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New projections forecast very narrow improvement for Maryland football in 2016

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By S&P+, the Terps are projected second-to-last in the Big Ten East.

Sung-Min Kim/Testudo Times

The Maryland football team will be a little better in 2016 than it was in 2015 but still finish near the bottom of the Big Ten, according to a new statistical projection.

SB Nation's Bill Connelly released his S&P+ projection model for next season on Monday. S&P+ is an advanced stat that parses play-by-play and is indexed by teams' strength of schedule to measure their true on-field performance. Maryland finished. No. 65 in S&P+ last season, and Connelly projects the Terps to be No. 62 this time around.

Here's the entire Big Ten:

Big Ten S&P+ Projections: 2016
Overall Rank School Projected S&P+
6 Michigan 19.3
14 Ohio State 16.4
22 Michigan State 13.5
26 Nebraska 11.6
28 Penn State 11.3
37 Wisconsin 8.3
38 Iowa 8.1
42 Minnesota 7.0
46 Northwestern 5.1
56 Indiana 3.9
62 Maryland 2.9
76 Illinois 0.4
87 Rutgers -3.1
88 Purdue -3.1

S&P+ pegs Maryland as the sixth-place finisher in the Big Ten East, only ahead of Rutgers. There's some good news, though, as Connelly projects Maryland's freshmen to make a more positive impact, at 47th-best out of 128 teams.

This is a statistics-based projections model, analogous to Ken Pomeroy's in college basketball. It certainly won't predict every team's win-loss record, but it's a good starting point for assessing teams based on their actual talent level and recent performance.

This year's S&P+ projections, more than anything, confirm what we've already suspected: Maryland has some encouraging indicators but remains a good way off from competing for a Big Ten title.