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Posted at 8:05 AM ET, 11/23/2010

Why all Maryland fans must root for Duke

By Eric Prisbell

Root canals and rush-hour beltway traffic are only a couple of the things Maryland fans would gladly endure before openly rooting for a four-letter school from Durham, N.C.

But if Maryland fans want their football team to reach the most prestigious bowl game possible to cap a feel-good resurgent season – and one outside the Washington, D.C. area -- they need to do the unspeakable: They need to root for Duke.

As it stands now, Maryland (7-4, 4-3 ACC) is most likely --- though not guaranteed --- to fall to the eighth slot in the ACC bowl pecking order to play in the Military Bowl, against a Conference USA team, at RFK Stadium on Dec. 29. The reasons largely involve brand name appeal, or the lack thereof, and the size of traveling fan bases at respective ACC schools.

But there is at least one way for Maryland to have a chance to rise in the selection process and play a bowl game outside the area. That scenario takes into account the ACC rule that mandates that a team with at least a two-game lead over another in the standings has to be selected first.

If Maryland beats North Carolina State in Saturday’s regular season finale, it will need Duke to beat North Carolina (6-5, 3-4) to give the Terrapins a two-game advantage over the Tar Heels in the standings. With those two outcomes, Maryland would have to be selected before North Carolina.

Should those developments unfold, the Terrapins could then be headed to the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn. While it would still be possible for Maryland to fall in the selection process, the Terrapins would have a better chance of avoiding a weekday afternoon bowl game just 10 miles from their College Park campus.

Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen is telling his players that if they beat N.C. State, he will “fight like hell to get them in a good bowl game.” But barring an unforeseen turn of events --- Duke upsetting North Carolina --- Maryland’s worst-case bowl scenario may also be its best-case scenario.

The ACC bowl picture, which includes nine bowl-eligible teams, is fast coming into focus, even though the two-team Atlantic Division race has yet to be decided. Bowl officials privately said last week that one of the most coveted ACC teams, Florida State, is likely headed to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, which has the second selection, if the Seminoles do not win the ACC title game and reach the Orange Bowl.

N.C. State could land in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, while Miami is reportedly coveted by the Sun Bowl, which is played in El Paso, Texas. After that, the picture blurs.

North Carolina is the favorite for the Music City Bowl, while Maryland stands as a long-shot option. Clemson could land in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. And, if that occurs, Georgia Tech is expected to be selected by the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. Boston College, which has traditionally had a small traveling fan base, likely will fall to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.

Some bowl officials said they liked the fact that Maryland offers a compelling redemptive narrative, a rebuilding team that has overachieved and quieted doubters. But while Maryland’s fans have traveled well to bowl games earlier in Friedgen’s tenure, issues with regular-season attendance could resonate with bowl representatives.

On Saturday, Maryland saw a season-high 48,115 fans attend the school’s most anticipated game of the season – and perhaps in recent years – as the Terrapins played to remained in the ACC title race. But that was a strong showing only by Maryland’s standards.

That same day, 78,790 fans showed up to FedEx Field to watch two Big Ten teams --- tradition-rich Penn State and tradition-deprived Indiana – play a game that had no conference championship ramifications.

There are other factors that could arise in the selection process, as well, such as the opportunity to stage an intriguing matchup between two rivals. While bowl officials typically try to avoid regular-season rematches, Will Webb, the executive director of the Meineke Car Care Bowl, said the notion of a West Virginia-Maryland game would be too attractive to resist.

“Send me the contract right now,” Webb said last week.

But barring an unforeseen set of circumstances, Maryland is likely headed to the Military Bowl, perhaps to play East Carolina. If Maryland fans don’t like that matchup, they can root for Duke on Saturday.

It could be worse. At least they don’t have to root for Krzyzewski.

By Eric Prisbell  | November 23, 2010; 8:05 AM ET
Categories:  Football, Ralph Friedgen  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Maryland and the Military Bowl
Next: Scouting the Delaware State Hornets


I don't care about the bowl match-up. If the choice is between playing in a who-gives-a-sh*t game against a directional school, and having to root for THEM? Forget it. Not that important. Save the gas money.


Posted by: mabkhar | November 23, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I will stomach James Franklin as the anointed one before I take any HELP from that four-lettered school in Durham.

Posted by: mabkhar | November 23, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Send me THAT contract right now

Posted by: mabkhar | November 23, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

This is the same thing we often go through in BB. We are in the tournament (bowl game) but left to squirm about all the permutations that will decide our seeding. But in this case (football) it's not like we have a chance to actually compete for a chance to win and move on. We are really only going to compete in a second rate bowl and for that great opportunity we need to root for game outcomes between teams we could care less about or (certainly in the case of mabkhar) really hate. I'm just not getting sucked into this. Let's see if we can beat NC State. Right now that's all our team should be focused on. I'm not saying we won't win but I am saying the pay-off is nothing to get cranked up about...

Posted by: petecard | November 23, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I just threw up in my mouth reading that headline.

Posted by: Colm1 | November 23, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I guess we have to wait for articles by Liz Clarke if we want anything insightful about the team or the State game. Prisbell is such a lightweight when it comes to actually writing about football that he has to write 5 blogs in 8 days about bowls. LOL

Posted by: minhle1 | November 23, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

and LOL at having an issue with rooting for Duke FOOTBALL. who the hell cares. So you hate the whole school and some worthless football program because of K's success in the past? that's silly. thsi obsession with Duke is absurd.

Posted by: minhle1 | November 23, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

and LOL at Prisbell's "brand name appeal" notion. Does he even know that NSCU and UNC have little football history to even support that notion? Clemson is the school that has the brand name.

Posted by: minhle1 | November 23, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

The 3rd day in a row with a post about bowl games.


Could we further analyze the FSU loss, investigate the injuries to the o-line, or at least look ahead to the NCSU game on Saturday? No, we have to read stupidity from a disinterested beat writer about games over a month away when there's an important game this Saturday.

If you didn't know what you were saying in the first bowl game analysis post, just give up, because your continuing analysis of the ACC bowl situation is like digging yourself a shallow grave.

Posted by: Russtinator | November 23, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Duck FUKE.

Posted by: 21stCenturyCaveman | November 23, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I don't know why Prisbell keeps comparing the attendance at the PSU/IU game and the Terps/FSU game. He's comparing apples to oranges. The Penn State at FedEx was an "event" game for PSU fans that live in the area, a school that regularly draws 100k+ to the middle of nowhere PA for Saturdays in the fall. Of the 78k at FedEx, he doesn't mention how many of those tickets were sold before this season even started. Probably half of the tickets sold for the Maryland/FSU game were sold in the week leading up to the game, and while the Terps were unable to get Byrd sold out, they sold a higher percentage of seats in the stadium than Penn State sold at FedEx, which has a smaller capacity than their home stadium. When the Terps had a pre-scheduled "event" game earlier this season, they drew a near capacity crowd of 69k to Baltimore against Navy (capacity of 71k).

Posted by: Russtinator | November 23, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

If we get to a good Bowl game its because we deserve it. We will not support the "HATED" Devils no matter what.

Posted by: khornbeak | November 23, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

1)Why is journalist after journalist comparing the crowd at FedEx Field with the crowd at Byrd Stadium? Byrd Stadium's capacity is 25,000 less than the crowd at FedEx Field so at best Maryland draws 25,000 less instead of 30,000 less. Whoopdeefreakindooo!

2)Since when is North Carolina and NC State more attractive bowl teams than Maryland. Maryland has travelled well during Fridge's tenure and they certainly aren't more prestigious programs.

3)Miami may be a more prestigious program but they historically have travelled poorly. They will not travel well to El Paso Texas, bank on it.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | November 23, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Gambrills4, the answer to your questions come down to the fact that Prisbell is an idiot who makes up things to cover for his lack of knowledge.

Posted by: thedude1974 | November 23, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Do people not realize that while the Military Bowl is not the best bowl to go to, it gives us all a chance to go see our team play locally and have one more tailgate? Don't get me wrong, I would have loved to spend the holiday in South Beach but that's not happening now so let's look at the glass half full. A lot of people have been complaining about the economy and this bowl game requires very little travel.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | November 23, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I agree about the Military Bowl and also have no problem with Maryland going there. I just have a HUGE problem with the notion that North Carolina and NC State are more attractive bowl teams. There just isn't any credible substantiation for that. Further, unless Miami is having a good year they are not an attractive bowl team if they cannot get a Florida bowl invite. They have NEVER travelled well.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | November 23, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Does the writer realize that we dont care about Duke Football, its the basketball rivalry that matters. I didnt even know Duke had a football team, not that our team is much better.

Posted by: cm88 | November 23, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The Penn State-Indiana game was considered a flop (because they couldn't sell out) and the organizers had to put thousands of discounted tickets on Groupon leading up to the event. If anything, that whole event was a disaster for the Big Ten - who let one of their schools sell out to Snyder and Penn State. All for a non-sell out. I'd say the entertaining game in front of a big crowd at Byrd (with a big national TV audience) was a better overall occurrence. The Big Ten embarrassed themselves at FedEx and Wrigley last weekend - ask fans of any of the 7 schools not involved in those games.

And college football is a regional sport - where fans can travel on a weekend for events that take place only a dozen times a year. Of course Penn State (dominant school in a state with nearly 13 million people + a huge number of alums in the DC area) is going to be able to outdraw Maryland.

Posted by: Kev29 | November 23, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Further, unless Miami is having a good year they are not an attractive bowl team if they cannot get a Florida bowl invite. They have NEVER travelled well.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | November 23, 2010 11:28 AM

But people watch them on TV - and locals in bowl cities still hold on to some notion of them being appealing (though they're just an ordinary ACC program now). When it comes to national caché, we're still not the U.

Posted by: Kev29 | November 23, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Maryland has only one quality win and that was against Navy in the first game. So Maryland does not deserve a decent bowl game.

Now if they had beat Miami, WVA, or Fl State, I would change my mind.

Go Terps.

Posted by: fearturtle44 | November 23, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

BC on the road was a decent win, and better than the final score would indicate.

A solid victory against FIU isn't a terrible win as it appears the Golden Panthers are going to win the Sun Belt.

Posted by: Russtinator | November 23, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

New Athletic Director Lt. Worf has ruined the UM football program by bringing Freigen back next season. No one cares what happens next week or next year until the Klingon brings in a BIG name coach who can recruit BIG TIME athletes.

The only thing I will root for is for Worf to allow the Maryland Band to play the Gary Glitter, "History of rock and roll Part II" song again since Yow banned it. Maryland sports sucks with out it!

Posted by: DaveLopan | November 23, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

New Athletic Director Lt. Worf has ruined the UM football program by bringing Freigen back next season. No one cares what happens next week or next year until the Klingon brings in a BIG name coach who can recruit BIG TIME athletes.

The only thing I will root for is for Worf to allow the Maryland Band to play the Gary Glitter, "History of rock and roll Part II" song again since Yow banned it. Maryland sports sucks with out it!

Posted by: DaveLopan | November 23, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I guess you have $3 million laying around to allow Anderson to let Fridge go a year early and payoff Franklin? Do you have a legitimate "big" name in mind, considering Bud Foster is either staying put or taking an SEC or Big Ten job, Mike Leach is out of the question, and NFL assistants haven't exactly lit up the world of college football? Am I missing any "big names" out there?

Giving Fridge the rest of his contract was a good move, but he really should have made a decision about who will coach the team in 2012 (Fridge or Franklin), because that is going to really hurt recruiting this spring. If Fridge is the guy, he should have gotten an extension to 2015 with an easier buyout clause, and if it's going to be Franklin, he should have walked through the transition plan at the press conference. Now they're in a pickle with a head coach that is developing a great young team that wants to continue to coach with an offensive coordinator owed $1 million if he's not named head coach next year. I don't think there is a great move he can make in 2012 unless he can convince Franklin to not take his $1 million check.

BTW, the song is actually called "Rock and Roll Part 2," and it is ancient "history" that doesn't really need to be rehashed here. However, if you need a song played by the band to enjoy watching a game, then you probably don't care much about the Terps anyway, so go find yourself a Chicago Bulls game to watch and start chucking water bottles at Carlos Boozer's mom. Not only that, if you've actually been to a game in the past 5-7 years since the song has been removed from the book, the student section does a pretty good job doing it on their own without the need for a band.

Posted by: Russtinator | November 23, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Russ I love you. Great beat-down you just served that clown.

As for the extension, hard to envision Friedgen not getting one if he reaches 8 or 9 wins.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 23, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Agreed with the one quality win and that one isn't even really that strong. And the WVU loss isn't looking much better now that they're losing games since teams have figured them out. It would be great to play them later in the season when they're fading typically.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | November 23, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Gambrills4, the answer to your questions come down to the fact that Prisbell is an idiot who makes up things to cover for his lack of knowledge.

Posted by: thedude1974

So why is he the writer of this article and you are the blogger? Just wondering.

Posted by: ged0386 | November 23, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Great rebuttal Russ. Let's get these suspect fans off of this blog and show them to be the hacks that they are.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | November 23, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

When is Prisbell going to get relegated to covering GMU b-ball like his buddy Yanda got sent down to UVA???

This is ridiculous- how many posts are you going to put out here about the same topic, with unsubstantiated speculation. Why dont you start being a reporter- perhaps even an "investigative reporter" and get some answers.

- what's going on with the o-line after all the injuries?
-Any word on Max Garcia?--if he cant play can he get his redshirt back since he only played about 12 snaps?
-Any word or speculation on Torrey Smith going pro?
- Hows Deonte Arnetts move to the O=Line going? (you like to report recruiting failures-heres a 4 star that hasnt seen the field yet- whats deal??
- why havent Titus Till or Travis HAwkins seen the field??, both 4 star recruits behind Robinson and Franklin?

Posted by: asnis715 | November 23, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse


I'm not speaking for Eric and I don't know everything that goes on at press conferences but it's not like he's having pow wows with Fridge and his whole staff or even the players. They probably have schedules, meetings, practices, and scheduled time to talk to the media. He probably can only ask questions at a certain time and if he asks too many bold things, people have been asked to hand in their credentials. I'd love to get those answers as well but why would they answer these questions and tip off other teams?

As far as Hill and Hawkins, they're probably trying to red shirt them just as they try to do with most players they bring in so they can graduate and the learning curve will be a lot easier.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | November 24, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

He could have asked about Garcia and the injuries along the o-line during the postgame. He made sure to mention the insertion of the freshman in the gammer, but didn't have the sense to ask about the injuries in the post game---just lazy reporting. Hopefully those questions will get asked during the weekly presser, and our beat writer will dutifully get them into print leading up to a big game on Saturday.

Posted by: Russtinator | November 24, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Die Hard---
my point was more directed at the fact that there are questions a reporter should look to answer, ideally substantiated with facts or quotes, more so than the specific questions. PRISBELL is a garbage reporter that gets off on firing up the fanbase with speculative journalism.

As far as Hill and Hawkins though- Hawkins already redshirted last yr, and Till is behind a true freshman in Robinson who has seen the field quite a bit- I'm really not complaining in either situation- I'll trust Don Browns putting the best guys on the field. My point was more directed at the fact that Prisbell has no problem pointing out the failures of MD recruiting, but doesnt follow-up on what were thought to be successes

Posted by: asnis715 | November 24, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Going back to the original question: Duke football is an oxymoron. In reality, there are only two sports at Duke: basketball and fall practice for basketball. If we had to rely on the football team to bail us out, that would be like having to be rescued by a lifeguard who can't swim.

Besides, if the Terps cannot beat the Wolfpack, then we don't deserve a better bowl. I wish we could play WVU in a rematch (which was arranged for the Gator Bowl) but a game at RFK would be a glorified home game anyway. BTW, correct me if I'm wrong but didn't East Carolina beat NC State this year?

Posted by: ecglotfelty | November 24, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

This is a blog! Nothing written here is truly set in stone. It's to inform MD fans about things and get their opinions which this does a great job of doing. I think you're missing the point. Read his stories as they are more factual and not so opinionated or asking for opinions.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | November 24, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

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