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Emerald Bowl Preview: Similar Teams, Different Seasons

Usually, when an 8-4 team meets a 6-6 team in a bowl game, it's over in the first quarter and by the second half, nobody is left watching. Usually, a 6-6 team has had a sub-par year, and they don't even deserve a bowl. Usually, a 6-6 team will have won three non-conference games against inferior opponents, beat the bottom dwellers in their conference, and maybe have pulled a few upsets.

The Terrapins beat Villanova, Florida International, and Rutgers in non-conference play. The Rutgers win counts as a non-conference victory and an upset, as the Scarlet Knights were ranked #10 in the country at that time. In conference play, Maryland beat North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, and pulled another upset, this time over then #8 Boston College.

Maryland definitely fits the 6-6 stereotype.

But as we've learned over the last three weeks, Maryland is much more than a 6-6 team. Their record doesn't do justice to their season. Although they fit the 6-6 stereotype, they definitely deserve the bowl.

Like I said earlier in the the week: If Kevin Riley spikes the ball instead of trying to scramble, and the Ducks spike the ball to stop the clock, both teams give their respective field goal units time, and the Oregon State Beavers could easily be 6-6 as well.

That's the way football is.

Oregon State got the breaks. Maryland didn't.

We're 8-4, they're 6-6.

Both teams have battled through injuries, and both have responded.

When Maryland beat (then No. 8) Boston College 42-35, they did it without leading rusher Keon Lattimore, and without a strong offensive line. Maryland was also without their second leading receiver, Danny Oquendo. And standout linebacker Erin Henderson played despite not practicing all week.

Maryland still managed to put up 472 yards on Boston College, 337 of those in the air. Nine different players caught passes in that game, and none of them had over 100 yards. Although Oregon State's secondary is statistically better than Boston College's was, it shows how big of a threat Maryland's entire receiving corps can be.

Oregon State had their share of big wins and ugly losses as well. Notable big wins include Cal and Oregon, and notable ugly losses include Cincinnati, UCLA, and Arizona State. For a look at how the seasons have gone, click "read more" to see a chart I put together, profiling the highs and lows of both Maryland and Oregon State's seasons on a scale from +10 to -10.