Terps: From two wins to bowl game?

It's not like Maryland is poised to win the Atlantic Division in 2010, but it's reasonable for Terps fans to expect a bowl game this year.

No, really, it's not a stretch.

Despite a 2-10 finish in 2009, here are three good reasons Maryland will be bowl eligible this season:

  • Motivation. This is the prime factor. The players, staff and administration were all embarrassed by last season, and everyone has been working hard to ensure it doesn't happen again. Coach Ralph Friedgen should be feeling some pressure from athletic director Debbie Yow, as he's already been given one free pass.

  • Maturation of younger players. Maryland returns 27 players who have started at least one game, and that includes the top six rushing leaders and nine of the top 10 receivers. Overall, 32 of 44 players return from the season-ending two-deep depth chart. The talent and depth should help ease some pressure off of a new full-time starting quarterback. Jamarr Robinson starts the spring as the No. 1 signal-caller, but regardless of who winds up with the job, he will bring more athleticism to the position than Chris Turner did. That could help offensive coordinator James Franklin expand his playbook.

  • Second season under defensive coordinator Don Brown. The Terps like what Brown brought to College Park, and it should be even more effective now that they've had a year to adjust to his style. Maryland only returns five starters on defense, but eight of the top 10 tacklers are back. The linebackers should be the strength of the group.