Maryland Terrapins

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 15: J.T. Barrett #16 of the Ohio State Buckeyes carries the football during the first quarter of the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on November 15, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Getty Images

CFT Previews: The Big Ten

14 Comments

If there was ever a season the Big Ten looked like the Big Two and the Little Ten, this was it. Michigan State is reloading, while the rest of the conference scraps for space amongst themselves as Ohio State and Michigan take off into their own stratosphere.

Here’s a quick glance at how we think the Big Ten shakes out.

EAST
1. Ohio State (12-1 overall in 2015, 7-1 Big Ten): Losing all but six of your 22 starters would be a problem for anyone but Ohio State. If the 2014 team played like a pack of lions, the 2015 bunch was a pack of lions playing with a belly full of antelope: the ability was there, the desire wasn’t. This year’s group is just as talented, they just haven’t had the chance to prove it yet.

2. Michigan (10-3, 6-2 Big Ten): Many think next year will be The Year for Michigan. Jim Harbaugh doesn’t like working on other people’s timelines. I like this year’s team to lose to Ohio State but still reach the College Football Playoff.

3. Michigan State (12-2, 7-1 Big Ten): Seemingly every year Michigan State reaches a height previously thought to be unattainable, but last year’s second-in-three-years Big Ten championship and CFP appearance feels like the farthest Mark Dantonio can take this team now that Michigan is no longer out to a decade-long lunch.

4. Penn State (7-6, 4-4 Big Ten): With college football’s most miserable marriage of James Franklin and Christian Hackenberg at long last over, this should be the year Penn State starts to look like the Penn State Franklin wants it to be, especially with Joe Moorhead running the offense. The residual effects of the sanctions, though, say 2017 may be more like it.

5. Maryland (3-9, 1-7 Big Ten): Might as well place a giant “Under Construction” sign out side the program as D.J. Durkin works to build Maryland into a program after Jim Harbaugh‘s image.

6. Rutgers (3-9, 1-7 Big Ten): Ditto as above, but with an even larger “Under Construction” sign and Harbaugh’s mug crossed out from it and Urban Meyer‘s pasted crudely on top.

7. Indiana (6-7, 2-7 Big Ten): Kevin Wilson has done some nice things in Bloomington. He’s run the ball as well as anyone in the conference, he put a scare into Ohio State last season and he took the Hooisers to a bowl game. The rest of the Big Ten East is getting better, though, and Indiana is, well, Indiana.

WEST (A.K.A.: THE BIGGEST TOSS-UP IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL)
1. Nebraska (6-7, 3-5 Big Ten): In a division that will largely come down to who gets lucky at the right time, go with a team whose luck is due to flip after losing six one-score games in 2015.

2. Northwestern (10-3, 6-2 Big Ten): Normally Northwestern takes a tumble after Pat Fitzgerald‘s bunch builds to a 10-win peak, needing to reload after losing the bulk of a senior-laden team. The 2016 Wildcats bring back enough to contend again.

3. Iowa (12-2, 8-0 Big Ten): Kirk Ferentz‘s teams zig when they’re supposed to zag, and zag when they’re supposed to zig. Last year’s undefeated regular season, coming one stop shy of an improbable Cotton Bowl run, was a zig. Most expect the Hawkeyes to zig again this year. We know better.

4. Wisconsin (10-3, 6-2 Big Ten): Feels like Paul Chryst, while a solid coach, will only take the Badgers to heights seen previously under Gary Andersen and Bret Bielema, but not above them.

5. Illinois (5-7, 2-6 Big Ten): New AD Josh Whitman made a bold move in hiring longtime NFL coach Lovie Smith to head a program to which he had no prior connection. Building the Illini to a contender will take time, but keeping Wes Lunt healthy may be all Illinois needs to reach a bowl game this fall.

6. Minnesota (6-7, 2-6 Big Ten): ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit has the Gophers winning the Big Ten West. I’m willing to be wrong in saying he’ll be way, way wrong.

7. Purdue (2-10, 1-7 Big Ten): Make no mistake: this is a make or break year for Darrell Hazell, especially with new AD Mike Bobinski now in place. I think he’ll break.

Maryland names starting QB, adds UNC transfer QB Caleb Henderson

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 07: Quarterback Perry Hills #11 of the Maryland Terrapins makes a pass against the Wisconsin Badgers during the first half at Byrd Stadium on November 7, 2015 in College Park, Maryland.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

There were a couple of developments on the quarterback front for Maryland Wednesday morning.

The one with the most immediate impact was the announcement that Perry Hills has been named the Terps’ starter at the position.  Hills, a senior, had been involved in an offseason-long competition with fellow senior Caleb Rowe for the starting job.

Hills started eight games last season and ran for 535 yards, the fourth-most by a quarterback in the program’s history.  He also tossed 13 interceptions; in fact, Hills and Rowe, who started the other four games, combined to toss a staggering 28 interceptions.

Of the 114 quarterbacks in passing efficiency listed on the NCAA’s stats website, Hills was 109th.  The 114th?  Rowe.

“After an open competition through the spring and the first two-plus weeks of training camp, we’re excited to move forward with Perry as our starting quarterback,” said first-year head coach DJ Durkin in a statement. “Perry has embraced this challenge from day one and has put in the work and shown improvement every day. He’s grasped our offense and the way we want to do things, and has shown tremendous leadership.”

In addition to the Hills news, the U of M also announced the addition of transfer Caleb Henderson.  The quarterback had just confirmed via Twitter four days ago that he would be transferring from North Carolina.

A four-star member of UNC’s 2014 recruiting class, Henderson was rated as the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Virginia.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Henderson played in a pair of games last season.  He attempted one pass, which fell incomplete.

Henderson will be forced to sit out the 2016 season.  He’ll then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

Colorado sees WR Juwann Winfree go down with ACL tear

BLOOMINGTON, IN - SEPTEMBER 27: Juwann Winfree #81 of the Maryland Terrapins scores a touchdown after a reception as Tegray Scales #8 of the Indiana Hoosiers tries to defend at Memorial Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Bloomington, Indiana. Maryland defeated Indiana 37-15. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Juwann Winfree‘s college football odyssey has taken yet another decidedly negative twist.

Colorado announced late last week that Winfree sustained a torn ACL during practice this past Wednesday.  As a result, the wide receiver will miss the entire 2016 season.

A bit of silver lining for both the player and the program is Winfree will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017 when he returns to the playing field.

“We all really feel for Juwann,” a statement from head football coach Mike MacIntyre began. “He is a phenomenal young man and has fit in really well on our team. Unfortunately, this is what can happen in football. But Juwann is a very positive young man and no doubt will work hard in his rehabilitation and will be back for 2017.”

Winfree began his collegiate career at Maryland, a three-star 2014 signee who caught 11 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman.  In November of that year, Winfree was suspended for a pair of games for violating the university’s student-athlete code of conduct.

In June of 2015, Winfree was suspended for a violation of Maryland’s student-athlete code of conduct, which was followed by his decision less than two weeks later to transfer from the Terps.  After flirting with Pittsburgh a couple of times, Winfree spent the 2015 season at the junior college level before signing with Colorado.

Wes Brown’s suspension to bleed over to Maryland’s first three games

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 07: Running back Wes Brown #5 of the Maryland Terrapins rushes against the Wisconsin Badgers during the first half at Byrd Stadium on November 7, 2015 in College Park, Maryland.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The rocky tenure of Wes Brown at Maryland will officially have yet another speed bump to overcome.

In mid-November of last year, Maryland announced that Brown had been indefinitely suspended for violating the student-athlete code of conduct.  That suspension cost him the final two games of the 2015 season, and, even as he was permitted to participate in spring practice, will also cost him the first three games of the upcoming season as well.

First-year head coach D.J. Durkin confirmed Wednesday that the running back will miss games against Howard, FIU and UCF, the latter two on the road, as the unspecified violation will bleed into the new season.

“Obviously, we’re honoring that. We’re going to serve that,” said Durkin, who wasn’t yet the Terps head coach when the suspension was handed down.

Despite missing the last half of November, Brown was still second among U of M backs with 317 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns.  Despite being hampered by a labrum issue, he was third on the Terps in rushing in 2014 as well with 357.

Brown had been suspended from the university in early August of 2013 following a physical run-in with Baltimore police, and did not play at all that season even as all of the charges against him had been dropped.  In January of 2014, Brown was readmitted by the university.

Bama’s still the favorite, but LSU makes significant gain in Bovada title odds

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Les Miles, head coach of the LSU Tigers, reacts during the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Getty Images
2 Comments

Back in February, four other teams had, per Bovada.lv, better odds to win the 2016 College Football Playoff than LSU.  Six months later, and less than a month before the start of a new season, the Tigers lag behind just one.

Currently, Alabama, 7/1 in February, is listed as Bovada‘s favorite at 6/1.  Right behind them is SEC West rival LSU at 7/1 and 2016 playoff runnerup Clemson at 17/2.

Ohio State, Bovada‘s wagering favorite earlier this year, has seen its odds grow longer at 9/1.  Those are the same odds hated rival Michigan (15/2 in February) is getting from the gambling website.

Houston (66/1) and Boise State (150/1) are the only Group of Five teams listed.  BYU (250/1) as a football independent (for now?) is also included.

Below are the updated odds for the 2016 College Football Playoff championship, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 12.15.46 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 12.16.34 PM