After a bounce-back regular season in College Park, the Maryland football team will travel about 20 minutes for its bowl game -- the Military Bowl at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The 8-4 Terps will play Conference USA's fourth-place team, the 6-6 East Carolina Pirates, on Dec. 29 at 2:30 p.m.
Needless to say, the Terps players are probably disappointed. "I just want to go somewhere warm. Really warm," linebacker Alex Wujciak had told Jeff Barker of The Baltimore Sun before the announcement. Sorry, Alex, but I'm guessing it won't be much warmer 10 miles south of campus.
Perhaps the most frustrating snub for Maryland fans -- at least the ones who actually showed up at a Byrd Stadium that was often half-filled -- is that N.C. State was picked to play in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla. instead. The Terps beat the Wolfpack, and former Maryland AD Debbie Yow is now at N.C. State. So why the Wolfpack? "We have fans," N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien said. Burn!
"We're disappointed in the process," Maryland AD Kevin Anderson said.
Things brings to mind a discussion I had with my coworker, Adam, in the newsroom Monday. He argued that the players have no right to be disappointed with the location of the bowl, saying they should be happy that they, as college students, simply get to play in a bowl. I disagreed, because a big part of playing a college sport is the experience and camaraderie of being on a team. If you can ride a bicycle to your bowl game, it's not going to be an exciting, memorable experience.
Two-part question: Did the Terps deserve a better bowl bid, and should the players be disappointed they aren't going to a more exotic locale than their backyard?