We’re back…after a long offseason, the staff is finally back to watching football, crunching numbers and giving you our opinions on all things Big Ten football.
It also means our weekly staff Power Poll is back as well.
This season we’ve got five staff members voting every week. That includes the following names:
Andy Coppens – @AndyOnFootball
Phil Harrison – @PhilHarrisonCFB
Philip Rossmann-Reich – @RiseNU
Dave Fitzgerald – @BuckeyeFitzy
Zach Worthington – @Worthyton
Normally the opening week of the season provides little in the way of knowledge, but that certainly wasn’t the case in 2017. Dare we say the first week of action for the Big Ten was highly entertaining?
You can say that, and we did over at the #B1GRewind Show.
But, how did all of that excitement shake out when it came time to vote? Let’s take a look at the official poll for Week 1:
Let’s just say things were a bit wackier than usual, huh?
- Only three teams lost this week, yet it was a winner, Illinois, coming up dead last and it wasn’t even close. The Illini’s unimpressive three-point win was also our winner for “Disappointment of the Week” on the #B1GRewind show…so perhaps their last place finish in the power poll this week was really warranted. It also appears that hanging tough with ranked teams meant a lot to our voters.
- While the rest of the college football world is in love with Ohio State…our staff is much more in love with the Nittany Lions…well not “much more” but they won out with three first place votes and OSU falling outside the top two in one voters mind.
- It appears there is going to be an interesting battle for the middle of the pack over the next few weeks. Michigan State was No. 7 in this poll, but had just a three-point lead on No. 10 Nebraska. Let’s just say the next few weeks should shake out the middle a bit more.
- Speaking of close fights…the battle between Michigan and Wisconsin for the third spot should be an interesting one indeed. Can Wisconsin’s offense keep up the high-scoring and keep UW ahead or will Michigan’s exciting youth movement grow up fast enough to challenge for the top of the East division and thus our poll as well?
Maryland at Ohio State: Is Maryland Ready To Close The Gap?
When: Sat. Oct. 7; 4:00 pm ET
Where: Columbus, OH; Ohio Stadium (104,944)
All-Time Series: Ohio State leads 3-0
Last Meeting: Ohio State won 62-3 last year
Line: Ohio State (-31)
Join our Andy Coppens as we take an in-depth look at the questions to be answered, key stats to watch and of course the key players as the Maryland Terrapins travel West for a matchup with the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Some wonder just where the Terps place is in the Big Ten pecking order…we’ve got the answer…well sorta.
Kasim Hill’s injury spells end to promising 2017 for Terps
Maryland’s worst fears were realized on Tuesday as a second quarterback is out for the year with an ACL tear.
One thing was made abundantly clear following Kasim Hill’s injury on Saturday afternoon against UCF. This team needs a dynamic quarterback to be a winner.
The worst of fears about the extent of Hill’s injury were realized on Tuesday, as head coach D.J. Durkin announced Hill had suffered a season-ending ACL tear. He suffered the injury after throwing just one pass for 8 yards in the first quarter of the game.
UCF was going to be Hill’s stiffest test on defense, but he never had a chance to get going as this injury happened so suddenly and so early in the game.
Durkin let us know that Hill’s character was already shining through in this tough situation while addressing the media on Tuesday.
“He’ll bounce back,” said Durkin “He’s got a bright future in football both here and beyond. I think that’s pretty clear. That guy’s a phenomenal talent and that doesn’t even compare to the type of person he is. He’s got a great attitude about it, he’s looking this thing right in the face saying let’s go get it. He’ll have surgery, rehab and be back with us when time allows.”
On Saturday, junior Max Bortenschlager stepped up in Hill’s place. Let’s just say there is a reason he was third on the depth chart heading in to the season.
Bortenschlager isn’t that dynamic quarterback Maryland needs to be successful to say the least, throwing for just 132 yards and a touchdown to two interceptions against the Knights on Saturday.
Sure, he didn’t have the luxury of a full-week of game prep, but he’s been the backup quarterback since Week 1 and should’ve been ready to go in to the game. He’s also had plenty of experience coming off the bench and being part of a quarterback rotation prior to this weekend.
The problem is, Maryland’s formula for winning this season has largely been based off of a dynamic quarterback who can keep defenses honest, run the ball and thus allow the rest of the running backs room to roam too.
Now what for the Terps offense and the 2017 season?
It is time for Walt Bell to totally re-think his offensive scheme going forward. Whether it is Bortenschlager or even Caleb Henderson taking the snaps going forward, both are better suited as pocket passers than spread read-option first quarterbacks.
It’s like the Terps have to flip their offensive 180 degrees and must do so with no time to prepare ahead of the Big Ten season.
Maryland’s saving grace here? Well, it may be in the fact that having to go through quarterbacks like it is going out of style is actually old hat for them. This weekend will mark the fourth time in six seasons that the Terps have had to start three different quarterbacks in the same season.
Is it any wonder they haven’t been successful in the past, and seem to be dead in the water for 2017 too?
We’ll see if the run game is enough to carry this team to bowl eligibility, because the Terps defense seems unable to stop anyone so far this season.
But, it is hard to see Hill’s injury as anything but completely devastating to Maryland’s chances of contending at all in 2017.
UCF Knights at Maryland Terrapins: Preview, predictions and prognostications
Maryland and UCF played a wild one in 2016. Can we expect more of the offensive fireworks in the re-match?
What’s better than feasting your eyes on our weekly previews here at talking10? How about feasting your eyes and ears too? That’s exactly what we’ll bring each week going forward as we flip our previews over to talking10TV every week.
Same great formula, just a new format.
Up first is our look at the UCF Knights traveling to College Park, Md. to take on the Maryland Terrapins.
When: Sat.; Sept. 23; 3pm ET
Where: College Park, Md.; Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium (51,802)
All-Time Series: Maryland leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Terps 30, UCF 24 (2ot) (2016)
Line: Maryland (-4)
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Our Philip Rossman-Reich breaks down the game for you.
Pigrome season-ending injury means Hill era starts early for Terps
Maryland suffers big blow as Pigrome suffers torn ACL, but just how big of a loss is it give Kasim Hill’s hype?
Tyrrell Pigrome had a rough year in 2016, but his 2017 season was off to a promising start against the Texas Longhorns. Unfortunately for him, it took just one cut late in the third quarter and the 2017 season is over and done with.
On Tuesday, head coach D.J. Durkin announced that Pigrome had an ACL tear and was done for the year. He also announced that star pass-rusher Jesse Aniebonam would be out indefinitely with a broken ankle.
Both are big blows to a team that performed very well in a tough road win over Texas to open the 2017 season. Pigrome was setting the Longhorns defense on fire, even doing so on his final play of the season.
Pigrome’s injury came he got loose on the edge and was attempting to cut past a Texas defender. Instead, his knee gave out and he fell immediately to the ground in obvious pain. That was the end of his day and now the worst fears after seeing the injury have come true.
He finished 9-of-12 for 175 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing 11 times for 64 yards before going down injured.
The question is just how big of a blow is this going to be to the Terps?
For me, the difference between this season and last for Durkin’s crew is that there is a second option worthy of leading the Terps offense.
That man is true freshman Kasim Hill, who many thought would win the starting job in fall camp anyway. It wasn’t a bad debut for the final quarter of the game either, as Hill completed all three of his passes for 44 yards and had five rushes for 17 yards.
Perhaps most important is that Hill came in just as the two teams were trading knockout punches at each other. Texas appeared to have plenty of the momentum heading in to the fourth quarter and instead of buckling under the pressure, Hill rose to the occasion.
Don’t count Durkin in the group that is worried about him being in pressure situations going forward either. He sees his freshman quarterback as one that relishes the challenges put in front of him.
“He’s been like a veteran guy everyday since he’s got here,” Durkin said about Hill. “There will certainly be freshman moments, but he’s the guy you want in that spot.”
While losing Pigrome is a big deal, most thought Hill would eventually take over as the starter sooner than later. He was one of the most highly sought after quarterbacks in the country, but chose to stay close to home and play for the Terps instead.
Hill definitely was thrown in to the fire last Saturday, but his next challenge — starting for the first time — will come against a bit easier of a foe. Maryland will host in-state FCS foe, the Towson Tigers, for Hill’s debut as a starter.
Things could get messy should Hill go down though, as former UNC transfer Caleb Henderson is out injured and Max Bortenschlager isn’t exactly the right fit to get this offense to be as high-powered as it was this past weekend.
Now the bigger long-term question is what happens when Pigrome comes back next season from injury. Could Hill have already solidified a starters role or will Pigrome get the chance to earn his job back?
Knee injuries can be a tricky thing to deal with, but at least the Terps have options this season. It’s a far cry from what took place in 2016.