Military Bowl 2013: Picks for Marshall vs. Maryland

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

We make our staff predictions for the Military Bowl and take care of some basketball business.

Q: We've seen the individual previews, but who do you think has the advantage when the Maryland offense faces the Marshall defense?

Andrew: Maryland's offense only because CJ is going to be as healthy as he has been since the first game.

Pete: I agree with Andrew, in the sense that C.J. Brown gives Maryland an advantage here. Marshall has a good defense statistically, but East Carolina is the only team that offensively is near the par of Maryland.

Brendan: Maryland's offense, with a healthy C.J. Brown, will be one of the better offenses Marshall has faced this year. I think Maryland can, and will, have a big day on the offensive end against Marshall's defense, but it will come down to Brown. Marshall had the 56th-ranked rushing defense, so the zone read will probably get called a few times.

FlaTerp: Maryland's offense. As everyone else said, CJB will need to be the better version of himself, then I expect us to roll up some big yards.

Lee: I give a slight edge to Marshall's defense only because of how terrible Maryland's third down conversion rate is for the season. If the offense can't stay on the field, the defense will have a long day.

Q: Who has the advantage when the Marshall offense faces the Maryland defense?

Andrew: Marshall's offense. They are damn potent with Cato, Shuler and Taliaferro. Maryland getting JJ back might be a huge boost though.

Pete: We'll have to see how healthy Johnson is and whether or not he can perform. Rakeem Cato is very good, however, as is Gator Hoskins -- the matchup will be very interesting. I'll give the nod to Marshall.

Brendan: Again, I think the offense has the advantage here. I'm not sure how much a rusty Johnson makes a difference at this point in the season. Maryland has been vulnerable against tight ends at times this year, and while I expect a Jake McGee day out of Gator Hoskins, maybe even better than the 8-114-1 day McGee had.

FlaTerp: "Rusty Johnson," Brendan? There's a joke in there somewhere.* I don't expect either team to do a particularly good job of stopping the other, so I'm going with Marshall's offense.

Lee: The advantage clearly goes to Marshall's offense, but I'm optimistic that Brian Stewart will have an effective scheme worked up to slow Cato and company down.

Q: Which player will be the biggest X-factor in the game on either team?

Andrew: I'll go with whoever is running the ball for Maryland, whether it is Reid or Ross. If we can get a solid running game going it will keep Cato off the field and allow the receivers to operate one-on-one.

Pete: I'm going to go with Matt Robinson here. He'll likely be tasked with matching up with Hoskins, which could make a big difference in the red zone.

Brendan: Marshall RB Steward Butler. At 8.9 ypc he's a change-of-pace, game-breaker type. Marshall doesn't use him much in the screen game, just three catches all year, but when he has the ball in his hands and finds space he can take it to the house.

FlaTerp: I'm going to generally agree with Andrew here and say it's a rested Brandon Ross. With a month to prepare for the zone read, I'll expect the Herd to have a sound scheme to contain CJB. Early in the season when we were at our best, Ross was punishing the teams that keyed too much on CJ and our WRs.

Lee: Will Likely is going to have a big game. I see at least one long punt return, 1 pass break up, 1 interception, and, 8+ tackles.

Q: A game prediction?

Andrew: High-ish scoring, tied in the 4th quarter. Maryland wins 31-28 on a late Craddock field goal.

Pete: My score prediction is actually the same as Andrew's. 31-28 Maryland.

Brendan: I don't know if we see the Marshall that lost to Rice or not, but I'm going with a 35-31 Marshall win. I immediately regret this decision.

FlaTerp: Marshall 41, Maryland 31. I'm thinking back to Wake Forest getting two weeks to prepare for us and then finding building-sized holes in our pass coverage.

Lee: Two plus weeks to prepare has been terrible for Maryland this year. Marshall 38-27.

Q: A basketball question -- How detrimental is the loss to Boston University?

Andrew: It's a lot more detrimental in the overall perception of Maryland basketball than the actual tournament chances of the team. They still need to win about 12 ACC games and still need to get an upset or two. A Maryland team with a resume of 21-11 (12-6) with wins, for example, over Pitt, UVA, ND at home and at UNC, State and maybe UVA or Pitt is at least on the bubble. It is a very hard road but not an impossible one.

Pete: It's pretty bad. Luckily, it's the non-conference schedule, so while that certainly has an effect on their tournament hopes, they have a chance to right the ship before ACC season.

Brendan: It's not good. I think on the surface it's bad, but just a sign of how bad the Terps have been in the out-of-conference slate. No loss is a good loss (unless it's a top-25 RPI loss), but at this point it doesn't change a ton. Maryland is in trouble, I think we all recognize that, and it's just another loss on the schedule at this point. Maryland has to do damage in conference to make the tourney and that's about it.

FlaTerp: Extremely detrimental. It means we can't be a bubble team at all or it'll be summoned as a big argument against us along with the no-show vs. Ohio State, the home loss to Oregon State and the shaky win vs. FAU. That's four strikes and we haven't even got into the meat of our schedule yet. We have to be a tourney lock now and that will require a pretty massive turnaround..

Lee: The BU loss adjusted my expectations for the season - I don't expect an NCAA bid this year. The NCAA is still the goal, but the NIT looks more realistic.

Q: Are both high-profile Maryland coaches back in the 2014-15 season?

Andrew: In short, yes. In long, yes.

Pete: Yep! If nothing else, because of the contracts.

Brendan: I'd like to think so, but I could also see a change being made for changes sake (which is a terrible reason to do it). Basketball is at the lowest point in Turgeon's tenure and football was decimated by injuries again. I'm not expecting one to be fired, but with the B1G switch coming, you never know.

FlaTerp: Yes, they'll be back. With Turgeon it's premature to think along those lines and I think most of the outrage is kneejerk to an embarrassing loss, which happens to the best of ‘em. Edsall, if we don't answer the bell vs. Marshall, I think it's legit at this point to start taking the case against him more seriously, but he's done well enough under extreme adversity that I don't see it even being entertained by the administration. I actually want them both back, but if we don't close on Prince or Tabor, I'll flip that opinion with Edsall. It's only recruiting that keeps him on my good side. The in-game coaching hasn't been there at all.

Lee: Yes.

*Accepting joke applications in the comments

Sound off in the comments and tell us how wrong we are.

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