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Ring it up --- or not

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So an ACC title for Maryland? No longer an option.

A trip to the Orange Bowl? Sorry, no New Year’s in Miami for the Terrapins.

Even a trip to Tampa next weekend? Not happening.

So, really, what’s left on the line for Maryland entering this afternoon’s game at Boston College.

“I want to get a bowl ring,” tight end Dan Gronkowskisaid. “All the seniors don’t have one, and it’s something you come to college thinking you’re going to get, especially at this program. We just want to win this game and go to a good bowl and get a ring.”

It was funny Gronkowski mentioned that, since I’d noticed posters of three rings in the team house cafeteria on Tuesday – one for the 2001 ACC champions, another for the 2002 Peach Bowl winners and the third for the 2003 (season) Gator Bowl champs.

But there wasn’t one from the ‘06 Champs Sports Bowl, which seemed odd but sort of trivial.

Turns out there actually weren’t rings from that game; instead, that team wanted other goodies as part of their bowl schwag.

“I think a lot of us wanted them, but the older guys had one from the Gator Bowl, so they all voted not to,” Gronkowski said. “They have the say. A lot of us were disappointed, but we figured we’d get another one.”

So clearly to Gronkowski, when it comes to bowl gifts, the ring is the thing.

But maybe not to everyone.

I floated the possibility later in the day to defensive tackle Dean Muhtadi, who is an ever-reliable source of (a) optimism; (b) good spirits; and (c) honesty.

As usual, Muhtadi came through.

The senior said the bling would probably only be welcome if Maryland can win today and land in the top half of the ACC’s bowl pecking order. If not, it’ll probably be time to take the DVD player or gift card or satellite radio subscription and be done with it.

“Obviously, we would like an Orange Bowl ring on our fingers,” Muhtadi said. “That would be a championship. It would depend on what bowl we go to. If we lose this game, whatever bowl we go to, I don’t want a ring. I would never wear it. I would probably take it to the pawn shop because it would be a mark of a season that went bad for us, and I would not want to be reminded of that.”

Patrick Stevens

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