Maryland Terrapins Vs. Florida International Golden Panthers Free Pick 8/31/13
2013-08-31 11:15:00 EDT
The Maryland Terps host the Florida International Golden Panthers in week one of the 2013 college football season.
The Maryland Terps finished 4-8 overall last season and 2-6 in the ACC. Maryland would have reached a bowl game had it not been devastated by injuries, specifically at quarterback. Head coach Randy Edsall will start C.J. Bitemn at quarterback this season. Bitemn was named the starter for the 2012 season but suffered a season ending ACL injury during the preseason. Bitemn will have the luxury of passing to one of the best players in college football, Stefon Diggs, who finished with 54 catches for 848 yards as a freshman last year. Diggs is a receiver, a runner, and a returner who flourished last year, despite his inexperience and Maryland’s quarterback woes. Diggs will have some help this year from junior college transfer WR Deon Long, another five-star prospect who has quickly grabbed a starting role on the outside. The Terps will use a trio of sophomores in the backfield this year. Brandon Roos, Wes Bitemn, and Albert Reid will all see time at running back for Maryland this year. The Terps defense has lost some key players up front, but junior NT Darius Kilgo should be an anchor on the defensive line this year. Senior LB Marcus Whitfield, a converted linebacker, will be on the outside, along with former safety Matt Robinson. The secondary has four players with starting experience returning from last season, led by senior CB Dexter McDougle. Overall, Maryland should have a stingy defense that will keep them in games, while the offense will find every single way to get Diggs the ball this season.
The FIU Golden Panthers were 3-9 overall in 2012. FIU fired head coach Mario Cristobal and veteran coach Ron Turner. Turner wants to run an aggressive offensive scheme that has multiple looks. QB Jake Medlock and RB Kendrick Rhodes provide a nice combo for Turner, but both have been plagued by injuries in the past. Another player to keep an eye on is Jakhari Gore, who transferred from LSU and is also a cousin of a NFL star Frank Gore. The offensive line gave up 37 sacks last year and this year they lose five starters who combined to start 142 games. The Panthers will only have three players with game experience on the offensive line to start the season. The new defensive coordinator is Josh Conklin and he will bring a 4-3 scheme over to FIU. The defensive line loses their top performer, Tourek Williams, but does have some experience coming back. The linebacker unit is weak after losing a few starters, but LB Patrick Jean should be a solid middle linebacker this year. In the secondary, FIU must replace S Jonathan Cryplen and that won’t be an easy task. The good news is that the corner position seems to be under control with Sam Miller and Richard Leonard. This FIU squad has some good talent but the loss of so much on the offensive line and the change of scheme on offense may hold the Golden Panthers back this season.
FIU was one of the worst teams in the country last year and after losing almost the entire offensive line I don’t believe they will be much better this year. Maryland on the other hand has way more firepower than FIU and they should run away with this game. Maryland was inconsistent last year and was prone to letdowns at times; so giving almost three touchdowns scares me a little bit. However, with a solid defense and playmakers on offense, I believe Maryland pulls away in the second half and wins by 24 to 28 points.