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Maryland vs. Michigan: The Terps are catching the Wolverines at the wrong time

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Maryland vs. Michigan: The Terps are catching the Wolverines at the wrong time

Maryland (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten) has lost three straight and things are not going to get any easier this week as the Terps host Michigan (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten), the 14th ranked team in the nation. The game is set for 12 p.m. on ABC.

Here are five things to know for Saturday’s game.

Who’s the quarterback?

The quarterback situation for Maryland is a mess. Josh Jackson was the starter entering the season, but suffered a high-ankle sprain against Rutgers. Tyrrell Pigrome took over, but left last week’s game with a knee injury. Jackson was thought to be healthy and came into the game, but lasted only one series. He looked completely off and freshman quarterback Tyler DeSue came on in relief and completed only four of his 12 passes, but did throw a touchdown.

This would be a disastrous turn of events for most programs. For Maryland, it’s just Saturday.

The annual quarterback merry go round is in full swing for Saturday. Pigrome is expected to be available on Saturday, but considering his real strength is his mobility, you have to wonder just how effective he can be? Jackson’s performance leaves questions about his health because he cannot possibly be healthy and play as poorly as he did against Minnesota. DeSue may be a bit over his head, but I would not be surprised if he was forced into action again.

Maryland gets Michigan right when its peaking

The timing for this game could have been better. While the Terps have gone 1-5 after a 2-0 start, the Wolverines seem to be peaking just in time for their trip to College Park. Jim Harbaugh earned an elusive top 10 win last week with a 45-14 beatdown of Notre Dame, improving his record to 2-10 against top 10 teams while at Michigan. The week prior, the Wolverines were about a dropped pass away from tying undefeated Penn State in Happy Valley, the same Penn State team that beat Maryland 59-0.

It’s pick your poison time for Maryland’s defense

The Terps have struggled all season defending the pass and have the worst pass defense in the Big Ten. The good news is that Shea Patterson has never thrown for 300 yards as Michigan’s quarterback with his career-high being 282 yards. The bad news is that 282 yards came against the Terps.

Maryland has not been quite as bad against the run...until last week when the Terps were gashed to 321 yards by Minnesota. The Wolverines are coming off a big win over Notre Dame in which Michigan ran for 303 yards.

Michigan has a fumbling problem

If there is a silver-lining for Maryland’s defense it’s that it should be able to generate some turnovers. Michigan has lost nine fumbles this season, tied for the sixth-most in the nation. It could actually be even worse as the Wolverines have put the ball on the ground 20 times.

The Terps have forced only five fumbles this year, but they should be looking to punch the ball out whenever possible.

A daunting schedule

Last week was the beginning of a brutal stretch for Maryland to close out the season. It started with a game against undefeated Minnesota, this wee they host Michigan, then it’s at Ohio State, Nebraska and at Michigan State.

The Terps currently hold a 3-5 record, three wins away from bowl eligibility. Getting that sixth win will hinge largely on what happens this week. If Maryland wins in an upset, suddenly six does not seem out of the question. Lose to Michigan and it is hard to believe the Terps can run the table, especially with a trip to Columbus still on the schedule.

While their schedule is doing them no favors, Michigan's schedule could. This game is sandwiched in the middle of a big four-game stretch for Michigan in which the Wolverines played Penn State, Notre Dame, now Maryland and host Michigan State next week.

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Pac-12 cancels all sports for calendar year amid coronavirus pandemic

Pac-12 cancels all sports for calendar year amid coronavirus pandemic

The Pac-12 conference has announced that it will not have a fall sports season and will delay all sports for the rest of the calendar year. The decision, which was expected, became official on Tuesday.

As of now, the conference will re-evaluate the standing for all sports after January 1, 2021.

“The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said.  “Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is.”

“All of the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors understand the importance of this decision, and the disappointment it will create for our student-athletes, the coaches, support staff and all of our fans,” Michael H. Schill, president of the University of Oregon, said. “Ultimately, our decision was guided by science and a deep commitment to the health and welfare of student-athletes. We certainly hope that the Pac-12 will be able to return to competition in the New Year.”

The decision came shortly after the Big Ten Conference decided to cancel its fall campaign. As of now, the Big Ten is hoping to potentially play in the spring.

Prior to the Pac-12 officially postponing the season, there were already legitimate questions if sports would be played at all in the fall. Citing health concerns and racial injustice issues, football players throughout the conference had come together and threatened to opt out of the 2020 season if the Pac-12 did not meet certain demands for improvement in different areas.

With two Power 5 conferences bowing out of the fall campaign, the fate of the college football season rests largely on the shoulders of the Big 12, SEC and ACC. All conferences are continuously meeting to come to a decision. A report on Monday stated that the ACC is set on playing the season.

There are still numerous players, coaches and powerful voices that want to see football in the coming months. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence helped propel the #WeWantToPlay movement on social media which featured Power 5 athletes asking for sports to continue with increased protocols, guaranteed eligibility and more. President Donald Trump tweeted his support for the movement.

Even with some wanting to move forward, the risk of playing through the pandemic may outweigh the reward. Besides the initial fear of infection and contact, underlying issues connected to the coronavirus that has been found in college athletes have programs and administrators concerned about the long term impact of the virus.

For now, it's unknown who exactly could be taking the field in the fall, But what is known is that the Pac-12 is joining the Big Ten on the sidelines. 

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Big Ten announces cancellation of fall college football season

Big Ten announces cancellation of fall college football season

After speculation and uncertainty surrounding the college football season grew in recent days, the Big Ten Conference has announced that it is canceling its football season for the fall amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall."

In the release, the Big Ten announced it will "continue to evaluate a number of options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring."

News from the Big Ten differs from speculation and reports coming out of the ACC which state that the conference is set on making the season work in the coming months.

The Mountain West Conference announced it would be canceling its fall season as well on Monday, with hopes to play in the spring instead. 

The Big Ten decision does not come as much of a surprise. It was reported that the Big Ten was going to call the season off on Tuesday. Dan Patrick reported that news and said that the conference had an internal meeting on Sunday resulting in a 12-2 vote to not play a college football season this fall. Nebraska and Iowa were the two conference programs to vote in favor of playing this season.

Additionally, signs of hesitation were shown in the days leading up to the announcement. The Big Ten recently postponed its ramping-up period that included full-pad practices. The Big Ten did, however, recently unveil its 2020 conference-only schedule, leading to confusion in terms of what its stance was on playing football in 2020. Now, there is no more speculation. 

The Pac-12 Conference is reportedly expected to make the same choice as the Big Ten, but has yet to make an official decision. 

While it's understandable that the conference is prioritizing the health and safety of its players amid a pandemic that continues to impact thousands on a daily basis, the news is sure to upset players and coaches around the college football world. Big names such as Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, among others, have been campaigning to continue the season with the #WeWantToPlay movement on social media.

With players from all Power 5 conference uniting, they have asked for universal health and safety protocols, opt-outs for athletes that want them, guaranteed eligibility and voices from all conferences to be included in the decision. President Donald Trump also weighed in, supporting the call to play football in the fall on Monday and reiterating that in statements on Tuesday.

Despite the large faction that was on board with the status quo for now, the Big Ten will not be part of a potential college football season in the coming months. There is a chance that the season is played in the spring. Reports indicated that Warren and leaders around the conference preferred that idea, but no decision has been made at this time.

The Big Ten has now spoken, and the Pac-12 is expected to follow suit soon. With two of the five major conferences backing out, it will be up to the SEC, Big 12 and ACC to dictate the future of a 2020 college football season. 

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