Table is set for Terps bowl bid; Maryland 'penciled in' for Aloha/Oahu bowls with win over N.C. St.


COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland's bowl hopes suddenly became brighter yesterday when the chief executive officer of the Jeep Aloha Bowl Christmas Day doubleheader said, "If Maryland wins at N.C. State, we are penciling them in as our Atlantic Coast Conference representative."

Leonard Klompus, CEO of the Jeep Aloha/Oahu doubleheader, said he would like to match the Terps against Oregon State of the Pacific-10 Conference in Honolulu.

"We're very high on Maryland," said Klompus, who is a 1971 Maryland graduate and helped orchestrate the Terps' appearance in the inaugural Aloha Bowl game in 1982. "We had a nice meeting with Debbie [Yow, Maryland athletic director] Monday and Maryland fits into our theme of turnaround teams. We need to entertain people and LaMont Jordan is an outstanding back who can give a good show. He and Maryland can put points on the board."

A sixth win for Maryland tomorrow against N.C. State in Raleigh, N.C., makes the Terps bowl eligible, even though one of their wins came over Division I-AA Western Carolina. A school is allowed by the NCAA to count a Division I-AA win toward bowl eligibility every two years.

Maryland has not appeared in a bowl since 1990, when it played Louisiana Tech to a 34-34 tie in the Independence Bowl.

A Maryland date with Oregon State would be "very compelling," said Klompus. "You have Oregon State with Dennis Erickson, who is turning around that program, and Maryland with its new success under Ron Vanderlinden."

A projected Maryland-Oregon State game would come in the Jeep Aloha Bowl at 3: 30 p.m. if the University of Hawaii earns an at-large berth in the Jeep Oahu Bowl, which is set for 8: 30 p.m.

Hawaii (5-3) has to win two of its last four games to gain the at-large bid.

If the Rainbow Warriors fail to win those two games, then Maryland is headed to Jeep Oahu Bowl for a meeting with an undetermined Pac-10 team.

The ACC signed a contract last Aug. 23 with Jeep Aloha/Oahu Christmas Day doubleheader officials, guaranteeing a fifth ACC team a berth in one of the two games.

The contract calls for the ACC's fifth team to be matched against either the fourth or fifth team from the Pac-10 in the Jeep Aloha or Oahu Bowls.

Both the Terps and the Beavers take 5-3 records into tomorrow's games.

Oregon State meets California tomorrow and closes out its season with games against Arizona and Oregon.

The Beavers are one of five Pac-10 teams that need one more victory to become bowl eligible. The others are Arizona, Washington, Stanford and Oregon.

"You see, Maryland could be meeting Arizona or any of the other three teams in the Aloha Bowl if things don't work out for Oregon State," said Klompus. "We can really do a lot of things with the matchups in the two games."

Klompus' ties to Maryland football go back to 1973 when he produced Jerry Claiborne's radio show and the motto around Maryland was "The Winning Spree in 1973."

"I remember those days well," said Klompus from Honolulu. "My wife [Marcia] later produced the Bobby Ross show. My family still lives in Baltimore. I miss Baltimore a lot. One thing has to happen if Maryland comes out here, somebody has to bring me some crabs."

Marcia Klompus is now the executive director of the Jeep Aloha/Oahu Christmas Day doubleheader, which is also known as the Jeep Aloha/Oahu Christmas Football Classic.

The Aloha Bowl will be televised by ABC-TV and the Oahu Bowl will be televised by ESPN.

While Klompus said he is willing to take a 6-5 Maryland team, other bowl representatives have strongly hinted the Terps need to finish 7-4 to get a bid.

A team needs to have a winning record just to be eligible for bowl consideration.

Mitch Morrall, executive director of the Micron PC Bowl in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said, "Maryland didn't help themselves with the loss to Duke last week. But we're keeping our eyes on them. This is a big weekend for Maryland."

Morrall said he and the Micron representatives have a good relationship with Maryland after hosting the 1996 Terps-Florida State game at Pro Player Stadium in Miami.

That game was supposed to be played in College Park, but Maryland opted to play the powerful Seminoles in Miami.

Both Morrall and Klompus said the entire bowl picture will hinge on who gets the two Bowl Championship Series at-large berths.

For instance, if Georgia Tech wins the rest of its games and gains an at-large BCS bid, then the ACC would get a total of six berths.

That would change things considerably.

Next for Terps

Opponent: North Carolina State

Site: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, N.C.

When: Tomorrow, noon

TV/Radio: Ch. 24/WBAL (1090 AM)

Line: Maryland by 1 1/2

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