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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 12/ 3/2010

Champs Sports Bowl debate

By Rick Nelligan

At the end of my post on Wednesday, I teased a preview of Maryland’s bowl options. But Eric Prisbell beat me to the punch (and did a pretty good job, too). So I will instead focus my attention (or anger) towards the Champs Sports Bowl debate, focusing on the two main teams and three main criteria.

Record

The Champs Sports Bowl is “encouraged” to select the third place team in the ACC. There are two teams you can make an argument for as the third place team, Maryland and Miami. The Terps finished with an 8-4 overall record and 5-3 record in the ACC, while the Hurricanes finished with an overall record of 7-5, but also posted a 5-3 ACC record while prevailing over the Terps earlier in the season. So depending on which you place more stock in (overall record, or conference and head to head results) you can make the argument for either team.

But -- shocker -- you can’t make an argument for NC State as the ACC’s third ranked team. The Wolfpack and Terps did finish with identical records, but the Terps were victorious in the only matchup between the two. Choosing NC State over Maryland is like choosing a girl on the homecoming court over the homecoming queen in high school. Sure, she’s still kind of pretty, but wouldn’t you rather date a winner?

Advantage: Terps

Fans willingness to travel

This is the Champs Sports Bowl committee’s principal concern as it pertains to Maryland. Terrapin Nation failed to sell-out any game at Byrd Stadium this season, although the showings against Florida State and NC State late were promising. But let’s be honest, if you’re not a die-hard Terp fan, it’s pretty tough to support a team that was only 2-10 a year ago until they have proven it to you. Obviously, the Terps have earned the support of Testudo’s Troops, and I believe it would show at a prestigious bowl game. Our fans have traveled very well to bowls in Florida in the past, even posting one of the largest attendances in the Orange Bowl’s history.

I’ve never been to Carter-Finley Stadium, so I have no real experience with NC State’s atmosphere or fan base. From what I’ve read, people believe their fan base to be larger than the Terps’, so I guess I’ll have to take their word for it. But I can’t imagine any more Wolfpack fans would travel to Orlando than Terps fans. Who wouldn’t want to get out of the D.C. area in the middle of winter?

Advantage: Wolfpack

Team’s story

There aren’t many teams in the nation that can boast a better storyline than the Terps. Maryland improved on its most dismal season in school history to become bowl eligible and arguably the third best team in the ACC. A coach that would’ve been let go in a better economy resurrected his program and career, winning the ACC Coach of the Year award. An unknown, redshirt freshman quarterback took the reins early in the season and led his team as if he was a senior, ranking third among freshmen quarterbacks in passing efficiency (higher than NC State quarterback Russell Wilson, I might add). Torrey Smith is coming off of a dominating 200+ yard, four-touchdown game and the Terps have a blitz-heavy defense led by two All-ACC first teamers and arguably the best punt returner in the nation in Tony Logan.

I obviously don’t follow the Wolfpack very closely, but as far as I know they don’t have any major storylines. Sure they have a first-class quarterback (did I mention his passing efficiency rating was lower than Danny O’Brien’s?), but what else do they have? I’m not saying they don’t have any good players, but the storyline isn’t exactly something you can build your marketing campaign around.

Which would you choose, a story of redemption and a team that can thrill in all three phases of the game, or a team with a good quarterback?

Advantage: Terps

A trip to the Champs Sports Bowl would be huge for Maryland’s football program. It would increase our prestige, it would help financially, and it could do wonders for recruiting. It’s not that I’d be upset if we made another bowl, but the Terps earned an invite to the Champs Sports Bowl. Unfortunately though, politics play a huge part in college football (see: BCS) so everything is very much in the air right now.

What do you think Terrapin Nation? Do you think we deserve an invite to the Champs Sports Bowl? Would you be satisfied and still travel to a different bowl game?

Also, just in case you missed it, Coach Friedgen visited the Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan on Thursday. He gave some pretty good tidbits on what he thinks about Maryland’s bowl situation, his contract status and Danny O’Brien. It’s well worth a listen.

By Rick Nelligan  | December 3, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Rick Nelligan, Terps  | Tags:  Rick Nelligan, Terps  
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Comments

Despite all of Prisbell's efforts, MD is not headed to the Military Bowl. You can take this to the bank.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 3, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Talks are still ongoing but Clemson is going to the Tire, State looks like the pick for the Champs, and UNC to Nashville. Sun is looking at teams for TV coverage so miami and BC are actually their preferences. We may be stuck in DC, but there is a lot of behind the scenes talking right now.

Posted by: minhle1 | December 3, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Maryland should consider opposing Boise State in the Hunger Bowl. I realize the argument the Eric made about classes but a game against BSU would attract significant national attention.

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | December 3, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I think with a new AD at UMD and major fiscal problems there they will be accepting the Military Bowl if offered. They desire a bigger bowl, but after all it is the Military Bowl and we can celebrate a bowl game this year and salute our military at the same time. It will also fire up the team for next year to win the ACC.

Posted by: bfjam | December 3, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

MD vs. Notre Dame= good
MD vs. WVU= better
MD vs. East Cacalacky= well...

Posted by: ecglotfelty | December 3, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Rick, I have never posted a comment like this on a website before but you have insulted the Wolfpack fan base, so I feel it is necessary. I work for a TV station that is connected to a newspaper and I work right next to dozens of newspaper writers so I believe I can spot a hack. Rick sir, you are a hack. I would suggest that when you write a column, you write it on something that you have knowledge of. Unlike yourself, I have been to Carter-Finley Stadium (have not missed a game since 2003 despite the fact I live in Florida). I have also not missed an NC State bowl game in ten years. You obviously do not know much about how well NC State travels. To suggest that Maryland fans travel just as well as NC State fans is very insulting. Maryland could not fill their home stadium above 75% this season. That is just sad. I don't care what your record was last year. NC State sold out its stadium after terrible seasons multiple times. NC State has one of the best fan bases in the ACC (FSU and Clemson may be better, but that is it). Yes, Maryland beat NC State at the end of the season so yes in a perfect world they might deserve a spot in the Champs Bowl. But we don't live in a perfect world. Bowl selection depends on how many tickets a team can sell. Not politics. And guess what? NC State will sell a ton of tickets to a bowl in Orlando...probably 2 or 3 times as many as Maryland. I guess we will know what the FCS folks think tomorrow (FCS stands for Florida Citrus Sports in case you did not know). When they announce that NC State is playing either Notre Dame or West Virgina, consider that my "I told you so."
So just curious Rick...are you an intern or recent college graduate? I know newspapers kept a lot of the cheap labor when they were laying folks off a year and half ago.

Posted by: davegh96 | December 4, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Wow, you struck a nerve with davegh96. Guess I must have read it wrong, but I was pretty sure you said "Advantage: Wolfpack" under your Fan Willingness to Travel category. And I thought you said you'd "have to take their word for it" that NC State has a larger fan base. Your point seemed to be that many Terps fans would likely show up for a bowl game in Florida (as we have done in the past), even though home attendance (for a schedule with FIU, Duke, etc.) wasn't impressive. Doesn't sound to me like you're insulting NC State fans.

But since davegh96 works for a TV station that's connected to a newspaper, I guess he must be smarter than the rest of us...

Posted by: SmittyATL | December 5, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Wow, you struck a nerve with davegh96. Guess I must have read it wrong, but I was pretty sure you said "Advantage: Wolfpack" under your Fan Willingness to Travel category. And I thought you said you'd "have to take their word for it" that NC State has a larger fan base. Your point seemed to be that many Terps fans would likely show up for a bowl game in Florida (as we have done in the past), even though home attendance (for a schedule with FIU, Duke, etc.) wasn't impressive. Doesn't sound to me like you're insulting NC State fans.

But since davegh96 works for a TV station that's connected to a newspaper, I guess he must be smarter than the rest of us...

Posted by: SmittyATL | December 5, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Wow, you struck a nerve with davegh96. Guess I must have read it wrong, but I was pretty sure you said "Advantage: Wolfpack" under your Fan Willingness to Travel category. And I thought you said you'd "have to take their word for it" that NC State has a larger fan base. Your point seemed to be that many Terps fans would likely show up for a bowl game in Florida (as we have done in the past), even though home attendance (for a schedule with FIU, Duke, etc.) wasn't impressive. Doesn't sound to me like you're insulting NC State fans.

But since davegh96 works for a TV station that's connected to a newspaper, I guess he must be smarter than the rest of us...

Posted by: SmittyATL | December 5, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Wow, if NC State fans travel so well why was there such a pitifully small group of them at Byrd Stadium when they played the Terps. After all, that was for their right to play in the ACC Championship game and they only had to travel to a stadium within driving distance. Gee, was there even 1,000 there...I don't think so. Since davegh96 doesn't fancy himself a "hack" and since "works for a television station connected to a newspaper" (gee, I hope that's not literally true...lol)maybe he can address NCS's woeful attendance at such a critical game for the Wolfpack.

Also, I was at their stadium for the "trash" game a few years back when the Terps beat them...what a classless bunch of fans.

Posted by: hatagain | December 5, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Seriously? You people in Maryland are really hilarious...the BOTTOM LINE is, your stadium was 2/3 full (30,000, MAYBE!)on SENIOR DAY, and an 8-3 team? Seriously? Carter Finley would have been SOLD OUT, and 57,000+ fans.

SO, Champs Bowl committee~let's do the MATH! Maryland's fan base sucks in support!!! advantage Wolfpack. ;)

We will send you a postcard form Orlando and Disney! Fear the turtle? lol!!

Posted by: makncsu | December 5, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The Terps should depart the ACC and join the Big Ten and make some real money, the ACC is tilted to the southern teams.

Posted by: usgov | December 5, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

NC State came into College Park needing a single win to compete in the ACC Championship and got beat down to a unranked team in an empty stadium and now they are celebrating going to the Champs Bowl. omg lol lol.

Posted by: usgov | December 5, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

If you think Capital One stadium was empty against NC State wait until the Terps go to RFK to play in the Military Bowl aka Toilet Bowl. If you think Maryland fans are going to attend and tailgate in economically destitute South East DC your smoking crack with rest of the clientele.

Posted by: usgov | December 5, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the bowl selection yanks. I'm sure DC in the winter will be really nice. Way better than Florida, where I'm going to be. You already proved you were not as good as West Virginia anyway.
In all fairness through, you did play a good game against us. Torrey Smith made our secondary look like a JV squad.
And if your looking for story lines how about an offensive coordinator that just won his battle with leukemia, a linebacker that overcame missing all of last season with a shattered leg and collapsed lung to make first team all-ACC, or a quarterback that is a two sport stud. Don't dismiss NC State if you don't know anything about them.

Posted by: ncsustudent | December 5, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

The Terps are once agan screwed by the Southcentric rednecks that run the ACC. And anyone who thinks only the bowls decide, and the ACC has no say, in what school plays where is a fool. Maryland and Boston College, with the only 2 large TV markets in the ACC should seriouly explore leaving for another league, maybe the Big East. I think a league with TCU, MD, BC, WV, Pitt would be better on the field than the ACC and with sigificantly larger TV markets. However, it is an achievement for the Terps to make a bowl and the extra month of practice will benefit the younger players for next year. Hopefully Terps fans will turnout to support the team at the Military Bowl so that next year bowls can't again claim bad fan support as an excuse.

Posted by: DodgerDog | December 6, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

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