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TT Writer Roundtable: Preseason Predictions

Does the staff see a big season for Maryland in their final year in the ACC?

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

For better or worse, we decided to do our preseason predictions. Remember, this is all assuming that the quarterback-hating god doesn't come back to smite us for even thinking we escaped his wrath.

Q: Last season was a rough one for Maryland fans, what is a realistic win total for the team this year?

Dave Tucker - I think seven wins is definitely achievable and could be as high as eight or nine. But being bowl eligible should be the bare minimum for this team in 2013. They very well could go 4-0 in their out of conference games and winning at least 2 games in ACC play should be achievable.

Pete Volk - I would say anywhere between six and nine is what the team is looking at, so I'm going to go with seven. Maryland has a fairly easy schedule, with a lot of players returning (both from last year and from previous years), and the combination of a strong defensive system with a total offensive revamp should spell good things.

Brendan Darr - Seven wins should be the minimum. I think 7-9 is an achievable total, and one that the fans should be expecting -- not hoping for. If this program wants to be taken seriously, the fan base needs to be serious about the team. This is a solid, young team that has experience at the skill positions and at quarterback, as well as the secondary.

Alex Kirshner - I can pretty easily see seven wins for this team, with eight being pretty attainable and nine as a ceiling.

Todd Carton - Realistic win total: Eight (7-5 regular season + bowl win).

Molly Geary - I think eight wins is the most realistic win total, but wouldn't be surprised if it ends up a game on either side of eight.

Q: What would you consider a disappointing season for the Terrapins?

DT - Anything less than seven wins would be a very big disappointment in my opinion. Not getting to a bowl game would be disastrous, especially given the talent on this team and what Maryland fans have had to go through the past two seasons.

PV - Not making a bowl game. It's the absolute minimum for Maryland this year.

BD - Six wins or less. I don't want to scrape into a bowl game at 6-6. This team would have made a bowl game had they been healthy last year, so it feels like anything less than that is a massive disappointment.

AK - If Maryland misses a bowl game, it'll be chaos. As it probably should be. There's no reason that a relatively soft ACC and non-conference schedule shouldn't get these Terps to six wins.

TC - I will likely be disappointed with fewer than seven wins

MG - I have to agree with Alex; six wins or less and I'll be very disappointed. I've been willing to wait and gave a pass for the injury circumstances last year, but this season the results need to be there.

Q: What is the biggest question mark you have heading into the season?

DT - Can C.J. Brown stay healthy. With Randy Edsall saying the back up QB situation was the most disappointing issue coming out of camp, the health of Brown becomes a huge issue for Maryland. Not only has he battled injuries throughout his career, the zone read offense he'll be running could expose him to additional hits. That might result in whoever that back up QB ends up being needing to play significant minutes. For Maryland to be successful, whoever that backup QB ends up being will need to play well this season.

PV - It's got to be the offensive line. I'm hoping that the addition of walk-on Mike Dunn to the starting corps is a good sign and not a bad one, but there is just about no depth in that unit. If anyone gets hurt, there are serious problems to be had.

BD - The offensive line is the easy answer, sure, but it's the right answer. A walk-on backing up at right tackle? That's keeping me up at night, I can only imagine how coach Edsall is handling it. I almost want to go back in time and change my pick for the "Bring back a Terp" article we did. I want Jared Gaither. Or literally any other healthy offensive lineman that could slot in at right tackle.

AK - C.J. Brown. He's finally healthy and we know he can move the ball with his legs, but I'm not sure anyone knows how effective he'll be in getting passes into the arms of Stefon Diggs and Co. at wideout. Can Brown be the lynch-pin of a successful vertical passing attack?

TC - Well, since the offensive line is obvious, I'll say my biggest question mark is will Maryland have a consistently good kicking game.

MG - The biggest question mark I have is the offensive line. With so many talented offensive weapons on the team this year, the O-Line is obviously going to be extremely important.

Q: Other than receiver, what is the strongest position on the team?

DT - Probably defensive line, which is kind of surprising to say considering who Maryland lost this past season. But with Jefferson, Kilgo and Bowers locking down the d-line and with the depth Maryland has behind them, they could be one of the deepest units on the team this season.

PV - I would say the secondary. Dexter McDougle and Jeremiah Johnson should be one of the best cornerback tandems in the ACC, and Isaac Goins, Will Likely and Jarrett Ross are all more than capable of filling in for them. Sean Davis and Anthony Nixon were both thrust into the spotlight last year as true freshmen, but with added experience and added pounds, they should be significant players (as should A.J. Hendy).

BD - Quarterback is a sneaky position of strength (although Molly also picked it). After last year and all the different QB's that got playing time, it's nice knowing the 5th-string QB won't be a linebacker this year. You know, if it comes to that again.

AK - The defensive line looks strong to me, but this question brings to mind just how uncertain I am about pretty much every other spot on the field. I can see a case for safety or linebacker, too.

TC - After the receivers, I'd have to guess that the linebackers will be the strongest unit.

MG - I'm going to go with QB. There's a lot of questions there, but there's also a ton of depth, which as we learned last year can be very valuable. I'm excited to see what CJ will do and I loved the flashes we saw from Rowe last season, plus Young had the advantage of working with the first team all spring. Considering our starting QB at the beginning of last season is now our fourth-string, I really like the position we're in.

Q: What is a bold prediction for Stefon Diggs' season stat line?

DT - 1,123 return yards, 3 tds, 1,246 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns.

PV - 70 catches, 1,250 yards, 12 touchdowns.

BD - 2,300 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns

AK - I'll take 75 catches for 1,100 yards and 7 touchdowns, plus a return and rushing score.

TC - Only under a coercive threat. I will predict that if Long and King play well, Diggs will have more receiving yards later in the season than earlier. Teams will focus on stopping Diggs until other options hurt them.

MG - 70 catches, 1,000 yards, 9 TD's.

Q: Finally, a prediction for the season-opener vs. FIU?

DT - I think Maryland rolls. Final score 41-23 Terps

PV - Maryland wins, 27-10. Brown runs for a score, throws one to Diggs, Ross runs for one more, and Craddock hits two field goals. Defensive MVP? Quinton Jefferson.

BD - Vegas has Maryland a two-touchdown favorite, and it's hard to argue against that. I'm a little nervous about the first game every year, plus the 12:30 kick-off (where the Terps always struggle). In the end, Diggs gon' Diggs. -- Maryland 28, FIU 17.

AK - Maryland will win handily, but not without some visible rust. Give me Terrapins 24, FIU 10.

TC - I really don't like predictions but since I evaded one, I'll say MD 38 - FIU 13

MG - I think the Terps will take this one pretty easily. I'll go Maryland 33, FIU 9.

Leave your predictions for the FIU game and the season in the comments below!