Seems like a good time to look back to a time before the financial markets went haywire, New York Mets fans were blissfully unaware of another looming collapse and Sarah Palin was just another hockey mom from Wasilla, donchyaknow.
That would be late August. I remember after posting 10 predictions for Maryland’s season and quickly finding out about Palin’s vice presidential prospects. What a wild ride it’s been since then.
I meant, of course, for Maryland (well, Palin, too). Anyway, here are those predictions revisited; let’s see if I remotely knew what I was talking about heading into the season.
If it turns out that answer “not much at all,” you’ll have to let me get back to you as to why that’s the case.
1. Multiple quarterbacks will start multiple games. After all that preseason insistence on my part, it’s going to take an injury or a complete implosion to be right on this one. It’s Chris Turner’s team, and he was on the field for all but five plays on Saturday. Maryland false-started on two of those.
Jordan Steffy won’t be back until after the bye at the earliest, and thumb injuries are tough to overcome. Looks like Turner’s the guy going forward.
2. Da’Rel Scott will rush for 1,000 yards. This looked good for a few weeks. Then Scott missed a game with an injury and struggled last week against Clemson. But he’s still at 446 yards, and should have a decent chance to hit four figures if he can roll up a couple more big games.
3. The greatest worry spot will be defensive line. It probably would remain this way if Maryland’s cornerbacks didn’t keep getting hurt. The loss of the team’s top two reserves at corner is unquestionably the biggest worry for a unit yielding 253.6 yards a game – 102nd in the country.
4. A Maryland linebacker will rank in the top three in the ACC in tackles. Alex Wujciak is fourth in the conference on a per game basis, so this could very easily turn out to be true.
5. The Terps will struggle in their showcase road games. Oops. One showcase road game down, and one victory in the books. Granted, Maryland didn’t exactly play well in Death Valley. But struggling and losing ugly is different than struggling and winning ugly.
6. At season’s end, Maryland will not have more than two players on the all-ACC first team. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. It would be no surprise, given how things are unfolding, to have maybe one first-teamer and then six or seven second-teamers. The Terps are still a team devoid of stars, even with a 4-1 record.
7. Darrius Heyward-Bey will come close to securing Maryland’s second 1,000-yard receiving season. He’s only at 250 yards right now, so there’s some work to do to get anywhere near 1,000. Chances are, Hey-Bey has at least one monster game in him.
8. Dan Gronkowski will match his career receptions total (11) by the end of September. Almost. Gronkowski has 10 receptions through five games, so while the prediction is not entirely accurate, it’s close.
9. Maryland’s TD passes and interceptions will both increase. Maryland is two touchdowns shy of its total from last year (nine) and is just four interceptions away from matching its total of 11 in 2007. Seems like a good bet both numbers will be surpassed.
10. Maryland will either go 8-4 or 7-5 and land in the Music City Bowl. Probably thinking closer to 8-4 at this juncture, and that could mean a better spot than the No. 5 choice in the ACC’s pecking order. So much depends on which teams are available, but every win the Terps notch makes this look more like a baseline achievement rather than a decent projection.
– Patrick Stevens