“At some point in an individual battle, the other guy says, ‘I don’t want to go anymore, I’ve had enough.’ The same thing with a team. At some point that team says, ‘No, wait a minute. That’s too much for us to handle.’ That’s called tapping out. We will never see this here. That’s a culture. That’s a mindset.” — Urban Meyer, 2012
Heading into his seventh season as Ohio State’s head coach, Urban Meyer has successfully implemented the desired culture and mindset in every aspect of the Ohio State football program. Competition throughout every position group reigns supreme, and the bluest of blue-chip recruits are always on the way in the form of reinforcements.
Throughout the spring and summer, I want to review the upcoming 2018 Ohio State football opponents, using the theme of competition as the baseline. While Ohio State has had more challenging schedules in the past, there are several games on the schedule that could potentially trip the Buckeyes up and end their goal of repeating as B1G champions.
These articles will examine the 2018 opponents, from least concerning to most concerning, based on various factors that I will list in the respective articles. As always, I encourage interaction, either through the comments section below, or directly @ChipMinnich. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I look forward to writing them.
8. at Maryland Terrapins (4-8 in 2017)
D.J. Durkin has been slowly and methodically rebuilding the Maryland Terrapins since his arrival as the head coach in December of 2015. A protege of both Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh, Durkin was able to take a 3-9 squad to a 6-6 bowl-eligible team in his first season in 2016. Maryland started off strong in 2017, with an impressive season opening win on the road at Texas (51-41), and were 3-1 before the downward spiral began with a 62-14 loss at Ohio State in week four (we’ll come back to this fact momentarily). Maryland finished up 4-8 in 2017, going through four different starting quarterbacks over the course of the season.
Even though Maryland took a step back with their record in the second year under Durkin’s leadership, he was able to secure a well-respected recruiting class. Maryland signed 24 players with their 2018 recruiting class, and were ranked fifth in the B1G and 28th overall in the nation. Probably the biggest name was DE Byron Cowart, who signed with Maryland out of Hillsborough Community College. Cowart was considered the number one player in the country during the 2015 recruiting cycle and originally signed with Auburn out of high school.
Why did I rank Maryland as a game of low concern?
Yes, Maryland is improving their level of talent. Yes, Maryland suffered through an inordinate number of injuries to the quarterback position in 2017, and that seems unlikely to repeat again in 2018. It comes down to what I wrote up above, and what I am going to write now…
The games between Maryland and Ohio State have not been close since 2014. As a matter of fact, they have seemingly become even more lopsided since D.J. Durkin took over in 2016. Below are the scores between the two schools.
2014 – Ohio State 52, Maryland 24
2015 – Ohio State 49, Maryland 28
2016 – Ohio State 62, Maryland 3 (cited by The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Bill Landis as the worst sporting event he has ever seen in person)
2017 – Ohio State 62, Maryland 14
That is an average score of Ohio State 56, Maryland 17. While I do not believe Maryland will have the same streak of bad luck as they experienced in 2017, the talent differential between the two teams is still substantial. Late in the season, coming off a road trip at Indiana, the Buckeyes may have too much for the Terrapins to try and match.