Virginia, Oct. 1

Maryland has a forgiving early schedule, with three games in the state of Maryland and then a road game against perennial cupcake Wake Forest, which has not had a winning record in the ACC since 1988.

If the Terps emerge from those four games with three wins, their 70th meeting with Virginia likely will define their season. A win here and another at Temple the following week, and only a complete meltdown would stop Maryland from becoming bowl-eligible. A loss, though, could mean serious trouble, considering Maryland's brutal second-half schedule.

Virginia's offense was everything that Maryland's was not last season. The Cavaliers led the ACC in total offense, while Maryland was ninth. The Cavaliers committed 10 turnovers; Maryland had 25. And the Cavaliers are led by Marques Hagans, one of the few veteran quarterbacks in the ACC, while Maryland will start the year with inexperienced Sam Hollenbach under center.

Have we mentioned that the home team has won five years in a row in this series? Or that Virginia Coach Al Groh and former Maryland assistant James Franklin had to be separated by a referee before Maryland's 2003 win? Or that both Groh and Friedgen are coaching their alma maters?

Coach Ralph Friedgen and Maryland could find the game with rival Virginia pivotal to their bowl hopes.