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Why Maryland, Rutgers Could Endure 'Sophomore Slump'

Previous data suggests a decline for Big Ten's recent newcomers

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps a subtle golf clap for both Maryland and Rutgers, a duo that sauntered into the Big 10 and tallied bowl bids in the initial year as conference representatives.

While surveying schedules and dissecting returnees act as vague, loose factors to predict results, I decided to take the scenic route in previewing these clubs, and for newcomers entering sophomore seasons within fresh groups, history won't side with the Scarlet Knights or Terrapins for 2015.

Compiling the list of Power 5 clubs that have realigned the previous handful of seasons, only a pair of programs, Colorado and Mizzou, have sunk beneath the .500 mark in regards to a first-season record.

Aside from Gary Pinkel's Missouri Tigers, the additional eight have all endured worse records in the second season.


First Season Record

Second Season Record

West Virginia





















Texas A&M






Both will have to recuperate following the loss of starting quarterbacks, and for Maryland, it's just one of few puzzles that require piecing. Whether it be Caleb Rowe or Oklahoma State transfer Daxx Garman, the threats available continue to dwindle.

Cutting ties with Deon Long and Stefon Diggs at wide receiver, the Terps appeared somewhat well suited with Marcus Leak and the versatility of Jacquille Veii out of the backfield, but both will be deemed non-factors as the duo departs from the program.

That doesn't suit an offense that compiled the 111th-ranked rushing offense in 2014, as they'll lean on Brandon Ross to hopefully ease the pressure off whomever handles the snaps in 2015. C.J. Brown topped all Terps in rushing yards a season ago.

On the opposite side, Rutgers will look to upgrade from the inconsistent and mishap-prone Gary Nova, and my curiosity of whom would do the replacing sprouted amid Spring Practices.

I had contacted Scarlet Knights beat writer Dan Duggan to obtain the full scoop; here's what he had to say regarding the quarterback battle of Chris Laviano and Hayden Rettig:

"Laviano has a slight edge going into spring practice because of his experience last season as the No. 2 quarterback and getting some game action. But Rettig has more natural talent, and if he can pick up the offense, I think he¹ll ultimately win the competition."

Unlike the Terrapins, the Knights return a star-studded athlete on the hashmarks in Leonte Carroo, a receiver nabbing a breakout year in 2014; he should provide a respectable target and a security blanket for Rettig or Laviano.

While I believe Rutgers is in a better spot in terms of talent, surpassing eight wins may appear a chore for Kyle Flood and Co., as they'll absorb a wealthy share of road contests with Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan and Indiana, all while hosting Washington State, Nebraska, the Buckeyes and Sparty.

I'm no fortune teller, but don't be surprised if the trend carries on for 2015.