Back to bowl: Maryland

Maryland almost became bowl eligible in 2012 with its fifth-string quarterback.

There’s no question the Terps should be bowling again in 2013 with their No. 1 quarterback in the lineup.

Quarterback C.J. Brown, the projected starter heading into this past season before he tore his ACL, should be healthy and ready to go by summer camp. When Brown was injured last summer, many counted the Terps out immediately, but they were a relentless bunch determined to prove doubters wrong. After a win at Virginia, the Terps were 4-2 and a bowl game seemed like a realistic possibility.

Four injured quarterbacks later, Maryland still refused to quit. The Terps should have won at Boston College on Oct. 27, a game they lost 20-17. With a first-string quarterback, they likely would have beaten North Carolina in the regular season finale. Instead they squandered a 14-point third-quarter lead and lost, 45-38. Considering Maryland was 10 points away from the six-win mark with backup linebacker Shawn Petty throwing passes, Maryland fans should expect the team to reach the postseason with Brown leading the offense.

The non-conference schedule is conducive to a promising start, as the Terps should go 3-1 with wins over FIU, Old Dominion and Randy Edsall’s former team, Connecticut.

Maryland’s receiving corps should be a strength, as the team’s top offensive playmaker, Stefon Diggs, returns, and junior college transfer Deon Long should make an immediate contribution. Long will enroll at Maryland in the spring after spending the past two seasons at New Mexico. As a redshirt freshman in 2011, Long tied for the team lead with 47 receptions and led the Lobos with 809 receiving yards and four touchdown catches.

The two biggest questions facing Maryland this offseason will be how good the offensive line can be, and how the Terps plan to replace six starters on defense, including the charismatic A.J. Francis, and all-conference defensive tackle Joe Vellano.

Barring another catastrophic quarterback situation, though, Edsall’s third season should be his best.