Fearless forecast: Humanitarian Bowl

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A few weeks back, I left myself some wiggle room to assess the Humanitarian Bowl when I made my ACC bowl picks.

The choice then was Nevada 38-35. I’ll roll back the score a little upon further review, but the outcome remains the same. Here’s guessing the Wolf Pack leave with a 35-31 victory.

There’s a lot to analyze here – and most of it will be overanalyzed. For example…

* Do the Terps have an interim defensive coordinator in Al Seamonson? Yes. Should it really matter given that it’s not like Maryland could have installed an entirely new defense over about a dozen practice days? Not particularly.

Here’s guessing there’s more of the same that we’ve seen from the Terps this season, which leaves open the possibility of getting stampeded. The coach changed, but the personnel is the same.

* Was a trip to Boise the ideal postseason plan for Maryland? Obviously, no. But to think the Terps will mail it in just because they’re in a battle of two 7-5 mediocrities is a little simplistic. After all, these guys practiced on some incredibly raw days in College Park this month, then traveled more than 2,000 miles to play this game.

You’d have to believe most folks wouldn’t want to lay an egg and render those workouts in unpleasant conditions meaningless.

* On the flip side, just because Maryland had more than two dozen seniors doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing the Terps will offer up their best game. And it’s not like Nevada doesn’t have guys playing their final college contest, either.

In reality, the analysis of this is pretty simple. The running game is going to dictate how things unfold. If Maryland can establish some semblance of a rushing attack, it will be balanced. As a result, the Wolf Pack won’t be able to mind the passing game as much as it should, and that should lead to a solid day for Chris Turner.

Meanwhile, if Nevada can run the ball with its usual aplomb and chew up a lot of clock time, the Terps’ offense will be placed in an all-too-common bind – the need to exploit nearly every opportunity, great and small, simply because there aren’t many of them.

Here’s guessing the Wolf Pack indeed dominated the time of possession and rolls up a big rushing total. Maryland will try to keep up, but will fall short and fly home with a second straight bowl loss.

Patrick Stevens

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