scoring spring game (40-35), there’s no reason to believe this group will improve much from last year.

And without vast improvement, the Terps are going to have some issues with a difficult schedule starting with the opener at Texas. That should be a loss, while the UCF game isn’t a freebie after Maryland won that meeting in two OTs last year. The bigger problem is in the Big Ten with trips to Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin in three of their first four games. After somewhat of a break with must-win home games, the Terrapins close the season welcoming Michigan and Penn State, while traveling to East Lansing. With a loss in that Texas game, Maryland will need an upset somewhere in conference play to reach six wins and a bowl again.

Unsurprisingly, the Terps are +16000 (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) to win the Big Ten, projected to finish well behind everyone but Rutgers in the East division. And even if Michigan State is bad again, they still have to beat them on the road this season. With a new quarterback and mediocre defense, it’s going to be extremely difficult for the Terps to get more than six wins.

2017 Maryland Terrapins Football Schedule

Sept. 2 at Texas
Sept. 9 vs. Towson
Sept. 23 vs. UCF
Sept. 30 at Minnesota

Oct. 7 at Ohio State
Oct. 14 vs. Northwestern
Oct. 21 at Wisconsin

Oct. 28 vs. Indiana
Nov. 4 vs. Rutgers
Nov. 11 vs. Michigan
Nov. 18 at Michigan State
Nov. 25 vs. Penn State

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