Maryland, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Boston College are in the mix for the Military and AdvoCare V100 bowls, according to bowl officials. But the games won't make their picks of the Atlantic Coast Conference schools until the weekend.
“We won’t know until Sunday,” said Steve Beck, president and executive director of the Military Bowl, which will be held Dec. 27 in Annapolis.
The AdvoCare V100 Bowl -- which is Dec. 31 in Shreveport, La. -- also won’t finalize its matchups until Sunday because “we have to see who the other bowls ahead of us are taking,” said Pesky Hill of the selection committee.
One reason for the uncertainty is that the Military and AdvoCare V100 bowls don’t know if Clemson will be selected for an at-large berth in a BCS game. If that happens, that’s one less team that the ACC-affiliated bowls have to choose from.
The AdvoCare V100 Bowl picks one slot ahead of the Military Bowl in the ACC-designated pecking order.
The bowls offer very different sorts of experiences. The five-year-old Military Bowl – formerly the EagleBank Bowl – has scheduled events in the nation’s capital and a game-day parade in Annapolis.
The 38-year-old AdvoCare V100 Bowl has a more remote location and offers guests casinos and outlet stores along a boardwalk.
“I think this year we realize there is no ACC team that is going to fill up our stadium,” Hill said. “It’s long way to travel for an ACC team. We’re looking for the best matchup” that would be an attractive television draw.
Hill said Maryland, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Boston College are all possibilities. The Military Bowl has said the same.
Boston College and Syracuse finished 4-4 in conference play. Maryland and Pittsburgh finished 3-5. A 3-5 team is permitted to be selected ahead of a 4-4 team.
There are more bowl-eligible ACC teams (11) than bowl games aligned with the conference. The ACC has either eight or nine slots, depending on whether Clemson lands a BCS bid. ACC teams that don't land in a conference-affiliated bowl game can be selected for an at-large berth in another game. But it’s unlikely that Maryland would slip out of the ACC-partner bowls, considering the Military Bowl is clearly interested.
It’s the last chance for the Military Bowl to select Maryland before the Terps depart for the Big Ten. The Military Bowl will pit an ACC school against a team from Conference-USA. Next season, the game will partner with the American Athletic Conference and the ACC.
“It would make Maryland more of a desirable pick this year,” Beck said. “It’s our last shot at them.”
The AdvoCare V100 Bowl also has a slot open for a Southeastern Conference team. But the SEC will probably not have a team available to fill that opening, so the bowl game is looking at other options, including Pac-12 schools and Notre Dame.