The muddled bowl picture, part deux

How I miss the days when you could determine whom Maryland was playing next simply by looking at your pocket schedule.

These days, deciphering Maryland's next opponent (in a bowl game) requires solving a series of mysteries. It's like playing a game of Clue.


Probably, the Terps are heading to Boise (that blue field is nicknamed "Smurf Turf") for a matchup with Nevada, a Western Athletic Conference team, in the Humanitarian Bowl

What's interesting about this bowl is that Maryland wasn't its first choice, and it wasn't Maryland's first choice either.


Bowl officials wanted a matchup of undefeated Ball State and Boise State. But Ball State, which had reservations about playing on Boise State's home field, decided not to come.

As for Maryland, its first choice is the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. Maryland had considered itself out of that game -- largely because the Meineke bowl has seemed enamored of North Carolina.

But there remains one scenario that gets the Terps to Charlotte rather than Boise. (Nothing against Boise, but have you tried booking a trip there from this area? It's not easy or cheap. You can get routed through Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Minneapolis or Las Vegas. I don't think you can go nonstop unless you're Donald Trump or Warren Buffett.)

Here's how it would have to play out for the Terps to get to Charlotte:

Boston College beats Virginia Tech in this Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference title game. Then the Champs Sports Bowl, which gets the fourth pick of ACC teams, would need to select Virginia Tech rather than Florida State for its game. This is possible because Virginia Tech has a large, loyal following that makes it popular at bowl time.

That pick would create a ripple effect in which North Carolina – which many had envisioned playing in Charlotte, in their home state – could move to the Music City Bowl in Tennessee and free up the Meineke for Maryland.

If you want the Terps to go to Charlotte, root for Boston College on Saturday. Not that a BC win would guarantee a Meineke bid, but it would make things interesting.