I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Maryland will not qualify for a BCS bowl game this year. Call me a naysayer, but for some reason I just don’t think it’s in the cards in 2008. That certainly doesn’t mean there is nothing left to play for. This team should keep playing hard for the sake of pride, ESPN face time, and, most importantly, a choice destination for a bowl game.
I’m going to go out on a ledge this time, which is more precipitous than a limb, and say that we will not finish better than fourth in the conference. I assume that we’ll finish behind Wake, UNC, and Virginia Tech, all of whom are ranked at the moment. So it’s time to start analyzing our second rate bowl options. Here they are, presented in reverse order of desirability:
- Humanitarian Bowl – #8 ACC team plays in Boise, ID. I repeat – Boise, ID.
- Congressional Bowl – #9 ACC team plays in Washington, DC. We live in Washington, DC. The point of a bowl game is to wreck somebody else’s town and get out of Dodge. Lame.
- Emerald Bowl – #5/6/or 7 ACC team plays in San Francisco, CA. Surprisingly, I haven’t heard reviews from anyone going to last year’s game. Oh, that’s right, nobody in their right mind would fly accross the country to attend the Emerald Bowl. Unfortunately, this is the most likely option due to our past affiliation with the sponsors.
- Meineke Car Care Bowl – #5/6/or 7 ACC team plays in Charlotte, NC. This is an easy drive and is probably the most cost effective out-of-town option. I’d imagine this would get a big Terrapin turnout. I’ve never been to Charlotte, so I’m down with this bowl.
- Champs Sports Bowl – #4 ACC team plays in Orlando, FL. This is a warm weather venue in December. The game is on the 27th, so there is the option of celebrating NYE in town. The opponent would be the #5 Big 10 team, so the game would be exciting and get some national exposure. This one is high on the list.
- Music City Bowl – 5/6/or 7 ACC team plays in Nashville, TN. This is the winner. Nashville brings great weather, beautiful women, amazing music, and awesome BBQ to the table. Nashville is a party town and would be a fun vacation aside from the game itself. As an added bonus, this is a town that a lot of people would want to visit but need a good excuse to do so, which is an important differentiator.
There are a few points that stand out in the final analysis of our second rate bowl options. First, we need to finish seventh or better in the ACC, otherwise we’ll be stuck with a real crappy bowl. Second, there are still some great options on the table. Orlando, FL, or Nashville, TN would be awesome venues to usher in the New Year. Third, the games against the middle-of-the-pack ACC teams are all the more important. We need to beat them down and relegate them to the Humanitarian Bowl.
There are plenty of reasons left to play hard for the rest of the year. When the chips are down, our rally cry should be “Mu-sic Ci-ty”!