The first six games didn't exactly go as planned. I don't think most people expected Maryland to be sitting at 2-4 with a loss to MTSU and an overtime win over JMU. But y'know what? That's in the past. It's a new season starting Saturday (not really, but go with me on this one). Think about it: Maryland isn't in last place. They are still mathematically in the running for an ACC title. They have lost to Duke (yet).
Sure, maybe we stink, but we don't know how bad yet. So, in that vain, here's a look ahead to the next (and final) six games. Unfortunately, none of them are quite as optimistic as the last paragraph.
vs. Virginia (2-3) - A few weeks ago, this looked like a very winnable game. Actually, a few weeks ago, I thought Virginia might've been the only ACC team worse than Maryland. But October has been kind to the 'Hoos, as it always is, and they defeated UNC 16-3 before whooping Indiana 47-7. I don't think they're as good as they're playing right now, but they're riding a hot streak and look legitimate right now. On the reverse, Maryland is almost surrounded by a feeling of apathy, and could be the worst team in the conference right now. It's not going to be a pretty homecoming game.
@ Duke (3-3) - Much like the Virginia game before it, I expected this to be one of Maryland's more winnable games. But then the Blue Devils had to go out and show just how good their offense can be with a big win over North Carolina State in Raleigh. While they still seem kind of fluky, this Duke team isn't as bad as they have been in years past, and, as an away game, its certainly not an easy win, or even a probable one. That said, I'd still be a bit surprised if the Terps couldn't pull this one out. After all, it's still Duke, and they still lost to Richmond.
@ North Carolina State (3-3) - Don't be fooled by the Duke loss; this is still a good team led by a very good QB. They beat a solid Pitt squad and took Wake Forest to the wire. Winning in Raleigh won't be an easy task, even if it is a possible one. Unless they drop games against FSU and BC, this one looks like a loss from a distance.
vs. Virginia Tech (5-1) - Oof. This is a game that has the potential to become very ugly. Tech isn't a team to sneak up on or upset, and there could be more Hokies in Byrd than Terps. I'm not predicting a repeat of the 2004 game (55-6), but it's gonna be rough. And I'll have to listen to my family talk trash about it for the next two months, until Maryland wrecks them in basketball.
@ Florida State (2-4) - If there's a program in the ACC that's in as much turmoil as our beloved team, it's FSU. Actually, the Noles might dwarf Maryland's turmoil level. After all, I haven't heard Martin O'Malley step up in support of Ralph Friedgen yet. Thanks to that cluster**** of a situation, Maryland has a real shot here. FSU will have the superior talent, but they certainly haven't been playing like it. This one should be close and might be Maryland's best chance to get a win all year, believe it or not.
vs. Boston College (4-2) - In the blogger roundtable, I mentioned that the best case scenario for Maryland is probably wins over two of FSU, UVA, and Duke, with one upset along the way. That upset would probably be this game. It's a perfect storm: final game of the year, Ralph Friedgen's job possibly on the line, at home, and against a team that is solid but unspectacular. Definitely winnable. Not saying they will win, but if they're gonna pull one off, it'll probably be this game.
On this note, I still have no idea how they won 4 games with their talent level. Whatever BC does, Maryland needs to start doing.
Okay, with that wrapped up, here's my prediction: two more wins, against Duke and Boston College. FSU and UVA are close losses, Tech is a blowout, and NCSt is a repeat of last week, only with red jerseys instead of black ones.