Marylandis likely to receive -- and accept -- a Tangerine Bowl bid Saturday if the Terrapins can beat Clemson in Byrd Stadium. A victory would give the Terps a 7-3 record and they probably would opt for the Tangerine Bowl over a possible Garden State Bowl bid.
"Maryland is certainly very much on our list," Tangerine Bowl President Harold Holt said yesterday. "We'll be scouting them Saturday along with several other teams," Holt said Tangerine officials also would scout North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Tulane and Florida Saturday. The two Carolina schools reportedly are already locked in with other bowls so Maryland-Florida is a genuine possibility.
"That's a matchup we wouldn't mind at all," Holt said, adding that there are several teams still possible in addition to the six mentioned, including Clemson, if it were to upset Maryland.
According to the rules of the NCAA, college bowl committees are not allowed to make contact with prospective participants until Saturday at 6 p.m. According to the way the game is actually played, 75 percent of the bids will be brokered during the next four days. This "Let's Make a Deal" week finds athletic directors trying to get their schools the most money and the most exposure possible while the bowl committees worry about ticket sales and TV ratings.
Navy (6-3) also has a shot at earning a bid Saturday if the Mids can beat Georgia Tech in Atlanta. With a victory, Navy might secure a bid either to the Garden State or Hall of Fame Bowls. The Hall of Fame might also take Clemson if it were to beat Maryland because Tiger fans have a reputation for gobbling up tickets.
It is also possible, if both local schools win, that someone -- the Garden State being the best possibility -- might have the sense to let them play each other.
Nationally, the picture is very unclear because so much rides on Saturday's game between Notre Dame (7-0-1) and Alabama (8-4). The winner of that game may land in the Sugar Bowl against Georgia (9-0). Georgia is about to become the nation's No. 1 team in this week's polls.
But ABC-TV, which televises the Sugar Bowl, might not want a regional Alabama-Georgia matchup. In that case, Alabama is likely to opt for the Cotton Bowl to face Baylor (8-1), which needs a victory over Rice or Texas in its best two games to clinch a Cotton Bowl spot.
That could put Florida State (9-1) in the Sugar. If Notre Dame beats Alabama, it will get a bid to the Sugar and Florida State will probably head for the Cotton. Alabama might lose and land in the Orange Bowl against the winner of the Nebraska (8-1)-Oklahoma (6-2) game.
The Orange might gamble on waiting for the Pittsburgh (8-1)-Penn State (8-1) winner, but that isn't likely since that could set up a Penn State-Nebraska rematch. Bowl committees generally do not like rematches. Because they don't play until Nov. 29, the Pitt-Penn State winner is likely to be left out of the major bowl picture despite the possibility of a 10-1 record.
The Rose Bowl is relatively clear. Washington (7-2) has all but wrapped up the host spot in the wake of the USC-UCLA probations. Ohio State (8-1)-Michigan (7-2) will decide the Big Ten representative. Purdue (7-2) could still get in by beating Michigan this week, then having the Wolverines upset Ohio State. Ohio State does not play Purdue. If the tie for first place, Ohio State is likely to go to Pasadena because of a better overall record.
The rest of the bowls, to a certain extent, must wait to see what happens to the four New Year's Day bowls, but certain deals are apparently already set. t
The breakdown of the 11 nonmajor bowls with upsets, wheeling and dealing still to come, look roughly like this:
GATOR -- South Carolina (7-2) is reportedly set as one loam since ABC wants George Rogers for national television. The second spot could go to Purdue, Pitt or Penn State with Florida still an outside possibility.
FIESTA -- Pitt didn't sell tickets there last year so probably won't be asked back. Missouri (7-2) is likely as one team with Texas (6-2) a possibility as the other, or perhaps Michigan.
LIBERTY -- North Carolina (8-1) is a virtual shoo-in for one spot here with several possibilities for an opponent, including the Alabama-Notre Dame loser (unlikely), either Pitt or Penn State or perhaps Mississippi State (7-2). Missouri could also end up here if the Fiesta opts for something like Texas-Michigan.
PEACH -- This is a bowl that needs a ticket seller. Louisiana State (6-3) sells tickets. So does Florida and Clemson, although the Tigers played in the Peach last year. The Peach would love to have UNC but probably won't get the Tar Heels. They might get Houston (5-4) or even Arkansas (4-4) or they might opt for Mississippi State or Tulane.
HOLIDAY -- This one is all but set with SMU (7-2) playing Brigham Young (8-1). SMU has several options but wants to go out of state. BYU is locked in as WAC champion.
SUN -- Likely to get the Oklahoma-Nebraska loser and might get the Pitt-Penn State loser. Mississippi State, Houston and Texas are also possibilities here although Texas might set up a rematch with Oklahoma. LSU is also a possibility.
TANGERINE -- The Maryland-Clemson winner is likely and officials would love to get Florida. If they can't get the Gators, Southern Mississippi is a possibility as is Tulane or perhaps even Navy, Indiana or Minnesota.
HALL OF FAME -- It needs a ticket seller, so Mississippi State and Tulane are both candidates as is Michigan, Purdue and Southern Mississippi. They might possibly take an anchor team (ticket seller), then wait.
BLUEBONNET -- Texas or Houston will almost certainly be here with the opposing spot wide open at the moment. LSU is possible, Florida is possible, almost anyone over .500 who can sell tickets, including Clemson, is possible.
Garden STATE -- Last year this bowl had trouble finding a second team willing to take a bid. If they're smart, they'll invite Maryland and Navy. Unlikely. Rutgers (6-3) will definitely get a close look. So might Stanford (5-4) and anyone else available who can help fill up 76,000-seat Giants Stadium. Arkansas? Minnesota? Indiana?
INDEPENDENCE -- McNeese State will host again and Southern Mississippi would seem a logical opponent if a better bid doesn't come up. Tulane is also possible. Syracuse went last year with a 6-5 record. Maryland could go 7-4 and get a bid here.