'Dog days

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An interesting tidbit that came up this week is that Maryland is a 21 (or 21 1/2, depending on where you look)-point underdog for its Sept. 5 visit to California.

And with that, it is time to channel Phil Steele.

Seriously.

After all, Steele has 20 years worth of point spreads on his website. With a little digging, it wasn’t too hard to come up with Maryland’s recent history.

And should this spread hold up, it will mark the biggest Maryland has faced since a 2000 trip to Clemson, when the Tigers were favored by 31 1/2.

Which means, of course, it would be the largest of coach Ralph Friedgen’s tenure.

The largest to date (according to Steele) was a 19.5-point spread at Clemson in 2006. The Terps won 13-12.

The second-largest to date was an 18.5-point spread at Rutgers in 2007. The Terps won 34-24.

In all, Friedgen’s teams have been double-digit underdogs on 14 occasions. The Terps’ actual record in those games? That would be 5-9. Against the spread, it’s 7-7.

One last nugget before ending this “for informational purposes only” entry: Maryland’s most severe underdog day of the last 20 years came in 1993, when Florida State entered Byrd Stadium as a 45-point favorite and left with a 49-20 victory.

Patrick Stevens

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