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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Maryland needed a few things to go in its favor to improve its bowl positioning today.

It wouldn’t have hurt if North Carolina lost to Duke.

It sure would have been beneficial for Clemson to fall to South Carolina.

And without question, the Terps would have done themselves a great service by squeaking out a victory at No. 20 Boston College.

None of them happened, and a trip west for the second straight year is suddenly a distinct possibility.

Given that Maryland had a chance to reach the ACC title game just a little more than a week ago, that’s quite the comedown.

It’s nothing against the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise; it’s just, well, it has the ACC’s No. 8 selection, and that’s quite a perception hit to a team that viewed itself as conference title material in the not-too-distant past.

Maryland might still be able to reach the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, but it will need to be selected over either Clemson or North Carolina. With geography expected to be a major deciding factor this year, both of those schools will probably have a bit of an edge over the Terps in that regard.

Oh, and they both won their finales, too.

With a visit to the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco highly unlikely in back-to-back years and exams conflicting with the EagleBank Bowl in D.C., it looks like it could be Boise-or-bust for the Terps – unless they wind up being the team the ACC farms out to one of the handful of at-large spots available – assuming the ACC can even do that with a seven-win team when there’s at least one six-win team (N.C. State) in the mix.

At a quick, unofficial glance, here are those possibilities:

* Motor City Bowl (Detroit): Opposite the MAC champion (either Ball State or Buffalo), but only if Ohio State is picked as a BCS at-large team.

* Independence Bowl (Shreveport, La.): To take the place of a spot the Big 12 can’t fill, likely opposite a Sun Belt team since the SEC won’t fill all of its spots.

* Texas Bowl (Houston): See the Independence Bowl, only opposite a Conference USA team (Rice or Houston, perhaps?)

* Hawaii Bowl (Honolulu): That’s a long way to go to play a possible road game against Hawaii – assuming the Warriors beat either Washington State or Cincinnati.

Patrick Stevens

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