The next two weeks will involve educated speculation as well as reporting in order to get the best sense of which bowl Maryland will play in. And the task becomes even harder this season because of the zany nature of the ACC.
First, check out the story I wrote for today’s newspaper on the bowl situation.
And now I will give you a combination of what I know and what I think. It gets a little more convoluted, so I left it out of the newspaper version.
Yesterday, I talked to executives from the Gator, Car Care and Music City bowls. And I have talked to other college football officials as well as Gary Stokan of the Peach Bowl recently.
Rick Catlett of the Gator Bowl told me Maryland is still on his list of six ACC teams. He liked the way the Terps traveled in Jan. 2004. But they would have to be considered a long shot at this point. Catlett has his eye squarely on FSU and Georgia Tech because of geographic proximity.
Next up is Orlando. This one is the toughest for me to get a read on now. I view Miami as a wild card in all this. Yes, Miami is, what, a six-hour drive from Orlando and the ‘Canes have a national brand name. But they also don’t travel well, and the loss to Georgia Tech didn’t help. Maryland played here two years ago, and I have been told there was some disappointment regarding ticket sales, but I don’t have numbers to back that up.
Next up is Nashville. Scott Ramsey, executive director of the bowl, told me he has been tracking Maryland and the ease of Baltimore-to-Nashville travel really works out for Terps fans, regardless of the nation’s economic state. I think Nashville would be a great destination for Maryland and for its fans. if I were a betting man ... Nah, let's not jinx it, okay.
Next up is Charlotte. Will Webb, the executive director, told me there are too many variables right now. But North Carolina newspapers have reported that Webb has his eye on the Tar Heels, assuming they win Saturday, because of geographic proximity. It makes sense.
If Maryland is still on board here, I can see the Emerald Bowl folks in San Francisco passing on the Terps simply because they were there last year.
That brings us to beautiful Boise, which really is a beautiful place and a fun city. One of my favorites, actually. Been there a handful of times covering WAC basketball, and I have been to Idaho several times. That said, the idea of a Maryland-Louisiana Tech game on blue turf sounds less than appealing. I’d rather watch “High School Musical” three times in a row.
Another X-factor is this: If Boston College beats Maryland, the worst BC can get is Nashville. If the Eagles lose in the ACC title game, they can't fall any further than Nashville. BC does not travel well, so it typically falls further than it should. But it won't fall too far, and will likely be ahead of Maryland if it beats the Terps head to head, I would think.
So right now, if Maryland beats Boston College, I think the favorites are Orlando or Nashville. If Maryland loses, the favorites become Nashville, Charlotte or Boise, and Boise becomes a real possibility.
I can’t narrow it down any more at this time. And I’m sure this will change by Saturday night. If anyone disagrees with any of this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
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