Coming off last year’s 7-6 campaign, including the lopsided bowl victory over Virginia Tech, apparently didn’t significantly improve their recruiting. That’s too bad - especially for their defense. Of course, their only impressive regular season win was against West Virginia and that was the home opener. What really hurt their season was the loss of WR Dontay Demus in the brutal home loss to Iowa. They went into that game 4-0 knowing that they would be tested. QB Tagovailoa’s favorite target was suddenly gone for the season and he reacted with five interceptions.

Playing in the Big Ten’s Eastern Division can be overwhelming with annual meetings with Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State. They also have Wisconsin to deal with this season. All four teams are nationally ranked and represent virtually automatic losses for the Terps. So the absolute best case scenario is an 8-4 season but the likelihood of that happening is slim unless the defense somehow, someway dramatically improves. It won’t be easy because key starters on defense won’t be returning.

What is encouraging is the return of Tagovailoa and Demus along with the starting offensive line. They also have a highly touted kicker who transferred in.

Worst case scenario is 5-7 with wins over Buffalo, UNC-Charlotte, Rutgers, Indiana and Northwestern. The pivotal games are SMU (Terps have good track record against early season non-conference worthy opponents under HC Locksley), Penn State and Purdue. The difference between 5-7 and 8-4.

My prediction: 7-5 with wins over SMU and Penn State (road upset would be repeat of two seasons ago).

One major upset, however slim, is the key for dramatic improvement in recruiting. Not an easy task competing with the Big Ten legendary programs. The defense would have to ‘show up’ big time. Otherwise, Locksley is not the answer at HC.