Football Talk: ACC Rankings, Maryland's Floor and Ceiling

Ah, spring. When all we can rely on is lacrosse, basketball recruiting, and football previews.*

The first failed us. There was no AAU event last weekend and without a commitment, there's not much going on in the second. Luckily, the third is in the thriving period.

First up is CFN's position rankings, which aren't exactly complimentary toward Maryland. There's not much reason to be, admittedly - this team was 2-10, after all - but some rankings are surprisingly low. Case in point: Torrey Smith is the #8 WR in the ACC?

*Until Erik Bakich gets rollin'.

It only took one season for the 6-1, 200-pound Smith to supplant Darrius Heyward-Bey and become one of the nation's most productive all-purpose players. The go-to guy at "Z" receiver, he erupted for 61 catches for 824 yards and five touchdowns in a breakthrough All-ACC campaign. More than just a big and strong playmaker, he's also a team leader and one of the hardest workers.

So, uh, why isn't he higher then? I know I'm a little biased given I'm spearheading his Heisman campaign, but Smith was all but ignored for three weeks in the middle of the year and still ended up with great numbers. Yet he's behind players that have similar stats but haven't proven their explosiveness on the field, like Marshall Williams, or players with straight-up worse stats, like Jarvis Williams and Jarrett Boykin.

Still, I suppose Smith's real value comes in kick returns, not catches, even though he's pretty good at both. #8 is a shade low for him regardless, but without getting to see their KR rankings I can't argue that it's absolutely criminal.

In other news, Jamarr Robinson isn't the worst quarterback in the ACC! CFN has whoever will start for Wake Forest (Skylar Jones?) and whoever will start for Virginia (uh?) below J-Rob. I wonder where Danny O'Brien would fall.

The rankings end with two mostly defensible rankings: Da'Rel Scott as the #6 RB and Nick Ferrara as the #7 K. Scott might be a little low and there's a case to be made that he should be ahead of Darren Evans, but it's a tough case. MVP Kicker started the season extremely strong but faded in the middle, missing two FGs in a close game against N.C. State. Given his duties as kickoff man, kicker, and punter, that was to be expected; I think he'll do better than #7 next year, but I won't hate on the ranking.

For what it's worth, it's interesting to compare these rankings to Phil Steele's, who is generally more accurate. Steele has Smith as second team all-ACC (between #4 and #6 at WR) and Scott as second-team as well (either #3 or #4 RB). Robinson and Ferrara are nowhere to be found.

Meanwhile, Heather Dinich, whom you may remember from her stint at the Baltimore Sun (and from when Testudo gave her the finger), put together a quick video on Maryland's upcoming year. They really don't want you to embed it (or at least didn't provide an embed code, which rules me out), so you'll have to visit the site to watch.

It's mostly predictable, but much of it is right. The Navy game will be crucial for a successful season, and they probably can't go any worse than 3-1 out-of-conference to expect to remain competitive.

The closer the season comes, the more I begin to believe that this team has a 7 or 8 game ceiling (Dinich says 6). Of course, that doesn't mean Maryland will win 7 games, but I think there are seven winnable games on this schedule, maybe even 8. The Terps got lucky and don't have to face Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech; UNC, Clemson, and FSU are the only ACC opponents that you can mark up Ls right off the bat. Combined with three winnable games in OOC, 7 doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility. Out of the realm of probability, yes, but not possibility.

That said, the floor is definitely low. There's a distinct chance this is another 2 win year. My current gut is saying 5-7. Fun times, right?

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