clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Am I a Bowl Team?

New, 2 comments

For decades, Big Ten powerhouses were shut out of the postseason by the league's strict prohibition against such reward for all but the conference champion. Well screeeeewww that! In the 21st Century, everyone gets rewards! Live! On ESPN Classic!

So much so, in fact, it can be difficult to determine just who is and is not going bowling these days. Below is the detailed resume of a Bowl Subdivision program which may or may not have accepted a gracious invitation to a postseason contest. Your challenge, knowledgable reader, is to put yourself to the test: can you tell whether or not the program described below is scheduled for a bowl game, without looking? Give it your best shot, then click `Read More' to reveal the secret identity of today's contestant. Good luck!
- - -

My Resumé
Avg. MOV +/- +3.34
Rush Offense 147.3 (65)
Pass Eff. Offense 131.2 (45)
Total Offense 350.6 (88)
Rush Defense 136.7 (45)
Pass Eff. Defense 121.4 (50)
Total Defense 355.9 (42)
TO Margin +7 (24)
Wins over >.500 Three
Best Win +7 vs. JS#18
Worst Loss -3 vs. JS#68
Best Streak W2 (9/29-10/06)
Worst Streak L3 (10/20-11/03)
Am I a conference champion? No. Not even close. I finished in a tie for eighth in the conference with a losing league record, and only managed that by beating one of the other eighth-place finishers on the last day of the season. Over eight conference games, I beat three teams with better records and only lost once to a team with an equal or worse record and still almost finished near the bottom of the conference, which should say something for my schedule – I faced eight teams with at least seven wins, four teams that finished in the final polls and had a strength of schedule ranked in the top 30 by everyone who bothers with such things.

Was I humiliated on multiple occasions? No. My worst loss of the season was by 17 points, to a team that finished in the top ten, and only one other defeat was by double digits (also to a final top 20 team). When things went bad, it wasn’t by much.

The high point: There were the nice back-to-back wins over seven-game winners in September, after I found my quarterback (neither of the guys competing for the job in the preseason, of course), but it wasn’t until November – my last chance – that I finally knocked off a ranked team, the seventh year in a row I’ve bounced at least one team in front of me in the polls. This time, I had my best offensive output of the season (against the top-ranked defense I faced) and passed for over 300 yards for the first time in two years, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. It was also only the second time I’ve topped 40 points in a game in the last three years.

The low point: Maybe ironically, the high point came amid the low: four conference losses in a five-game, month-and-a-half streak that ended a week after the aforementioned triumph with a lackluster road loss in which I allowed 133 yards rushing to a converted wide receiver.

Close calls: Things were great for me in close games last year, and terrible this time: I lost one-score games in overtime, by a single point in the final 20 seconds, by three points despite a big advantage in total yards and by eight points thanks to a big first half deficit. Only one very close game went my way, and I had to give up nine points in the fourth quarter to make it look that close.

So: you have the facts. Am I a bowl team?

AFFIRMATIVE!

Maryland was only 3-5 in the ACC, but used non-conference wins over Villanova, Florida International and Rutgers, an upset of temporarily reeling Boston College and a season-ending, winner-take-all blowout of N.C. State to finish 6-6 overall and grab the last bid out of the ACC, to play Oregon State in the Emerald Bowl on a baseball field in San Francisco on Dec. 28. A win would give the Terps their fifth winning season in seven years, the school's best streak in more than 20 years.

Fear the Turtle, Beavers!