Boise for UM - or Detroit?

A matchup with undefeated Boise State on its home field in the Humanitarian Bowl emerged yesterday as Maryland's most likely bowl scenario, but the Terrapins' spot in the Dec. 30 game was not guaranteed.

The Humanitarian Bowl is intrigued by a possible matchup of two undefeated teams - Boise State and Ball State.


If Ball State commits, the Terps would be bypassed and would probably end up with an at-large bid to the Motor City Bowl in Detroit or another game, according to bowl officials and others.

If it commits, Ball State would need to win the Mid-American Conference championship Friday night to play in the Humanitarian Bowl. Ball State (12-0) faces Buffalo (7-5) in the game.


There were other bowl developments involving the Terps:

* Maryland briefly reconsidered playing in the inaugural EagleBank Bowl at RFK Stadium in Washington. Maryland had earlier said it wouldn't play in the Dec. 20 contest - to which Navy has already committed - because it conflicts with final examinations.

Maryland explored the matter further this week but found at least a few dozen players had exams scheduled for that day.

Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow said: "There are people who are at [academic] risk and need every moment of that week to prepare for the exams."

* Maryland learned it is unlikely to be invited to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. That had been a top choice for Maryland because of its proximity for fans from the Baltimore-Washington region.

The Humanitarian Bowl was to pit a team from the Western Athletic Conference - most likely Boise State, although Nevada was still in the mix - against an Atlantic Coast Conference team.

The Humanitarian Bowl gets the eighth pick of ACC schools among bowl games, and the EagleBank Bowl gets the ninth pick.

"If Maryland is there when we select, they will be a team we will very seriously consider," Humanitarian Bowl executive director Kevin McDonald said yesterday. "We like the idea of having Maryland."


If it picked Ball State, the Humanitarian Bowl would inform the ACC of its selection and offer to help it find a replacement game.

One possibility is the Motor City Bowl, to be played Dec. 26 at Detroit's Ford Field. Though that game would normally feature a MAC team, it's possible Maryland could, in effect, take Ball State's place.

Maryland played last season in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco - a desirable destination but a long trip for fans.

Is there a scenario in which Maryland might pass on a bowl this season because of geography?

"No, I don't think so," Yow said. "We waited a long time to be bowl-eligible."

Navy's opponent in the EagleBank Bowl was uncertain. One candidate would have been Wake Forest, but Navy already played and beat the Demon Deacons this season.


A Navy athletic department spokesman said last night there is a stipulation in the contract between the school and the EagleBank Bowl that the Midshipmen would not play a team they had already faced. That would leave Miami (Fla.) as a top candidate.