Must-win and trap games of 2017: Maryland Terrapins

The 2017 season is still several months away. But we never stop looking forward here at the Big Ten blog.

It may be ridiculously early, but we're examining the must-win game and the potential trap game for each league team this fall. Up next: the Maryland Terrapins

Must-win game: vs. Rutgers, Nov. 4 (at Yankee Stadium)

For the first time since both joined the Big Ten, Rutgers and Maryland won't play each other in the season finale. Instead, this year's game -- the "Big Ten Battle in the Bronx" at Yankee Stadium -- will be in early November, while the Terps end the season against Penn State. As the two newbies in the league with a lot to prove, Rutgers and Maryland made sense as rivals, and the first two meetings between them as conference mates (in 2014 and 2015) were thrillers decided by a total of eight points. The Terps won by 18 points last year to qualify for a bowl game and appear to have zoomed ahead of their fellow Big Ten East expansion school. Maryland needs to keep it that way, especially against a schedule that offers precious few breathers along the way.

Trap game: vs. UCF, Sept. 23

The Terrapins had to escape with a double-overtime victory at UCF last September. While D.J. Durkin's team should be better in 2017, the Knights figure to be as well. Head coach Scott Frost played a bunch of freshmen and sophomores last season, including first-year quarterback McKenzie Milton. Maryland has a bye week this season before hosting UCF, so it should be well prepared for this one. But if the Terps start peeking ahead to the start of conference play a week later, this can become a trap situation.