I received a good question: Why does it seem the Terps have fallen to eighth in the bowls with ACC tie-ins, even though Maryland beat many of the teams slated for higher-echelon games?
It does seem like Maryland has fallen far. But the thing to remember is that no one actually ranks the ACC teams to distinguish among all those with 5-3 and 4-4 conference records. Maryland finished 4-4.
Bowl selection is a very subjective process. The bowls follow the pecking order and choose the teams they want. Their choices don't always reflect records or quality wins. The selections also reflect geography and the size of schools' fan bases.
This could change, but it appears that those bowls above No. 8 don't have the Terps first on their lists. One of them, by the way, is the Emerald Bowl, which took the Terps last season and wouldn't select them two seasons in a row.
Geography is a bigger consideration than ever this season. The closer you are to a bowl site, the better chance you have of being picked so that many of your fans can get there easily -- and cheaply.