Terps Try To Improve Their Standing

Even though the Terps are out of contention for the ACC title, Saturday's game till carries weight.

While Saturday night’s loss to Florida State knocked them out of contention for a spot in the ACC Championship Game, Saturday afternoon’s contest with No. 21 North Carolina State will affect the Terps’ status in the pecking order of ACC teams vying for bowl berths.

“While we aren't going to reach our main goal which was playing for the ACC title, we still have a lot to play for,” said redshirt freshman quarterback Danny O’Brien. “We want to go to the best bowl possible, so there is still room for improvement there.”

Nine of the conference’s 12 teams are currently bowl eligible. The winner of the ACC Championship Game will earn the conference’s BCS spot in the Orange Bowl, and after that, the conference only has seven guaranteed bowl deals in place.

However, the ACC does have an arrangement with the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco for the ninth berth, but that depends on the eligibility of the bowl’s main partners, the Pac 10 and the WAC.

The game is supposed to pit the sixth place team in the Pac 10 against the first, second, or third place team of the WAC. The Pac 10 only has four eligible teams, with two others sitting at five wins, while the WAC already has three eligible teams.

After the Orange Bowl, the picking order is as follows: Chick-fil-A Bowl (Atlanta), Champs Sports Bowl (Orlando), Sun Bowl (El Paso), Meineke Car Care Bowl (Charlotte), Music City Bowl (Nashville), Independence Bowl (Shreveport), Military Bowl (Washington).

As it stands entering play on Saturday, Maryland is one of five ACC teams with at least seven wins with four other teams sitting at 6-5.

"We're still in contention for a lot of bowls,” said Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen. “An 8-4 team is going to look a lot more attractive than a 7-5 team.”

With a victory in College Park on Saturday, the Wolfpack wins the Atlantic Division and earns itself a trip to the ACC Championship Game, seeking the program’s first conference title since 1979.

Unfortunately for Maryland, finishing on a high note has not been their strong suit in recent years. Dating back to 2005, Maryland is 1-4 in regular season finales, the only win in that stretch coming at North Carolina State in 2007.

But primed to play spoiler, the Terps also have the motivation of Saturday being senior day, and an opportunity to grab a victory in honor of their departing seniors.

“I really want to get this win for [the seniors] considering all they have done for the program,” O’Brien said. “Sending them out the right way at Byrd Stadium would be very special to them.”

Finishing on a high note has not been the Terps’ strong suit in recent years. Dating back to 2005, Maryland is 1-4 in regular season finales, the only win in that stretch coming at North Carolina State in 2007.

Said Friedgen to his team this week: “You don't deserve to be 7-5; you worked too hard to be 7-5."


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