The Washington Times - August 31, 2012, 12:30PM

One of the surprises from Thursday’s session with Randy Edsall was the Maryland coach’s willingness to delve deep into the program’s future schedules.

Credit to Edsall on this one. Maryland’s previous administration tended to guard most future scheduling items as state secrets (notable exceptions: the one-off deals with Navy and the the 2010 extension of the series with West Virginia).

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There’s a good chance Maryland sticks to a Big-Medium-Small philosophy in the near future – a power conference opponent, a I-A foe from outside of the five strongest conferences and a I-AA – though variations will probably exist. There’s also a nifty dance with the contractual requirements Maryland claims it must meet.

To specify: In separate interviews within the last week or so, both Edsall and athletic director Kevin Anderson have said Maryland must have six home games each season. According to a copy of the 2006 field naming rights deal (obtained in an open records request), Maryland must refund money to what was then Chevy Chase Bank (since acquired by Capital One) only if there are fewer than five home games.

So what makes six the minimum? It could be the language in the individual suite contracts. Or it might be something else. There’s no reason for Maryland to claim it has stricter demands than one contract might suggest unless it really does. In any case, given Maryland’s financial issues, it needs to have at least six home games to generate revenue.

Anyway, here’s a year-by-year rundown; feel free to guess where possible future games against Central Florida, James Madison, Old Dominion and Rutgers might fall:

2013

West Virginia (in Baltimore), at Connecticut, TBA

It’s an odd-numbered year, which in the ACC’s new nine-game league schedule means all the Atlantic Division teams will get five home games. Toss in the remaining undetermined opponent, and that’s six home games.

The West Virginia game is one of two Maryland has moved to M&T Bank Stadium in the next few years (2014 Virginia Tech is the other). The Connecticut game is the back end of a home-and-home that begins this year.

2014

West Virginia, TBA, TBA

There’s only four league home games, and the Virginia Tech contest is in Baltimore. So to reach six home games, the two remaining TBAs have to be played in College Park.

One other thought: With three nonconference home games, Maryland is likely to play half of its home games in September

2015

Richmond, Bowling Green, at West Virginia

This sets up to be a seven-game home schedule, According to Bowling Green, this is the first of a 2-for-1 that might have to be revisited. All three of these games were known before yesterday’s session.

2016

Howard, at West Virginia, TBA

Maryland had never played Morgan State before 2010. It had never faced Towson before 2011. Now, it can cross Howard off the list of local I-AAs it has not encountered in football. That was one the one signed contract revealed yesterday.

Since it’s an even-numbered year, that TBA is going to have to be in College Park to get to six home games.

2017

West Virginia, at Texas, TBA

This would be a good place to drop in a road game. Five league home games plus West Virginia give Maryland a little more flexibility.

2018

vs. Texas (FedEx Field), TBA, TBA

A game at FedEx Field does not count as a home game. That means those two TBAs will have to be in College Park based on the current rules Maryland faces. As a result, the 2018 game at Bowling Green probably doesn’t happen that particular year. It will also be interesting to see what happens with the West Virginia series; the Mountaineers might have to come to Maryland in back-to-back years to avoid a hiatus in the regional rivalry, which has been played all but two years since 1980.

So that leaves a few housekeeping items worth taking note of that didn’t get broached yesterday …

* Navy. Maryland’s 2005 and 2010 games with the Midshipmen in Baltimore were popular locally. But with the Terps going to nine league games and Navy joining the Big East in 2015 (while also expected to play Air Force, Army and Notre Dame out of conference), it might be a while before there’s another Crab Bowl because of obligations for both schools.

* Temple. Maryland is in the second year of a four-game deal with Temple; the Owls won in College Park last year, and the Terps make a trip to Philadelphia next week. Considering Temple was not mentioned in any way yesterday, it seems safe to assume the second half of that deal will either get rescheduled or dropped altogether.

* Rhode Island. Maryland was originally scheduled to play the Rams as their I-AA game in 2013, but Rhode Island’s announcement it would drop out of the CAA left Maryland to find someone else. Rhode Island agreed to remain in the CAA this month after the conference fortified its northern presence, but it appears the Rams won’t be paying a visit to Byrd next season.

Patrick Stevens