Virginia or MTSU: Which Would Hurt Worse?
Things I probably should have realized by now considering we try to cover this program: Through the first month of the season, Virginia has the worst scoring offense in the country. Not the ACC, mind you. The country. 119th in division I-A with nine points per game. I knew the Cavaliers were struggling. I have been telling people that they will be fortunate to win another game. But I didn't realize just how bleak it has been until I looked at the numbers more closely.
Among the Cavaliers' other dubious claims:
- They're 118th in total offense with 251.25 yards per game (edging out Florida International, which has just 196.25 -- good grief!)
- They're 117th in rushing offense with 66 yards per game (beating out San Diego State and SMU).
- And if you're going to struggle to move the ball, you might as well just give it away: Virginia is 113th in turnover margin, having turned it over 14 times (five fumbles, nine interceptions) and taken it away just seven times (two fumbles, five interceptions).
So with that established, I submit that Maryland losing Saturday would have the feel of a bigger upset than the Middle Tennessee loss. I know, it's ridiculous to compare losing to an ACC team with losing to a bad Sun Belt team. That's true, but consider this: How high were your expectations entering the Middle Tennessee game? The Terps had just come off a lackluster win over Delaware, the quarterback situation was unsettled, only the most optimistic fans could have envisioned wins over Cal and at Clemson on the horizon. So the loss in Murfreesboro, while shocking, seemed to signal the beginning of a bad season, or at least one in which the Terps would once again flirt with either side of .500.
But now, everything has changed. Contending for a division title seems possible. The team, though far from flawless, seems to be building the confidence required to win close games. All that changes again if Maryland somehow loses to Virginia. That's why I feel like a loss Saturday would be more deflating than the loss in Murfreesboro.
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