The Terps reached the bowl requirement of six Division I-A wins with a 30-13 defeat of North Carolina State on Saturday. Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow said she is in communication with the Independence and Liberty bowls, which have at-large bids to fill, but her preference is the Carquest, and that's where the Georgia Bulldogs come in.
Maryland is one of three teams seeking the Atlantic Coast Conference's spot in the Carquest Bowl at Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium on Dec. 30. The others are North Carolina and Georgia Tech, which has to win its remaining games, against N.C. State and Georgia, to qualify for a bowl.
If the Yellow Jackets lose either of those games, they will be ineligible for a bowl, and the Carquest spot would go to Maryland or North Carolina. The Terps play their final home game Saturday against Virginia, then conclude the regular season against Florida State. North Carolina gets the Seminoles this week, then Duke and North Carolina State.
If form follows, Maryland and North Carolina will finish with identical records, 4-4 in the ACC and 6-5 overall. The Terps would be aided by their win over the Tar Heels and Maryland's agreement with Carquest officials to move their 1996 home game against Florida State to Joe Robbie Stadium, but hurt by five losses in their final seven games.
"We're still pressing forward, exploring all of the possibilities," Yow said. "I think we're going to sell out for Virginia, and at that game we're going to survey adult fans to gauge their interest in attending the Carquest, Independence or Liberty bowls. Our travel agency is already looking into putting together fan packages for those games."
Bowl games were scared off by Maryland's month-long scoring slump, which ended in Raleigh, N.C. Even if the Terps can't beat Virginia or Florida State, they can boost their bowl chances by scoring points and showcasing senior quarterback Scott Milanovich and senior wide receiver Jermaine Lewis, who needs seven catches to set an ACC career record.
Maryland left N.C. State with no major injuries, and the Terps also received good news on the medical front from Louisville, where the condition of sports publicist emeritus Joe F. Blair has improved. Blair suffered a stroke Oct. 27.