Coach: Bobby Ross
Last year's record: 8-4 overall (including loss to Washington in the Aloha Bowl), 5-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference
Strengths: The offense, which was virtually unstoppable last year, should be even more imaginative and powerful this year. The quarterback, senior Boomer Esiason, is of all-America caliber. The running backs are durable, versatile and experienced. They'll run behind an offensive line that has at least one all-America, guard Ron Solt. The secondary, the laughingstock of the league two years ago, is now the best part of the defense and one of the only areas with depth. Kicker Jess Atkinson is a given.
Weaknesses: The defensive line will be thin and inexperienced, which could be especially troublesome in a wide-tackle-six alignment. There isn't much depth. The schedule is tough, including Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Pitt, Duke, North Carolina, Clemson and Auburn--seven bowl-caliber teams.
Projection: If the defensive line is good, Maryland is top 10. If not, the Terrapins struggle to maintain top-20 status. If ACC champion Clemson, national champion Penn State and North Carolina couldn't stop Maryland's offense last year, there is little reason to think anybody other than Auburn will this year. The difference this year is that Maryland may have to score 40 points every game. A victory over North Carolina Oct. 29 in College Park almost surely would make the Terrapins ACC champions.