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Poll: Does Maryland deserve a Top 25 vote?

I knew that the game in Chestnut Hill, Mass., would be the pivotal game of the season. Win and a rebuilding Maryland team would earn some scraps of relevancy. Lose and Coach Ralph Friedgen could prepare to be peppered with questions about whether his young team would ever turn the corner.

Now, let me begin this entry with somewhat of a bold prediction: Maryland will host Florida State in a primetime game on Nov. 20 with a chance to remain in the Atlantic Division title conversation.

Don’t think so? Florida State (4-0 in ACC play) plays at North Carolina State and hosts North Carolina and Clemson before it concludes its ACC schedule at Byrd. Even if the Seminoles lose just one of those games, they’ll enter the Maryland game 6-1 in league play. Maryland (2-1 in ACC play) plays Wake Forest at home and Miami and Virginia on the road before FSU. If Maryland beats Wake and Virginia, teams with losing records, it enters the FSU game 4-2 in league play.

Whether Maryland (5-2 overall) is good enough to compete with the upper echelon of the ACC is another matter. The Terps have yet to prove they are capable of that. One person believes the Terrapins are Top 25 material this week. Rob Long, of Fox-1370 radio in Baltimore, gave Maryland a 25th-place vote in this week’s Associated Press Top 25. I’m not disparaging the vote by any means because I know how watered down things are once you write the top, oh, 22 or so teams on your ballot. It becomes a hold-your-nose vote. But Maryland is an interesting case because, at 5-2, you can make an argument that the Terps are not as good as their record indicates.

The good:
The Terrapins beat a good Navy team. They have not lost to a dog team. They rank seventh in the nation in turnover margin. And they have outscored opponents 52-7 in points off turnovers.

The bad:
The Terrapins have beaten just one division I-A team (Navy) with a winning record. They were beaten fairly convincingly in two road games. They have been outgained in total yards in every victory against a division I-A team. And the 222 yards Maryland collected Saturday was the team's fewest in a victory during the Ralph Friedgen era, according to incomparable Mr. Stat Patrick Stevens.

If Maryland beats Wake Forest, it will become bowl eligible with just one victory over a team with a winning record. And if Maryland beats Wake Forest and Virginia, there is a real chance the Terrapins could finish the season with a 4-4 conference record that would consist of exactly zero wins over an ACC team with a winning record. And if that happens, Maryland likely would get a virtual home game at the EagleBank Bowl.

I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. I’m just saying that it’s a lot different than the NCAA men’s basketball tournament selection process in which who’d you beat is the question that matters most.

By Eric Prisbell  | October 25, 2010; 8:32 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Next: Maryland's Danny O'Brien, Antwine Perez earn ACC honors

Comments

We can sit here and talk about how bad the Terps are right now but as we sit here on October 25th, the Terps hold their destiny as it relates to the Atlantic Division Championship in their hands. How many of the nattering naboobs of negativism would have thought that?

And if I'm the Fridge, I'm reminding my players every single day that they still have their fate in their hands.

You said yourself Prisbell, Marlyand self-destructed at Clemson so is this really a 6-1 team already bowl eligible??? This team is finding ways to win and that is all that matters.

Posted by: CapsNut | October 25, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Out of the 33 or 34 bowl games that exist now if Maryland qualifies for the lowest bowl game should it count. I know RF will but as a fan I only care about the bowl games on and around New Years.

Posted by: MARKHAGNER | October 25, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Prisbell, you know I love ya but can you please tell me where it says the Terps can control how their opponents fair in their games against other teams? I missed that part of College Football 101.

I (and I suspect most fans) could not possibly care any less about the fact that the Terps opponents aren't winning many games. It's utterly irrelevant.

And you are trying to have it both ways. When we play a team like Navy or Florida International, you try your best to tell the blog readers how this is actually a very good opponent. You try your best to describe how Navy won 10 games last year and FIU really should have won their games at Rutgers and at Texas A&M. You mock the radio promos that hype the game as a possible Terps blowout over FIU and go on and on about how tough this opponent really is. Then, when MD actually does win that game by double digits, a few weeks pass and now you act like that was against a lousy team.

Please just get back to reporting the facts instead of trying to "break it down" to show how bad we really are at 5-2. It screams AGENDA. And even though deep down I don't think you have much of an anti-terps/anti-Fridge agenda, on days like this where we are coming off a big win you sure seem like you do.

We are starting a freshman quarterback behind an offensive line littered with freshman and sophomores and we are coming off of a 2-win season. We are now 5-2 and 2-1 in the ACC and that is the ONLY thing that matters.

Posted by: Barno1 | October 25, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm happy with 5-2, but let's see where we are after Miami and Florida State.

Go Terps

Posted by: Kev29 | October 25, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Now that we have a road win under our belt, let's focus on getting bowl eligible since that can happen next week and then worry about beating a team with a winning record since Miami will have that no matter what when we play them. That will also be what's called a winning streak (back-to-back wins does not count as a winning streak; minimum qualifier is 3) if we do win these games. If these things happen, when we can talk about getting ranked because it will be earned.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | October 25, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Screw the rankings. Just win.

Posted by: SirPelleas | October 25, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Maryland Alum and even I don't think they're ready for a Top 25 ranking yet. But, they're getting there.

Posted by: carterm1 | October 25, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Apparently many of our fellow Terps fans don't understand what a top 25 vote is. It doesn't mean you are a necessarily a top 25 team. There are on average about 35-40 teams that receive top 25 votes. We are certainly among the top 40 teams in America after 7 games. Not that any of this matters.

Posted by: Barno1 | October 25, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

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