Maryland, which has won five straight games and seven of its last eight, was ranked only No. 19 in the nation yesterday in United Press International's coaches' poll, which rated Brigham Young No. 1 and Virginia 17th.
Maryland's low ranking raises questions among some football observers in light of impressive victories over two top 20 teams, a 42-40 defeat of then sixth-ranked Miami that produced the greatest comeback in major college football history, and Saturday's 41-23 rout of 20th-ranked Clemson.
Maryland Coach Bobby Ross was asked immediately after the Clemson game if he thought his team should be ranked in the top 20. Ross, who has been consistent on the issue, said it really didn't matter to him if his team was ranked or not.
Dick Dull, the school's director of athletics, said he thought a Maryland victory over Virginia in Charlottesville Saturday and another Dec. 22 over Tennessee in the Sun Bowl would put the Terrapins "in the top 10 or 12."
Finishing that high in the polls, Dull said, "would be even more miraculous a comeback than what we did at Miami two weeks ago," considering the Terrapins' 0-2 start.
Dull said he didn't want to put much stock in the polls, adding that pollsters easily could justify not voting the Terrapins very high. "When you start slowly, 0-2 like we did, it takes a while to move back up."
Despite its recent success, Maryland, which has averaged 41 points a game in its winning streak, has had difficulty receiving national recognition because the Miami and Clemson games were not on national television.
Maryland's last major television appearance was on Oct. 6 against Penn State and the Terrapins lost by a point as time expired. "If we had beaten Penn State, it would be a different situation right now," Dull said. "That game was on ESPN live."
Some are wondering why Maryland, which could finish 8-3 with one of the best offenses in the nation, isn't at least in the running for a bowl like the Fiesta (which will take 8-3 UCLA and was looking at a possibly 7-4 Notre Dame).
In fact, only the Citrus and Aloha bowls sent scouts to Maryland's game against Clemson in Baltimore.
The courting of Maryland eventually began Sunday, but after the Terrapins were set to play in the Sun Bowl. Later that day, the Hall of Fame, Freedom, Aloha and even the Holiday Bowl (which has Brigham Young to offer as the locked-in opponent) were calling Maryland to express interest.
"I think we have to be patient," Dull said. "I said all along that it would be the fourth year, after Bobby Ross had a chance to recruit four of his own classes, when we could really measure the progress and compare ourselves to the other programs who are consistently at or near the top. Anyone who knows what we have coming back next year would know that we're very optimistic."
Clemson placed six players on the all-Atlantic Coast Conference team while Maryland and Virginia landed five players on the squad, announced by the Atlantic Coast Sports Writers Association.
Maryland's players were wide receiver Greg Hill, center Kevin Glover, defensive tackle Bruce Mesner, linebacker Eric Wilson, a repeater from last year, and defensive back Al Covington.
Virginia's five, the most it has placed on the all-ACC team, were offensive tackle Jim Dombrowski -- another repeater and this year's top vote getter -- offensive guard Bob Olderman, defensive linemen Ron Mattes and David Bond and defensive back Lester Lyles.
Maryland tailback Alvin Blount and Duke split end Chuck Herring, both off career-high performances Saturday, were selected as the ACC's offensive players of the week. Blount is from Greenbelt, Herring from Springfield.
Blount, a 6-foot, 201-pound sophomore, ran for 214 yards on 29 carries in Maryland's 41-23 victory over Clemson, winning offensive back of the week honors. He scored on runs of eight and 13 yards and was the first player to rush for more than 200 yards against the Tigers since James McDougald of Wake Forest did it in 1976.
Herring, a 6-1, 185-pound junior, caught six passes for 85 yards in a 16-13 victory over North Carolina State, winning offensive lineman of the week honors. He has 32 receptions for 602 yards this season.
Maryland linebacker Eric Wilson and Georgia Tech middle guard Donnie Chisholm were picked as defensive players of the week. Wilson, a 6-2, 248-pound senior from Charlottesville, won the honor for the second time this year. He made 14 tackles, with six first hits, and knocked down two Clemson passes.