The 33-21 victory over Virginia was barely cool when the inevitable question was put to Maryland football Coach Bobby Ross.

What about Ross' future? He said he would make a decision soon after the season, but 20 minutes after winning the Atlantic Coast Conference championship on Friday at Byrd Stadium apparently was a little too soon.

"Right now, I just want to savor this victory," Ross said. "I don't want to think about that or talk about that right now . . . Maryland is where I'd like to be."

That was about all Ross had to say on the subject of whether he will be returning to Maryland next year. Ross said he hadn't received any new job offers -- "Nobody's come to me with anything."

Maryland and its supporters will have to wait and see if Ross and the university will be able to arrive at a meeting of the minds concerning such issues as academic guidelines (mostly as they relate to recruiting) and stadium improvement.

Ross has said his staff will recruit and begin preparing for the Dec. 21 Cherry Bowl game against Syracuse in Pontiac, Mich.

The Terrapins, with their victory over Virginia, finished 8-3 for the third straight year.

One Maryland player said, "We lost to three great teams this season: Penn State, Michigan and Miami. We might be a half-step behind them, but it doesn't mean we're a bad team. Why should we be disappointed with our season? Two of those games went down to the final 10 seconds."

The final afternoon of the season at Byrd turned out to be another day of vindication for quarterback Stan Gelbaugh, who had his fourth good performance in five starts.

Friday, Gelbaugh completed 14 of 25 passes for 198 yards. "He again was on target," Ross said.

Now, the Terrapins will prepare for a Syracuse team that lost, 13-10, to West Virginia last night. The Orangemen beat Maryland in 1984, and the Terrapins have begun talking about avenging that defeat.