Is Maryland Last-Place Bad?

I know Maryland football isn't going to be great next year, but are the Terps last-in-the-ACC-Atlantic bad? Tony Barnhart looked at every major football magazine preview and listed their predictions. He then threw his own into the hat. The consensus? Maryland will finish dead last.

Athlon: Florida State, N.C. State, Clemson, Wake Forest, Boston College, Maryland

Lindy's: Florida State, Wake Forest, Clemson, N.C. State, Boston College, Maryland

Phil Steele: Clemson, Florida State, Boston College (tie 3rd), N.C. State (tie 3rd), Wake Forest, Maryland

Sporting News: Florida State, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Maryland, Boston College

The Kickoff: N.C. State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, Boston College

Then, when you throw in Barnhart's prediction (yet another last placer), Maryland is easily the last team in the conference, at least according to these guys. Barnhart had this to say:

Maryland: The Terps have their offense back on track with James Franklin calling the plays for QB Chris Turner and RB Da'Rel Scott (1,133 yards in 2008). But the issues last season were on defense and veteran Don Brown has been called in to fix it. He'll have to work some magic, which includes replacing seven starters, in order to keep the Terps out of the cellar.

I understand the issues at hand on the team, but he doesn't present a very convincing argument. The defense should see an improvement, not a drop. I'd be surprised if Travis Ivey and Dion Armstrong don't perform to Navarre and Bemi's level. Kevin Barnes can scarcely be called a starter, as he missed half the season anyway. Jeff Allen's departure isn't a big deal, as Kenny Tate and Antwine Perez are still there. Add in a defensive coordinator who knows what he's doing, and the defense won't be worse. Maybe not a big improvement, but probably not a decrease. The bigger issue is on the offensive line, which was mediocre last year and will be even younger now. Outside of Bruce Campbell, the entire line scares me.

Is Maryland really that bad this year? I don't think so - I'm actually expecting another bowl. But these kind of thoughts aren't exactly good omens.

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