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Maryland has played the hardest schedule of any team in college football

The Terps have played badly, but they'd have a terrible record even if they hadn't.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland is 2-8 for a bunch of reasons, many of its own making. The quarterbacks have thrown 28 interceptions in 10 games, which is nothing less than one of the worst marks in the history of major college football. There's been coaching tumult, growing pains with young players, an underachieving secondary, you name it.

But the most overarching reason for Maryland's dismal season? That's its schedule.

In new data released on Sunday, SB Nation's Bill Connelly measures Maryland's strength of schedule as the hardest of any of the 128 teams in FBS. Connelly's model is based on S&P+, an efficiency and explosiveness-based metric that parses play-by-play data from every team and aims to give an account of teams' true talent level.

Interestingly, the No. 2 strength of schedule belongs to Minnesota, another Big Ten team and one that's had some tough crossover games against Maryland's East division. The Gophers, like the Terrapins, have losses to Ohio State and Michigan, though not by as wide margins as Maryland's defeats.

On Connelly's scale, Maryland's strength-of-schedule is by far the hardest in the country:

Team SoS
1 Maryland 2.7
2 Minnesota 1.9
3 Kansas State 1.8
4 West Virginia 1.8
5 Alabama 1.8

It's been a hard position for Maryland, which has played seven-straight games against teams in the S&P+ top 32. The Terps, who are No. 75, have predictably lost each of those games. They also lost to Bowling Green, which looked bad at the time but now really doesn't: The Falcons are No. 16 in the country by S&P+ as of this writing.

There's some hope, though, in that Maryland's schedule next year is a lot easier. The Terps won't have Big Ten West foes Iowa or Wisconsin on their schedule, instead seeing lesser teams like Purdue, Minnesota and Nebraska.They also won't have West Virginia on their non-conference schedule. It's another reason Maryland's next coach will probably look pretty good.