Commentary: Turtle Soup this Weekend?

A few weeks ago when Clemson was the owner of such gaudy numbers, many observers said it was because of playing teams like Louisiana Tech, Temple and North Carolina. And while maybe some of the criticism was deserved, the Tigers' schedule is still more difficult than Maryland's.

The Terrapins have joked their way to a 6-2 record and bowl eligibility with a schedule that ranks 72nd in the nation out of 119 teams. And they come enter Saturday's noon game at Clemson with a cold dose of reality ready to slap them in the face.

Of those wins by the Terrapins, only one has come against a team with a winning record – and that came against powerhouse Middle Tennessee State, which they only won 24-10.

The other "big" win for Maryland came last week at home against Florida State. But in reality, that can't be viewed as a good win this season. The Seminoles are last in the Atlantic Division and are 2-6 in their last eight ACC regular season games.

The other Maryland victories include a bad 13-point win over I-AA William & Mary, which is 2-6; a monumental four-point win over Florida International, which is rated as the 118th Division I team and behind 45 I-AA teams in the Sagarin Rankings; a stellar two-point win over a Virginia team that got waxed by East Carolina, lost at home to Western Michigan and had to go into overtime to beat Wyoming; a blistering six-point win over N.C. State, which has lost to Akron, Southern Miss and Virginia and could be looking for a new coach at the end of the season.


For Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, the schedule couldn't have come at a better time. The big guy entered the year under heat and scrutiny after having had back-to-back 5-6 seasons.

Of course, piling up wins against lesser opponents has been the Maryland way the last two and a half seasons.

In 16 ACC games between 2004 and 2005, the Terrapins had only one win against a league foe with a winning conference record.

Unlike Clemson and other good teams that compile big numbers against lesser opponents, the Terrapins have been unable to do even that. In fact, the opposite has happened. It was the other teams that got the big statistics.

Maryland owns one of the worst rushing defenses (100th) and total defenses (83rd) in the nation. The offense is equally as bad, ranking 101st in passing and 97th in total offense.

When the Terrapins did play a decent team, they, not surprisingly, took it on the chin.

Their two losses this season were a close one to Georgia Tech and a drubbing by West Virginia.

This is the perfect opportunity for the Tigers to get back on track and continue their quest for a division and conference title. If there ever was a remedy for a tough loss, it's a home game against Maryland.

"The team that can get up in the next four weeks and play with emotion and enthusiasm will have the best chance of winning the division," Friedgen said.

Unfortunately for him and the Terrapins, talent plays the biggest role in determining the outcomes of games and Clemson isn't much like William & Mary. Top Stories