Champs Sports Bowl debate
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
| December 3, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
Categories: Rick Nelligan, Terps | Tags: Rick Nelligan, Terps
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