Because Maryland fans have been scouring RPIs and strength of schedules for six Marches running, it’s fair to look at some of the components of that data now that the Terrapins’ schedule is out.
Obviously, a strong conference schedule somewhat alleviates the nonconference issue. But it doesn’t entirely make it disappear.
So, what are the Terps up to in the nonconference? Take a peek (#-potential opponent; all data courtesy of collegerpi.com):
|Opponent||08-09 Record||08-09 RPI|
|William & Mary||10-20||245|
|at UNC Greensboro||5-25||316|
Basically, Maryland will play four top-100 teams from last season in its 14 nonconference games – barring a surprising meeting with Colorado.
The Terps will play just as many teams from the bottom 30 – basically, the bottom 10 percent – of Division I, plus a Division II team.
The RPI game is won not playing either of those groups so much as it is by playing teams between 100 and 200. And based on last year’s numbers, Maryland won’t be doing that much at all.
In fairness, Indiana will be better this year, and New Hampshire is just outside that range. But there are some bad teams at the bottom of that list, with only marginal hope of improving.
Clearly, the conference schedule will make or break Maryland. But it would be rather surprising if the Terps are any worse than 11-3 when ACC play begins – and they’d be well-served to be better than that.