Big Ten teams checked into the AP top 25 for the first time on Sunday as four Big Ten teams made their 2020 debut.
Ohio State (6), Penn State (10), Wisconsin (19) and Michigan (23) all checked into Sunday’s rankings as Minnesota also received the third highest “receiving votes” ahead of next month’s Week One matchup against the Wolverines. Sunday’s ranking also means Maryland will play three top-25 teams in their current eight-game schedule as the Terps seek bowl eligibility in the abnormal season.
Oddsmakers aren’t bullish on Maryland’s chances this season as the over/under on the 2020 win total is set at two wins according to Bet Online, while SportsBetting.ag has the mark set at 2.5 wins as the Terps hope to exceed expectations. While Maryland faces a tall task on paper, the college football world saw a handful of top-25 teams face scares as Mississippi State defeated defending national champions LSU, Oklahoma fell at home to Kansas State for the second consecutive year while Texas outlasted Texas Tech in overtime. In an abnormal season as teams battle depth issues day in and day out, Maryland head coach Mike Locksley alluded to “maintaining the mindset” needed to adapt and stay prepared on a daily basis as teams overcome inconsistent practice time throughout the offseason.
“The team that is able to adjust, the team that is able to be fluid will be the team that when the gates open, as I like to say to our team will be prepared to go out and do the best job we can, taking the next step as a program,” Locksley added. Maryland will move ahead with the season without seven Terps as Josh Jackson, Vincent Flythe, Jalen Alexander, Austin Fontaine, TJ Kautai and Olu Oluwatimi have all opted out while tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo is held out due to medical reasons. The Terps have since adjusted in year two under the new staff as the five-week preparation period ahead of the season-opener has left little doubt that Maryland will be prepared for Northwestern.
“I don't see it as a short, short time frame for us. We've got five weeks. Next week to October 24 lays about five weeks away, and typically to get ready for your season, a normal August for us we would usually get 29 opportunities to practice and go out and prepare our team. I think the challenge for us, will be making sure we're smart with how we practice, how we do all the things we possibly can to mitigate the opportunities for our players to track COVID, so that we are able to get to the game healthy. The next couple of weeks it will be really important for us that our players continue to do the behavior standpoint, to get us to where we are in that testing every day area of time. I feel like they have enough time. For me, three weeks is always kind of the necessary time to develop the callus. You need to play the game from a physicality standpoint. So, I feel very comfortable with the timeframe and the window we have to be able to have the team prepared and ready to go.”
Get the latest Maryland news by joining the community. Click "Follow" at the top right of our All Terrapins page. Mobile users click the notification bell. Follow @SIAllTerrapins on Twitter and All Terrapins on Facebook