- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 27, 2022

Maryland takes a break this week, but “Terps Top Three” does not. Here are three things to know about the Terrapins on a much-needed bye week:

TV time: Coaches at this level don’t get much in the way of time off, especially during the season. Mike Locksley’s week won’t be any different, though the Maryland coach told reporters he’ll be able to do some recruiting and will be a part of a mental health seminar happening on campus.

He also indulged that he’ll get a chance to catch programs other than his own this weekend, saying that he does enjoying watching college games on television, but not in the same way as most of us.

“The problem is, as a coach, you don’t watch it for enjoyment,” Locksley said. “I look at formation, I look at the coverage, I look at the play they run.”

“It’s hard to enjoy it and look at it like a fan, because I’m constantly analyzing and trying to formulate ideas or thoughts of things that I saw that they did well.”

Postseason prognostication: Without a game this Saturday, it’s never too soon to think about the future — including potential bowl destinations for the Terrapins.

By reaching the magical six-win number this early, it gives Maryland the opportunity — with more wins — to break through to a higher tier of bowl games than last season’s Pinstripe Bowl. Three different bowl projections already bear that out.

Both USA Today and CBS Sports have the Terrapins headed to Charlotte to play either Duke or N.C. State, respectively, in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. The longtime game, an ACC-Big Ten clash held this year on Dec. 30, has gained notoriety in recent years thanks to its sponsorship and “tradition” of the winning coach being doused with mayonnaise.

A cleaner tradition is Nashville’s Music City Bowl on New Year’s Eve. Athlon Sports has Maryland slotted there, playing Arkansas in the Big Ten-SEC matchup.

Looking ahead: Maryland’s 2023 schedule was announced this week, which includes a friendly and familiar start.

The season opens with a three-game homestead for the first time since 2015 with Towson, Charlotte, and Virginia making the trip to College Park. Part of a two-year home-and-home series, the Cavaliers and Terrapins meet Sept. 16. It’s the first matchup for the border state schools since their last game as ACC rivals in 2013.

Big Ten play begins Sept. 23 at Michigan State and wraps up for the fourth-consecutive season with Rutgers on Nov. 25 in Piscataway, New Jersey. In between are home conference tilts against Indiana (Sept. 30), Illinois (Oct. 14), Penn State (Nov. 4) and Michigan (Nov 18). 

Besides the Illini, the other two Big Ten West schools Maryland will play are on the road: Northwestern (Oct. 28) and Nebraska (Nov. 11). The Terrapins’ 2023 open date is a week earlier than this year’s, on Oct. 21. 

It’s likely the final year of this scheduling setup for the Big Ten, as the addition of UCLA and USC in 2024 could result in the elimination of divisions in the conference. The shake-up should benefit Maryland, who won’t have to look at playing the likes of the Buckeyes, Wolverines, Nittany Lions and Spartans every year.

• George Gerbo can be reached at ggerbo@washingtontimes.com.

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