Edsall: Head-scratching plays still a problem
Maryland has accepted a bid to play in the 2013 Military Bowl at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md., the program announced in an official release on Sunday evening.
Maryland will face Marshall, which accepted its bid to the bowl on Saturday after losing to Rice in the Conference USA championship game.
The 2013 Military Bowl will take place on Friday, Dec. 27 at 2:30 p.m.
"Our players are very excited about the opportunity to play Marshall University and play a game that’s going to benefit the USO.," Maryland head coach Randy Edsall said in a conference call with the media on Sunday night. "It’s one of those things where we’re very excited to get the opportunity to play in the Military Bowl. One of the things we’ve talked about is Maryland Pride and we get a chance to play in our state capital."
It had long been rumored that the Terrapins would end up playing in the local bowl after finishing the regular season with a 7-5 record.
Bowl selection is often influenced by geography and the likelihood that a program’s fan base will travel in large numbers to the game, making the Military Bowl the assumed destination for the Terrapins for the better part of the last month.
"On the ACC side, this is Maryland’s last shot," Military Bowl President Steve Beck said in a conference call with the media on Sunday. "We are contracted over the next six years, so we will not have another shot at them. It really worked out great."
But, as Beck said, he doesn't expect fan turnout to be lopsided despite the fact that the game will be played in Maryland's home state and just over 30 minutes from the school's campus.
"Marshall is a little over six hours away," Beck said. "They travel very, very well. On game day, you’re going to see a lot of Marshall fans there as well."
Maryland, which won two of its final three games to finish the year, has already guaranteed a winning record for the first time ever under head coach Randy Edsall. The invitation to the Military Bowl also marks the program’s first bowl appearance under Edsall.
"It was very important to us … that they won that last game in particular," Beck said of selecting Maryland. "That was very important. It’s very good to have a 7-5 Maryland team."
Consider this: Had Maryland not beaten NC State in its final conference game, the Terrapins would have finished 2-6 in the ACC. With the way bowl selection rules are written, a hypothetical two-win Maryland team would not have been available to the Military Bowl because it would not have been within one conference win of Syracuse, which finished an even 4-4 in the ACC.
Because the Terrapins would not have been within one conference win of the Orange, Syracuse would have had to be selected ahead of the Terrapins.
By beating NC State, Maryland essentially punched its ticket to the Dec. 27 game in Annapolis.
The bowl berth comes in a season that was plagued by injuries on nearly every unit of both the offense and defense, including starting quarterback C.J. Brown missing time with a concussion and other injuries and season-ending leg injuries to star wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long.
Maryland finishes its final exams on Dec. 21 and the team will stay on campus until Dec. 23 when it will move to the team hotel. The game will be played four days later on Dec. 27.
To purchase tickets to the 2013 Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md., click here.