clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Byrd Feeder: Maryland was horrible against Bowling Green, so what now?

There's clearly trouble ahead, but it probably won't come this week.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

In Randy Edsall's first four seasons and now change as Maryland's head coach, the Terrapins have one good win. They are 0-10 against teams ranked in the top 25, but their win at Virginia Tech (which finished 20th in S&P+) in 2013 was a legitimately good one. Otherwise? Nothing much. By that metric, their best wins were against Michigan and Penn State last year (Nos. 45 and 46). Nobody else has even been a top-50 team and lost to Maryland. If losing to power opponents is your thing, Maryland has been the team for you in the last four years.

Maryland's saving grace all this time has been not really losing to really bad teams, at least not too often. Sure, there have been a few: Wake Forest in 2013 and Temple in 2011 come to mind, but not very many. Maybe Bowling Green isn't bad per se, but it's still a mid-major school that played at roughly a top-90 level last year. There are only 128 FBS teams. It's funny, because by percentile performance in S&P+, that's exactly what the Falcons were in this season's Week 1: the 90th-best team out of 128. What this adds up to, basically, is that Bowling Green probably is bad, or something approximating it. And since Bowling Green just beat Maryland by a triple-touchdown at Byrd Stadium, there's just one logical deduction to be made: Maryland is also bad – even more bad. This isn't complicated reasoning.

What comes next for Maryland? Probably a win to move to 2-1 on the season before things really get brutal.

Maryland vs. Bowling Green – What we saw

1. Maryland's defense was bad.

What is there to say?

2. Maryland's offense was bad. The badness of Maryland's offense requires a little bit more parsing, but it's significant in its own way. The Terps scored 27 points, which isn't the worst. But: They turned the ball over four times, had at least four drops (Pete stopped charting, because the game became too NSFW.) and had 341 total yards against a defense that allowed 400 rushing yards seven days prior. Bowling Green (by both S&P+ and points per game) had one of the 25 worst defenses in the country last year, then graduated most of its front seven. The Terps couldn't do much of anything against what remained, a week after Tennessee hung a 59 spot against the same unit.

3. Maryland's gameplan was bad. Did I mention those 400 rushing yards Bowling Green just let up? Maryland decided to throw on 33 of 59 offensive plays. No Maryland runner had more than nine attempts. This was as Maryland's quarterbacks completed an even 50 percent of their passes. No one was more relieved than Bowling Green.

Maryland vs. South Florida – What we're looking for

1. An opponent that is bad. The positive thing for Maryland is the next team on the schedule. South Florida is terrible, and Maryland is probably better. This team was 115th in S&P+ last year, and our colleague Bill Connelly pegs the Bulls as No. 115 for 2015. This team has virtually no redeeming qualities. It should not beat Maryland, or any other power-conference team, with the possible exception of Kansas.

2. A quality of play that is bad. Of course, Maryland and South Florida have an ugly recent history. You might recall that they met in an empty NFL stadium a year ago and tried to pass victory back and forth like a hot potato. C.J. Brown threw a couple of interceptions here, Steven Bench sprinkled one in there and Maryland ultimately prevailed by virtue of a punt block touchdown. The score was 24-17, and Maryland won in spite of six turnovers. It strains reason to expect this year's game will be the visually pleasing sort.

3. A result that should be ... good? And yet! South Florida is a greater degree of bad than Maryland on every measurable and projectable level. Maryland should settle as somewhere between Nos. 60 and 80 in terms of S&P+, scoring margin and record this year, while South Florida will be around the 100 club. Maryland's playing this game at home. Though the crowd isn't likely to be any great advantage, it won't hurt anything, and Maryland remains objectively more skilled than next week's visitors. The Terrapins should win. If they don't, they're headed to a dark place.