TT Staff Roundtable: Maryland are underdogs for a reason

Jim Rogash

For the first time all season, the staff here at Testudo Times are picking unanimously against Maryland. Are we going for a reverse jinx?

Q: With Maryland on bye last week, what games did you watch?

Pete Volk --Too many to count. Georgia-LSU, Boston College-FSU, South Carolina-UCF, Ohio State-Wiscy, etc. etc.

Dave Tucker -- Didn't watch a lot. Went to Home Depot, a little Bed, Bath & Beyond. But seriously, FSU-BC was the game I watched most of last Saturday.

Brendan Darr -- I'm disappointed in all of you, well, except Pete. I watched football ALL DAY. I made my girlfriend watch football ALL DAY. Did I have to go watch a 10:45 screening of Don Jon to make up for 10 hours of football? Yes. Was it an even trade? Absolutely, in fact I'd say I won. I was double-screening UCF-SC/WVU-OK State at noon, Georgia-LSU got solo screen time at 3:30 and Ole Miss-Alabama and A&M-Arkansas split time.

Alex Kirshner --I watched the same game everyone else watched: Georgia-LSU. That and several Pittsburgh Pirates games.

Molly Geary --I was actually sick last weekend and slept through most of the days games.

Todd Carton --The only game I watched was Georgia-LSU. I cover a lot of sports on the weekend.

Q: We didn't do a roundtable last week, so what were your impressions of the team against West Virginia?

PV -- Good! I managed to avoid any spoilers for the day (and change) that I was unable to watch the game (the more astute readers may I have noticed I was not around), and I was very happily surprised with what I saw. The offense wasn't great, but West Virginia has a solid defense and Maryland capitalized on every possible mistake. The 37-0 score was a bit inflated, but it's also representative of Maryland's ability to take advantage of opportunities.

DT -- There will be a full post on this later today (teaser!) but I thought the defense and special teams were fantastic, but the offense needs improvement. The offense capitalized on turnovers, which is good, but aside from that, they had one good drive, which was their last. But I never thought they'd shut out WVU.

BD -- I was thoroughly impressed with the team. I, like everyone else, didn't expect that kind of beat down. I thought Maryland could score on West Virginia, but I thought the defense would struggle more. Like Todd, I think I'm looking at the OSU game and coming away even more impressed.

AK -- The team looked great, and the results were there to match. It was the most encouraging effort they've put out in the time I've been at the university. Stefon Diggs' lack of production was a little annoying, but I have no qualms considering that a flash in the pan. The defense couldn't have possibly been better.

MG -- I was pretty impressed. I thought it would be a much closer game, and didn't expect the defense to be quite as dominant as it was. The offense had neither a bad nor a strong showing, but you can't argue with a 37-0 win. They went out and got the job done and it was very sweet to finally beat the Mountaineers again.

TC -- This is a tough one to answer since by now the impression is colored by the WVU-Ok. State game. I was thrilled that MD just mauled them. It was certainly good to get out 7 years of pent up frustration. I think my strongest impression was feeling positive about the team's prospects because they won so easily on a day when Stefon Diggs was statistically unproductive. Also, I was a big fan of Brian Stewart going into that game and an even bigger one coming out.

Q: What was your confidence like after the West Virginia game compared to now on the eve of the Florida State game?

PV -- I keep going back and forth. It was certainly extraordinarily high after that game, then dipped a bit mid-week, but rose again as I was writing the preview for the game. It's a tough ask to win that game on the road, but Maryland is an actual factual good team, folks.

DT -- I was much more confident we'd beat WVU verses how I feel about FSU. I thought we'd beat WVU 90% of the time heading into Saturday's game but I feel like we'd beat FSU many 33% of the time.

BD -- Immediately after the game I thought Maryland had a shot to beat FSU. West Virginia then went and beat Oklahoma State. Still felt like Maryland could beat Florida State. Now, the day before the game, I think reality has set in just how good Florida State is. Despite how well Maryland has played so far, I just don't know if they have enough defensive help in the secondary to shut down Jameis Winston and their passing game.

AK -- Just slightly higher. Maryland was looking at eight to ten wins before that game, and they're looking at eight to ten wins now.

MG -- I think immediately after the win I was already thinking ahead and hinging hopes on the chance of an upset this week, but like Pete as the two weeks went on I dipped a little bit in my confidence. I still think we most certainly have a shot, but it will be tough and several things need to happen

TC -- I don't think it's changed much. I left thinking this team is capable of putting up 8-10 regular season wins. I still think that. However, WVU was so unimpressive that I didn't think the game provided much of a measuring stick for some of the stronger teams the Terps will face this year including the game on Saturday.

Q: What is your biggest concern heading in to the game against Florida State?

PV -- The battle in the trenches, especially when Maryland is on offense.

DT -- Our offensive line verses their defensive line. Their d-line is goooooood. They've got some future NFL studs there. Our o-line struggled against the best d-line they've seen this season when we played FSU and I'm worried about their ability to run blockon Saturday. If we can't run block, I think we're in deep trouble.

BD -- My biggest concern is that somehow the Boston College game last week motivated Florida State not to overlook Maryland and then they come out and pound the Terps. I'm fine with losing, they are a very good team, but if they come out and beat Maryland by 30? That's not a good look.

AK -- Jameis Winston could seriously torch our backup cornerbacks, and the defensive front seven could punch plenty of holes in an untested Maryland offensive line.

MG -- Turnovers and the cornerback position versus Winston.

TC -- I have big concerns in two or three areas. The first is still the offensive line. FSU has lots of athletes on their D-Line and I haven't seen Maryland's O-line consistently open up lanes for the running backs to get to the second level consistently. I'd like to see CJB improve on his reads. I'm no Broman when it comes to understanding the ZR but there have been too many times this season when I've been left with the impression that C.J. made the wrong decision on his reads. On the defensive side of the ball, I wonder how the team will fare if MD doesn't create turnovers as they have through the first four games.

Q: Finally, your game prediction:

PV -- Florida State 31, Maryland 20.

DT -- Boston College showed that you can score against FSU and Maryland will be the best compition that the Noles have faced this season. That being said, I think this game is close at halftime, but Florida State pulls away at the end. Final score FSU 33, MD 23

BD -- I think the game should be closer than the spread, but I'm not confident Maryland can pull the upset. Florida State 38, Maryland 27.

AK -- Florida State 31, Maryland 21. I might pick the Terps for the upset if the game were being played in Byrd Stadium, but the reality is that even quality teams with the wind at their back have a hard time beating elite programs on the road. There are three or four teams at the country who would beat Florida State in Tallahassee more than half the time, and these Terps -- while young, talented and growing -- are not in that class. That said, Maryland's got a shot, and it won't stun me if the defense keeps the game close enough for Brown and Diggs to snatch the game at the end.

MG -- Florida State 33, Maryland 23.

TC -- My head tells me to make one prediction and my heart tells me to make another. My butthole insists that's it's in charge and closed up until the head and heart agreed to stop shouting at each other. Neither side is willing to negotiate and I fear I'm enduring a prediction shutdown.

What do you think heading in to this weekend? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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