COLLEGE PARK -- Don't cancel the flights to Honolulu yet.
Maryland is down but not out of the running for a berth in the Jeep Aloha/Oahu Christmas Day doubleheader.
It looks as if either North Carolina State or Maryland will be the Atlantic Coast Conference's representative in the Aloha Bowl.
"If it comes down to Maryland and N.C. State, the team that is the most exciting and can give the best show on national television will probably be the one that gets the bid," said Leonard Klompus, CEO of the Jeep Aloha/Oahu doubleheader yesterday.
Klompus said Maryland's loss of starting quarterback Calvin McCall (medial collateral ligament tear) for the final two games of the regular season and a possible bowl game has hurt the Terps.
"But I've decided to let the teams decide on the field who gets the bid," he added. "There are still so many variables in the entire bowl picture."
The Wolfpack and its exciting quarterback Jamie Barnette gained the inside track for an Aloha Bowl berth on Saturday with a 30-17 win over Maryland (5-4), but N.C. State (6-4) still must win one of its last two games -- against North Carolina and East Carolina -- to qualify for a bowl berth. All bowl teams must have a winning record.
That means Maryland must also win one of its final two games against Florida State and Virginia to qualify.
Even if N.C. State qualifies, the Terps could make up ground or pass the Wolfpack by playing tough or winning against No. 1 Florida State on Saturday in Tallahassee on regional ABC-TV and beating Virginia the following week at Byrd Stadium.
The Wolfpack's stock would drop if it loses to either to North Carolina tomorrow night in Charlotte (ESPN) or on the road at East Carolina on Nov. 20. Clemson (5-4), Virginia (5-4) and Wake Forest (5-4) also need another win to qualify for a bowl.
While Maryland and N.C. State are most likely dueling to be the ACC's fifth bowl team, the rest of the ACC postseason picture seems to be taking some shape.
Florida State (9-0) is headed for the Bowl Championship Series and another chance to win a national championship.
The winner between Georgia Tech (6-2) and Clemson on Saturday appears headed for the Gator Bowl, with the loser going to the Peach Bowl. And Virginia is in line for a Micron PC Bowl bid.
Thompson, Polley meet again
Two of Baltimore's most celebrated high school football products, Aaron Thompson and Tommy Polley, will be meeting on the football field again Saturday in Tallahassee.
Maryland's sophomore outside linebacker, Thompson, has not been on a team that has beaten Polley, a junior weakside linebacker for the Seminoles.
Thompson was an standout running back and linebacker for three years at Forest Park and one year at Mount St. Joseph while Polley starred as a linebacker and tight end at Dunbar.
"Tommy Polley is good people," Thompson said yesterday. "I always had trouble tackling him in high school. We're good friends. We talked last year after Florida State beat us [24-10] and it was a good conversation."
Jenkins didn't bark
Some of Maryland's recent defensive problems can be attributed to junior tackle Kris Jenkins, who has not met the expectations of coach Ron Vanderlinden.
"Maybe I overstated his potential," said Vanderlinden candidly. The third-year coach said early in the season he was waiting for "the Big Dog [Jenkins] to start barking."
Jenkins lost his starting job to Charles Hill on Saturday in the N.C. State loss. Jenkins has registered one-half of a sack this season.
Injury list grows
A late-season outbreak of injuries continued to plague Maryland yesterday. Starting fullback Matt Kalapinski (possible broken little finger on right hand), backup defensive end Matt Murphy (right shoulder anterior dislocation) and reserve tailback Harold Westley (anterior cruciate ligament in right knee) all went down in practice.
The exact extent of the injuries will be determined today, Vanderlinden said.