Hypothetical Conference Realignment Finds Maryland in Familiar Territory
In a hypothetical project revisiting conference realignment, Pat Forde rolled out his ten conferences with twelve teams each with the goal of achieving a more balanced, geographically-minded alignment. That led Maryland fans to find themselves in familiar territory.
Maryland landed in the "Yankee Conference", where the chance to reconnect with Big Ten foes in Penn State and Rutgers looms large with connections to coaches or players at Buffalo, UConn and UMass could generate stronger interest.
Below is the full list of teams in the conference with proposed rivalries in parenthesis:
Boston College (Wake Forest)
Buffalo (Kent State)
Connecticut (Georgia State)
Navy (Air Force)
Penn State (Ohio State)
Syracuse (NC State)
The proposed conference realignment gives Maryland some familiar opponents, such as Big Ten foe Penn State while the Terps' latest ACC 'rival' in Pittsburgh rejoins the league. A pair of longstanding ACC teams in Boston College and Syracuse give Maryland a bit more familiarity in the Yankee conference; Maryland last faced Boston College in DJ Durkin's first season as the Terps fell 36-30 in the Quick Lane Bowl. Meanwhile, Syracuse came into College Park last season in Week Two as head coach Mike Locksley and the Terps rolled through a 51-20 victory.
The chance for Maryland to connect with the local service academies in Army and Navy could pin the Terps' defense against a potential mismatch on offense. One proposed highlight? Maryland head coach Mike Locksley would get an opportunity to face his former boss when UConn and head coach Randy Edsall square up.
Buffalo could provide intriguing storylines for Maryland this season as the Bulls are led by running back Jaret Patterson, a rising star that played his high school ball at St. Vincent Pallotti. Rutgers, Temple and UMass round out the conference to give the Terps a chance to match up against a pair of local programs while second year head coach Walt Bell, former Maryland offensive coordinator, would lead the Minutemen against the Terps.
Otherwise, the geographic footprint of the proposed conference doesn't necessarily benefit Maryland compared to the Mid-Atlantic Conference that features several of Maryland's old ACC opponents. Bowl eligibility, however, would be a much easier task if the Yankee Conference came to fruition with several advantageous matchups.
So, as Maryland enters the 2020 season with offseason matchups against Towson, Northern Illinois and West Virginia, how many wins would Maryland tally in a proposed 12-game, conference-only schedule this fall instead?