COLLEGE PARK — ,TC COLLEGE PARK -- Visions of a bowl game have faded. Dreams of an Atlantic Coast Conference title and a national ranking are gone. There seems to be only one way to salvage an already respectable season, and that's to have a winning one.
The University of Maryland (5-5 overall, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) will try for its first winning season since 1985 when it meets No. 8 Virginia (8-1, 5-1) today (12:08 p.m.) at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va.
"We weren't picked to win as many games as we have, yet we have won five," Maryland inside linebacker Scott Whittier said. "But that's not good enough. We want to take it even further now. We want to go out with a winning season and leave the younger kids something to build on."
There's more to this game than just a winning season for the Terps. It could be the last game as Maryland's head coach for Joe Krivak, who is in the fourth and final year of his contract.
Krivak, 55, will meet Monday with athletic director Andy Geiger for an evaluation of himself and the program.
Geiger has said he is not leaning one way or another, but a victory against Virginia would give Krivak, who has yet to say he wants to return, defense for a contract renewal.
It would be his first winning season. Krivak is 17-25-1 at Maryland.
"I'm sure everyone wants a winning season, but everyone wants to help the coaching staff out, too," senior inside linebacker Glenn Page said. "I think it's going to be a very emotional game."
Krivak has downplayed his meeting with Geiger to his players, trying to keep them focused on Virginia.
"They're playing for their coach's job, perhaps," Virginia coach George Welsh said. "You don't like to put players in that situation, but it may come down to that."
The game seems like a mismatch in Virginia's favor. The Cavaliers lead the nation in scoring, averaging 44.3 points.
They have a number of weapons, including a Heisman Trophy candidate in quarterback Shawn Moore (132 completions, 219 attempts, 2,153 yards); receiver Herman Moore (44 receptions, 977 yards), who generally is regarded as the best in the country; and the conference's leading rusher, Terry Kirby (141, 896 yards).
Meanwhile, Maryland is ranked sixth in the eight-team ACC in defense, allowing 333.4 yards. The Terps haven't come close to their early-season form, when they shut down Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Clemson, North Carolina State and Michigan (for three quarters).
"It's a team with good balance, a good kicking game and a great offense," Krivak said. "If we cut down on their big plays, that will help us tremendously."
Maryland also must cut down on its mistakes. Terps quarterback Scott Zolak has been inconsistent this season, despite throwing for an ACC-best 2,332 yards.
Zolak has been intercepted 18 times, but in his defense, he often has had to throw with the Terps trailing and because teams do not respect Maryland's rushing attack, which is gaining only 81.7 yards per game.
Virginia's defense is vulnerable, allowing 325 yards per game.
"Teams that do well against them do it with enough of a pass rush to disrupt their timing," Welsh said. "That looks like the key. If you can disrupt or destroy their timing, you're in much better shape."