How do you view the strength of Maryland’s schedule? I think the most difficult game on the schedule is clear. But it gets tricky when you try to separate those three teams — Clemson, Boston College, N.C. State — expected to battle with Maryland in the Atlantic Division. Here is my ranking of all of Maryland’s games in order of most difficult to easiest:
1) At Florida State, Oct. 22
This is clearly Maryland’s toughest game. The Seminoles are the class of the ACC.
2) Vs. Notre Dame, Nov. 12 (FedEx Field)
By most accounts, this is a Fighting Irish team that could crack into a BCS game in the second year of the Brian Kelly era.
3) West Virginia, Sept. 17
Quarterback Geno Smith and receiver Tavon Austin should thrive under first-year Coach Dana Holgorsen. Questions loom on the defensive side.
4) Miami, Sept. 5
Their front seven are stout. They’ll be able to run the ball. Biggest question is whether they’ll cut down on all those interceptions. But this is a winnable game for the Terps, for sure.
5) At North Carolina State, Nov. 26
We’ll see what Mike Glennon can do at QB now that it is his offense in Raleigh. I think the Wolfpack will be formidable, but I’m not sure it can reach last season’s nine-win mark. This may be a toss-up game.
6) Boston College, Oct. 29
The Eagles are always a tough team to play. Running back Montel Harris has received his share of attention. The pass rush is a question.
7) Clemson, Oct. 15
Sure, there is talent. But how many times have we said that before about a Clemson team? The Tigers tend to underachieve. The defensive lost a lot. Dabo Swinney is on the hot seat.
8) At Georgia Tech, Oct. 8
This game may deserve to be a little higher, meaning I may be undervaluing the Yellow Jackets a bit. They had an uncharacteristic down year last season. I have concerns about the offensive line.
9) Virginia, Nov. 5
You’d like to pencil this in as a win for Maryland. But I remember the inexplicable result at their place a few years ago. This one is at home. Terps have the better team.
10) At Wake Forest, Nov. 19
The bottom fell out for the Demon Deacons last season. It’s hard to imagine they will be quite as bad. And I’m sure they’ll remember that Maryland dropped 62 points on them. Just not sure it will matter.
11) Temple, Sept. 24
Fifteen starters are back from a team that won eight games under now-Miami Coach Al Golden. The Owls will take a step back. How far back remains to be seen.
12) Towson, Oct. 1
This should be a mere tune-up for Maryland when it faces a team that won one game all of last season.