Our inaugural Terrapin Title Tracker column! Here's how it works. I will take you through the past week in Maryland non-revenue sports going from the previous Monday to Sunday. I will then assess the team's current standing and championship chances. I hope to be honest and refreshing while providing you with information about some of Maryland's lesser-known teams. With that being said, let's get right to it!
Men's soccer got not only one but two wins in the past week. On Wednesday they beat VCU 1-0 and then demolished #3 ranked Penn State 4-0 on Sunday. This keeps Maryland's Big Ten Title hopes alive.
Big Ten games left: at Indiana, Ohio State, at Rutgers
Grade for the week: A+. You can't do much better than get two wins and crush a top-five ranked conference opponent.
Title chances: Not great. A lot would have to go right for Men's soccer to win the title. Maryland has seven points in conference play and currently sits 5 points behind conference leader Penn State. The first thing Maryland has to do is win out. That would give them an additional nine points to put them at 16 points. The issue is that Penn State controls their own destiny. Two wins could clinch the title for the Nittany Lions.
The Terps could definitely be the runner-up but Penn State has put themselves in a fantastic position as the front-runner and Maryland won't be able to catch them.
Maryland got two big wins over the weekend against teams from the state of Pennsylvania. The #2 ranked Terps beat #4 Penn State 4-3 on Friday and then walloped Penn by the score of 9-0. Maryland is currently tied for first in points for the Big Ten title. Northwestern is 4-0 while Maryland is 4-1.
Big Ten games left: Rutgers, at Indiana, Iowa
Grade for the week: A+. Once again two wins in two games and one was against a top-five nationally ranked conference opponent.
Title chances: Excellent. Tied for first is a great situation for the Terps to be in. But here is the only issue. They are tied with Northwestern who has the head to head win over Maryland. Here is why Maryland has an excellent shot to win though. Northwestern has three of their four remaining conference games on the road and two of those road games are against ranked opponents in Michigan and Penn State. I think the Wildcats will lose at least one of those games and Maryland will win out.
Maryland is ranked #2 in the country and while that early season conference loss to Northwestern could come back to bite them, there is a decent chance that Northwestern could stumble. If Maryland wins out and Northwestern loses once, they will have no less than a share of the Big Ten regular season title. Maryland would need Northwestern to lose twice in order to claim the Big Ten title outright. If the Wildcats lose once and the Terps win out, they will share the Big Ten title and the Wildcats (because of the head to head win) will take the #1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
Maryland went to Columbus on Saturday to play the Buckeyes needing three points and only came out with one, tying Ohio State 1-1. The Terps are still alive but barely.
Big Ten games left: Northwestern, Illinois, at Minnesota, at Wisconsin, at Penn State
Grade for the week: D. Maryland needed a win to keep pace in the conference and didn't come up with one when they needed it.
Title chances: Barely existent. Like the Men's team, the women need to win out to even have a prayer of winning the conference title. If they don't win both of their games this week (Northwestern and Illinois at home) then we will already have our answer. Maryland has their final three games on the road and all three of those teams are in the top five of the conference standings. Wisconsin and Penn State are also two of the best teams in the country.
The Terps have been consistently inconsistent this year. They are a talented team but their results say that they are an average team. They are 3-2-3 in conference and 5-4-4 overall. Do I think that they have it in them to win all five games? No. I do not.
Maryland dropped two matches on the road last week against Minnesota on Friday and Wisconsin on Sunday. The Terps were swept 3-0 in both matches. Maryland is still win-less in conference play.
Big Ten games left: They have 14 games remaining in the season so I will link to the schedule here rather than list them all for you.
Grade for the week: F. Harsh? Maybe. Getting swept in two road matches isn't good even though Wisconsin is 14-2 and ranked in the top ten nationally and Minnesota is 13-4. The Terps still don't have a conference win to their name.
Title chances: Zero chance. The Terps are over-matched and are 0-6 in conference and they still have to play Ohio State, conference leader Purdue again and powerhouse Penn State twice in their 14 remaining games. The Terps have no shot to win the title and they will likely finish the season as a Big Ten doormat. But that is life in Big Ten volleyball which is one of the best conferences for volleyball in the country.
At this point, the Terps are in a three-way tie for dead last in the conference. They are tied with Iowa and Rutgers at 0-6. Those may be the only teams that Maryland beats this year. They get two matches with each team so they'll have four good chances to get their first conference win.