2011 schedule analysis: Maryland


Nonconference opponents and 2010 records:

  • West Virginia (9-4)

  • Temple (8-4)

  • Towson (1-10)

  • Notre Dame (8-5)

Cross-divisional schedule:

  • Miami

  • At Georgia Tech

  • Virginia

Gut-check game: Sept. 5 vs. Miami. This game will feature two new head coaches, but the Maryland players who return from last season should be haunted by the oh-so-close 26-20 loss at Miami. One of the criticisms of the Terps last year was that they didn’t beat any high-caliber opponents. Had they pulled out the win against the Canes, that perception might have changed. This is their chance to prove that despite the staff changes, the program was able to build upon the foundation Ralph Friedgen left behind.

Trap game: Nov. 19 at Wake Forest. The Deacs will be a more mature team this year, and bowl eligibility could be on the line.

Snoozer: Towson. Sure, it’s an in-state opponent, but Navy it’s not.

Good luck with that: The early bye week. Like Miami, Maryland has its bye week on Sept. 10 meaning the Terps must go 11 weeks without a break. Three games against Atlantic Division opponents are on the road.

Upset watch: Nov. 12 vs. Notre Dame. The Irish should be better -- and ranked -- in Brian Kelly’s second season. With 17 starters returning, Notre Dame will be tough to beat, but the game is at FedEx Field in nearby Landover, Md. And Randy Edsall should be familiar with Brian Kelly’s thinking from their time in the Big East together.

Analysis: Maryland starts the season with four straight home games and plays five of its first six games at home. The Terps need to take advantage of that and get off to a strong start if they’re going to contend for the Atlantic Division in Edsall’s first year. We should know where Maryland stands in the conference race by the end of November, as a three-game stretch against Clemson, Florida State and Boston College will be revealing.

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