Earlier today, we discussed how Maryland's bowl destination depended on whether bowl executives from the Champs Sports Bowl would pick them over North Carolina State. It looks like North Carolina State will win that battle.
Eric Prisbell of the Washington Post is reporting that "all signs" point to Maryland playing East Carolina in the 2010 Military Bowl at RFK Stadium on December 29.
At this point, should Maryland (8-4, 5-3 ACC) wind up at a different bowl - Orlando's Champs Sports Bowl, the Sun Bowl in El Paso or Music City Bowl in Nashville - it would qualify as, by far, Maryland's biggest upset of the season. Despite finishing in a three-way tie for third in the ACC - with North Carolina State (8-4, 5-3) and Miami (7-5, 5-3) - Maryland faces the anticipated prospect of free-falling to the eight slot in the ACC's pecking order.
Nothing has been decided for sure, because the Champs Sports Bowl will not make their official decision until Sunday night, and all other bowls depend on that decision. However, Prisbell reports that the chances of Maryland beating out North Carolina State "range from slim to none."
If the Terps indeed slip to the Military Bowl, it will be because of their lagging fanbase compared to North Carolina State. Patrick Stevens crunches the numbers and finds that Maryland's highest single-game attendance was still lower than N.C. State's lowest single-game attendance. The Military Bowl has coveted Maryland for some time, and financially, it's less taxing for Maryland to play in that game. However, considering the success they had this season, the Terps were certainly hoping for something more.