Despite its first winning season since 1985 and registering one of the biggest upsets in the 1990 college football season Saturday against Virginia, Maryland probably will not get invited to a bowl because of midseason losses, Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger said last night.
Maryland (6-5), along with several other teams, was believed to be in contention for a bid to the Poulan-Weed Eater Independence Bowl on Dec. 15 in Shreveport, La.
But Maryland has examinations that week, ruling out any participation. Also, several other teams probably locked up bowl bids Saturday with victories, including Air Force (Liberty Bowl), Syracuse (Eagle Aloha) and Alabama (Sunkist Fiesta or Mazda Gator or Peach).
"We've had some discussions, but our chances don't look very good," said Geiger, who solicited last-minute bids after the Terps stunned Virginia, 35-30. "Now, if we had clinched our sixth victory right after the North Carolina game [Oct. 27], we would have been in pretty good shape, because everything basically falls into place by Nov. 10. We just can't win the sixth game on the last week of the season and have high expectations."
There was some speculation that Maryland could get into the Peach Bowl as an alternate to Indiana (5-4-1), which has to beat Purdue (2-8) this week to get a bid.
But after Geiger conferred with Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner Gene Corrigan yesterday, Geiger said, he found out that North Carolina (6-4-1), which routed Maryland, 34-10, had become the Peach alternate. North Carolina declined an invitation to the Independence Bowl earlier this week.
Geiger said he also looked at the Anaheim Freedom Bowl, but Freedom Bowl executive director Rob Halvaks said he was committed to a West Coast game that likely would feature Oregon and Colorado State.
"We like a western flavor," said Halvaks. "We wanted the WAC runner-up and the best Pac-10 team we could get. I believe on Nov. 24 we will get official commitments from Colorado State and Oregon."
Maryland coach Joe Krivak said last night if the Terps are to get a bid, it would come within the next 48 hours. Despite some optimism, he has not told his team to practice today.
"I just told the players that there were a lot of things happening, and we're a known quantity now," said Krivak. "Some teams still have one or two games left to play, but people at least know we had a winning record."
"When you consider who we've played and the record we had, I think the kids did one hell of a job, and they deserve to play another game," said Krivak. "There are some other 6-5 teams that have played in bowls before."
Krivak pointed out that N.C. State (6-5) was playing in the All-American Bowl, even though the Terps were more deserving.
"When you make comparisons, I thought we had a better team, we beat them [13-12],and we played a tougher schedule," said Krivak. "But there are other circumstances, such as attendance, if you're going to sell tickets and so forth."
All-American Bowl executive director Jim Simmons said the Terps were in consideration most of the season, and he would have liked to invited Geiger, an old friend, but the Terps lost too many games at the midway point.
Maryland started the season 3-1, but lost three of its next five, even though the losses were to No. 16 Michigan, No. 4 Georgia Tech and North Carolina.
"We looked at them, and they were on the fringe all year," said Simmons. "But they had that point where they struggled, and I didn't expect them to beat Virginia at the end of the season. As far as comparing N.C. State and Maryland, I'm not going to
Asked if he thought bowl representatives were committing to teams too soon, Simmons said: "In the eight years I've been connected with bowls, it takes two sides to cut a deal."
Krivak and Geiger are expected to discuss any further bowl possibilities today when they have a scheduled meeting. The focus of the meeting, though, will be Krivak's status and the evaluation of the program. Krivak completed the fourth and final year of his contract Saturday. He has a 18-25-1 record at Maryland.
Geiger said no decision on Krivak will be announced today, but he expects to make one soon.
Despite possibly being dismissed, Krivak talked about recruiting for next season. The Terps will lose 17 seniors, including 12 starters from the last class recruited by former coach Bobby Ross.
The Terps lose their starting linebackers, and they don't have a capable replacement for senior quarterback Scott Zolak. The Terps may have to go the junior college route for a quarterback.
"We never have enough quality athletes," said Krivak. 'We're going
out and try to find at least two quality quarterbacks, the junior college way, if necessary."