The winner of Saturday's Maryland Clemson football game is more likely to go to the Liberty Bowl than tha Gator, and the Fiesta Bowl is out of the picture, a source involved in bowl committee wheeling and dealing said yesterday.
The source also said that Navy will get an invitation to the new Holiday Bowl Dec. 22 in San Diego even if the Midshipmen lose Saturday to Florida State. The Mid's opponent would be Brigham Young, champion of the Western Athletic Conference. If Navy wins, they have a chance at the Tangerine Bowl in Orland, Fla.
The source also said that barring upsets Saturday top-ranked Penn State will play No. 2 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, No. 3 Alabama will play No. 6 Houston in the Cotton Bowl and that No. 4 Oklahoma will play No. 8 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. The Rose Bowl automatically pits the top teams in the Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences.
The reason for the Atlantic Coast Conference champion leaning toward the Liberty Bowl is that, 1) the Gator Bowl does not consider Maryland a good draw and 2) Clemson, which played in the Gator Bowl last year, would rather go elsewhere this year.
It was learned that the Liberty Bowl has narrowed its choices to the ACC champion and three other possibilities-Louisiana State, Pittsburgh and the loser of the Ohio State-Michigan game. The Liberty Bowl is played Dec. 23 in Memphis, Tenn.
The Fiesta Bowl, the source said, is now learning toward trying to match the losers of the Southern Cal-UCIA and Michigan beats State games, assuming Michigan beats Purdue Saturday. The Fiesta Bowl is scheduled Christmas Day in Tempe, Ariz.
If Maryland loses, there is a strong possibility the Terps would play Texas in the Sun Bowl Dec. 23 at El Paso, Tex.