[Ed. note -- Front Page'd]
Saturday should be a competitive game. I think its a battle of a defensive minded team vs. an offensive mind team. My sense is that BC fans are feeling good about this game for a couple of reasons. First they believe BC is better than its 1-6 record and that UMD is not as good as their 4-3 record. Second they think the injuries will hurt UMD. This post will address both those points.
The first point kind of has two parts, that BC is better than their record and UMD is worse than their record. I think its true BC is slightly better than its record. BC's schedule through 7 games has been fairly difficult, but still managable. Sagarin ranks BC schedule through 7 games as the 38th hardest in the nation. I would divide BC's into four components through 7 games of two very good teams (FSU and Clemson), one good team (Northwestern), two middling teams (Miami and GT), and two weaker teams (Army and Maine). BC has been competitive in a lot of their losses (Miami, Northwestern, Clemson, and Army) so only 2 of their 6 losses have not been competitive. Still BC seems to be trending downwards and given their schedule a middling team is probably 3-4 with wins over Maine and Army and a split of Miami and GT. This BC team is probably a little bit better than their record, but it just seems to me your typical midddling ACC team (6-6 3-5 in conference) would be 3-4 with that record.
I think there is also a little bit of truth to the statement UMD is not as good as their record. Maryland has not played any very good teams. They played one good team (WVU). The other 6 teams on their schedule are all middling are weaker teams in William and Mary, Temple, UConn, Wake, UVA, and NC State. Sagarin ratings have this as the 84th toughest schedule in the country through 7 games. UMD is also benefitting from winning close games. All four wins have been close games 7-6, 36-27, 19-14, 27-20. Maryland has been competitive in all three loses but really was never in a position to win the WVU game (they lost 31-21) and have two close losses 24-21 and 20-18.
As for the injuries, Maryland significant injuries for the BC game are at
QB: Hard to say what the drop off will be. Maryland lost their starting QB in the preseason to an ACL injury. That made true freshman Perry Hills the starter. Maryland was not really getting a ton of production from Hills, but he was doing a decent job managing games. He was lost for the season against NC State. Devin Burns the third string QB replaced him but was also lost for the season against NC State. Caleb Rowe is a true freshman QB who has played one series in his career. Its really hard to project the dropoff.
O-Line: Bennett Fulper is the only missing starting O-Lineman for the BC game. Fulper came into this year as the Terp's most experience O-Lineman. Fulper is a decent O-Lineman but not dominant by any means. There is some dropoff at this position, but not game changing by itself.
WR: Marcus Leak and Kerry Boykins are out. That is our second and fourth WR. Leak was having a good year with 400 receiving yards before being lost for the season against NC State. Boykin is an experience senior who missed the last few weeks. There is a significant dropoff especially with Leak. Leak is a fairly dynamic playmaker who is tough to match up against and is tough to replace. Boykins is an experienced option, but more of a replaceable possession guy.
D-Line: Andre Monroe is the only significant player missing on the D-Line. He was a likely starter but was lost for the season in the pre-season. His injury looked devastating at the time, but the coaches make a key position change that minimized the loss. At this point it would be nice to have Monroe as he is a good player, but really the dropoff was much smaller than originally expected as his the position changes and with a young guy like Darius Kilgo stepping up, the D-Line has been a strength of the team despite losing a talented player in Monroe who had 5 sacks in 7 games as a freshman.
Safety: Matt Robinson is likely out and true freshman Anthony Nixon is starting in his place. Robinson is an aggressive player but gets beat enough that its hard to call him any better than average despite Robinson always being involved in a high percentage of plays for a safety. Nixon is fairly dependable in coverage and has been a nice surprise as a freshman. He had an interception in his first career start against UVA two weeks ago and played solid in his second start against NC State. He is not really any better than average himself, but if there is a dropoff at safety I would say its been relatively minor as Anthony Nixon exceeded expectations.
Overall due the UMD's QB situation its really hard to predict this game. I think UMD is probably a slight favorite in my mind, but I admit that is kind of projecting only a minor drop off in QB play. In the end I think a good defense and bad offense triumphs over a good offense and bad defense but it should be a close game.
From what I understand BC has had its share of injuries this year too.