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Terps in brutal conference for reimagined CFB landscape

Maryland finds itself in absurd new conference in reimagined CFB landscape

           <!-- Video replace with player -->                  <!-- end Image Or Video Player -->           By <a href="https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/author/mike-deprisco">Mike DePrisco</a>                               <a href="https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/ncaa/maryland-finds-itself-absurd-new-conference-reimagined-cfb-landscape">           June 30, 2020 8:30 AM         </a></p>     <!-- .entry-meta -->          <!-- .entry-header --><p>With the coronavirus pandemic threatening the 2020 college football season, the game could look a bit different if games ultimately go on this fall. 

In response to potential change, Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde reimagined the college football landscape with sweeping changes to conferences, regular-season schedules and the college football playoff. Here’s an overview of his proposal:

– 120 teams (10 conferences with 12 teams each)
– Conferences are designed to minimize travel, with no more than eight Power 5 schools in each league
– Each league plays a round-robin schedule with one non-conference game
– No conference championship games
– 10 conference champs and two at-large teams go to the College Football Playoff (Top 4 get a bye)
– Bowl games for some who don’t make the playoff

The major takeaway for the Terps? Their conference is kind of brutal.

Forde has Maryland in the “Yankee” conference along with Penn State, Boston College, Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple, Pitt, Army, Navy, UConn, UMass and Buffalo. 

RELATED: ZERO MARYLAND STUDENT-ATHLETES TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

Now, it wouldn’t be the most brutal schedule, as Maryland would find themselves as one of the top five teams in the conference. But the travel schedule is rough. The Terps would be one of the southern-most teams in their league and would have to travel to New England and New York on multiple occasions in the fall and early winter. 

Coming from someone who went to UMass, football season in New England after the first four weeks of the years is just cruel. And no, it’s not because of the snow. It’s the soul-crushing wind gusts that won’t go away no matter how much you plead to mother nature. 

Ideally, the Terps would be in the Mid-Atlantic Conference with schools like Clemson, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Geography just seems like it’s going to bite the Terps here if the NCAA ever decided to go this route. 

If they do and Maryland ends up playing a good chunk of its schedule up at Winterfell, Mike Locksley and his players are going to need long-johns, knit hats and hand-warmers. Lots and lots of hand-warmers. 

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Tags: NCAA, Mike Locksley, Maryland Terrapins football, Maryland Terrapins

Howard makes a massive jump in preseason KenPom rankings after Makur Maker commitment

By Tyler Byrum July 03, 2020 4:35 PM

The Howard men’s basketball program was forever changed once 2020 five-star recruit Makur Maker announced his decision to play with the Bison next season

While this is a monumental step for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as a whole, this is also a really big deal for the current Howard program. 

Last season, Howard was 4-29 (1-15 MEAC). Only three of those wins were against Division I opponents. Literally they were one of the worst teams in college basketball.

But with Maker that will change things. Not only will they vault to title favorites in the MEAC, but their national profile and coverage will greatly improve. Already Ken Pomeroy, who is the developer behind one of the most trusted metrics in the sport (KenPom), has the Bison taking a huge step by simply adding the five-star center. 

RELATED: ARE TOP PROSPECTS GOING TO HBCUs A NEW TREND?

That meant Howard was going to be second-to-last in Division I for Pomeroy’s preseason rankings this year. Going to 252nd gives them a 27% jump by the addition of a single player. 

That will be the largest jump by a player – ever, according to Pomeroy. 

Makur is a 6-foot-11 player that is projected to be a lottery pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. His cousin, Thon Maker, plays for the Pistons in the NBA.

All signs point to Howard being the class of the MEAC next season, but overall the quality of the league as a whole will improve with Maker. 

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Tags: Makur Maker, Howard University

2020 five-star recruit Makur Maker commits to Howard

By Mike DePrisco July 03, 2020 6:59 AM

When five-star big man Makur Maker announced his final four schools Thursday and Howard University was on the list, it certainly raised some eyebrows. Now, it appears Howard has landed one of the biggest recruits in its history. 

Maker tweeted early Friday morning that he had committed to Howard and head coach Kenny Blakeney over UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis.

“I was the first to announce my visit to Howard & others started to dream “what if,'” Maker wrote. “I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow. I hope I inspire guys like Mikey Williams to join me on this journey. I am committing to Howard U & coach Kenny Blakeney.”

Top high school recruits such as Maker and 2023 five-star Mikey Williams are the first to show real interest in playing their college ball at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Maker is the first of his caliber to make a commitment amid a worldwide movement against the systematic oppression of Black people. 

RELATED: RANKING THE CBB COACHES IN DC, MARYLAND, VIRGINIA

Maker, the brother of Pistons big man Thon Maker, is the 18th-ranked 2020 recruit in the nation according to 247sports. The 6’11, 235-pound big man is known for his blend of size, mobility and perimeter skills at the center position.

Maker was born in Kenya and immigrated to Australia when he was one year old. He then played high school basketball at multiple schools in California before playing his final season at Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix, AZ. 

Maker will join a program in need of a boost in talent. Howard went 4-29 last season and will surely improve with their newest addition. But perhaps Maker’s decision will have a bigger impact on college basketball moving forward. As top recruits begin to consider avenues outside the traditional powerhouse programs, the game’s landscape could look a lot different in a few years.

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Tags: NCAA, Howard University, Makur Maker

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