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The Maryland Terrapins 2018 football preview

The Maryland Terrapins 2018 football preview

2017 was a bit of a lost season for the Maryland Terrapins.

With two quarterbacks lost to season-ending knee injuries before conference play got started, the wind was out of Maryland's sails almost immediately.

2018 has the feel of something different.

KEY LOSSES

DJ Moore, Maryland's best player in years, was the No. 24 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and one of the Terps' best defenders of the last decade, Jermaine Carter, is headed to the Carolina Panthers with him. The Terps also lost a handful of rotational pieces on defense, but make up for it in what they have gained.

KEY ADDITIONS

For the second straight season, Maryland signed a top-30 recruiting class in 2018, and a handful of young players are talented enough to step in and play before long.

With quarterbacks Kasim Hill and Tyrrell Pigrome and defensive end Jesse Aniebonam returning from injury, each feels like a new addition to the team. Former top recruit Byron Cowart has made his way from Auburn to College Park and will be immediately eligible to try and jumpstart his college career. Additionally, former four-star recruit Anthony McFarland is ready to burst onto the scene after a redshirt season.

COACHING STAFF CHANGES

Five offseason coaching additions have added a new level of seasoning and experienced Xs and Os guys to the fold. The most notable replacement comes at offensive coordinator, where Matt Canada will be taking over. He's been regarded as one of the best offensive minds in college football and will transform the look of the Terps' offense. Other coaching changes were made in the running backs, offensive line, tight ends and safeties rooms.

SCHEDULE OUTLOOK

Maryland's 2018 schedule is not nearly as daunting as last year's, which was one of the most difficult in the nation. Instead of a road game against Texas and home games against Towson and eventually undefeated UCF, the Terps play Texas at home, get Bowling Green on the road and play Temple at home.

The Big Ten East presents its annual gauntlet of opponents, including Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State. The Terps get a bit of a break with their three crossover opponents from the Big Ten West. Maryland plays Minnesota and Illinois at home and hits the road to play Iowa. Avoiding Wisconsin is a huge plus.

BIGGEST QUESTION

The biggest question heading into 2018 is who the Week 1 starting quarterback will be. Head coach DJ Durkin has said that both Hill and Pigrome are ahead of schedule in their recoveries, but the position is once again up for grabs heading into the season. Hill is the favorite and the unquestioned future of the program as the local superstar who stayed home.

PREVIEWING THE OFFENSE

Whichever quarterback ends up starting will be running a totally revamped offense. Canada's system will look significantly different than what Terps fans have seen in recent years. Maryland's backfield is one of the deepest in the nation. Senior Ty Johnson is on the Maxwell and Doak Walker Award watch lists — for the best player and best running back, respectively. Behind him, there are five viable options who could carry the ball.

PREVIEWING THE DEFENSE

There's a lot of turnover on defense heading into the season. More than half of last year's starters will be replaced. For a defense that finished at or near the bottom of the Big Ten in almost every statistical category, that may not be a bad thing. Cowart and Aniebonam could team to form a power duo of defensive ends. Terps fans should prepare for another year of highlight plays form Antoine Brooks and Darnell Savage.

PREDICTIONS

The influx of young talent combined with the transformation of the coaching staff and more favorable schedule should result in an uptick in wins for the Terps.

Texas Longhorns — Maryland won last year in Texas in Tom Herman's debut. Texas has improved since then, but so has Maryland. This game is a toss-up, with the edge to the Longhorns.

Bowling Green Falcons — Bowling Green won the first half of this home-and-home in 2015 in College Park, but the teams have gone in opposite directions since then. Maryland wins easily.

Temple Owls — Temple has been a slightly above average football program for the past few years, but are still transitioning after hiring a new head coach in 2016. Maryland should be favored at home.

Minnesota Golden Gophers — Maryland won in Minnesota last year with a third-string quarterback. Playing at home with a real starter should be an easier task.

Michigan Wolverines — Maryland gets a bye week to prepare before heading to Ann Arbor, which should make this game closer than some previous contests between the two, but Michigan still wins.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights — A holding call negated a game-tying touchdown pass from Maryland's fourth-string, walk-on quarterback last year. The Terps win easily at home on Homecoming this year.

Iowa Hawkeyes — Going to Iowa is never easy. The Hawkeyes have a tendency to play to the level of their competition, up or down. This is still a game that favors Iowa, though.

Illinois Fighting Illini — Remarkably, this is the first meeting between these two teams since Maryland joined the Big Ten in 2014. Illinois is one of the few teams that has been worse than Maryland in that time. Terps win easily at home.

Michigan State — The Spartans are always a tough test, and though they lost to Maryland, things should be different this time around. The Terps will have a shot, but Michigan State should win.

Indiana Hoosiers — Maryland won this game in a shootout at home last year, and some of the most exciting games the Terps have played in the Big Ten have been against Indiana. It seems inevitable this will be a close game, but the Terps should win.

Ohio State — The Buckeyes are perennially one of the best teams in college football and have never lost to the Terps. That streak should continue this year, even though Maryland is at home.

Penn State — Thanksgiving weekend sets up a final-week matchup in Happy Valley. Though not a "rivalry," there is plenty of tension between the two programs. Penn State will have to reload without Saquon Barkley or offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, but should still win at home.

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4 ways to build an all-time Terps basketball lineup on a budget

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4 ways to build an all-time Terps basketball lineup on a budget

The offseason is time for fun activities that keep the competitive juices flowing.

In that spirit, our friends at Testudo Times have posed an interesting question about how to go about building a starting five of the best Maryland basketball players of all time, but on a budget.

With 25 players available, five for $5, five for $4, five for $3, five for $2 and five for $1 and a $15 budget, the task is to build the best starting five possible. It's a tall task, though one that can be completed in a number of different ways.

Before taking on the task yourself, some Terps alumni have some thoughts of their own.

There are a couple main themes here. First, this is an incredibly difficult task. Second, Len Bias is a must-include.

With that in mind there are a few ways to go about completing the lineup.

The best

Bias — $5
Juan Dixon — $5
Keith Booth — $1
Steve Francis — $3
Derrick Lewis — $1

This lineup can do just about anything. It can play fast or slow on offense and defense, it can shoot, rebound and play with toughness or finesse. Bias and Dixon are the superstars, Booth and Lewis are much better than their $1 label, and Francis can be the straw that stirs the drink.

The all-dunking lineup

Bias — $5
Steve Francis — $3
Dez Wells — $2
Bruno Fernando — $2
James Gist — $1

There's a mix of power dunkers and finesse dunkers on the squad with $2 left for an underrated dunker in Kevin Huerter.

The all-shooting lineup

Bias — $5
Dixon — $5
Huerter — $2
Lewis — $1
Fernando — $2

Everybody on this squad can score the rock. Huerter and Dixon are great 3-point shooters. Fernando is a near-60 percent shooter from the field. Bias is a staple on any and every team and Lewis was a good enough shooter during his junior and senior seasons to get the nod for the final spot.

The all-value lineup

Bias — $5
Booth — $1
Lewis — $1
Steve Blake — $5
Wilcox — $3

Bias is good value at any price and we've already talked about the value of Lewis and Booth. The lineup needs a point guard, and with a pair of $1 players, Blake makes the most sense, even as the most expensive option. Wilcox rounds out the team thanks to his versatility down low.

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Maryland gets great news as Anthony Cowan Jr. withdraws from NBA Draft to return for senior season

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Maryland gets great news as Anthony Cowan Jr. withdraws from NBA Draft to return for senior season

Anthony Cowan Jr. announced that he will return to Maryland basketball for his senior season after testing the NBA Draft waters.

Cowan, a local product out of St. John's College High School, has started every game at Maryland for the past three seasons. The point guard has led the Terps in scoring and assists the past two years, most recently helping the team to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. 

His return will be a huge boost to the Terrapins after big-man Bruno Fernando decided to forgo his eligibility for his final two seasons in College Park for the NBA Draft. Including Cowan, the team returns seven of its top eight scorers for the 2019-20 season and will be one of the more experienced squads in the nation.

With Cowan staying at Maryland, NBC Sports' Rob Dauster says that the Terps will be a potential top-five team entering the season.

His decision came hours before Wednesday's NBA draft withdrawal deadline. Earlier on the same day, he worked out for the Sacramento Kings, according to Baltimore Sun reporter Don Markus.

While Cowan has shown an impressive ability to lead his team in his three years, he was not a projected pick for the 2019 NBA draft. It's another year for the senior to display his ability, and lead a talented team to national prominence after he only scored 20 points in two NCAA Tournament games last year. 

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