The Washington Times - October 6, 2009, 09:07AM

Consider this an “Only in the ACC Atlantic Division” possibility.

A reader asked yesterday what would happen if Maryland won the Atlantic Division with a 5-3 record, and then lost in the ACC title game.

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The Terrapins, of course, went 1-3 in the nonconference schedule. So add those all up, and it churns out a 6-7 Maryland team. Would an outfit with a losing record be bowl eligible?

First of all, such a scenario might not be ultra-likely, but it is at least plausible.

Let’s say Maryland beats Wake Forest, Virginia, N.C. State and Boston College and loses to Duke, Virginia Tech and Florida State. That gives the Terps a 4-1 division record.

They’d win the division with the following:

* Boston College loses one other game (perhaps in Blacksburg this week?)
* Wake Forest loses one other game (how about to either Miami and Georgia Tech)
* N.C. State loses one other game (the Wolfpack visits Boston College, Florida State and Virginia Tech)
* Let’s say Clemson beats Florida State at home; Tigers need an extra loss (at N.C. State or Miami, possibly?)
* Florida State needs another loss to stumble from the tiebreaker (maybe at North Carolina in the first Thursday night game at Kenan Stadium?)

None of those events would be surprising.

But back on point. Assuming the Terps lost in the league title game, could they go to a bowl?

Yes, says Michael Kelly, the ACC’s associate commissioner for communications and football operations.

“It turns out that in that situation, this team would need to apply to the NCAA for a waiver to be eligible for bowl,” Kelly wrote in an e-mail. “It is anticipated that a waiver would be granted so long as the conference needed this participant to fulfill its existing bowl commitments.”

In short, in this way-too-premature scenario the ACC would need to have three other bowl-ineligible teams (since there are nine tie-ins) to make this happen. If the conference earned two BCS berths, there’d only be the need for two bowl-ineligible teams.

It makes sense there could be a waiver, since it seems sort of pointless to punish a team for playing and losing a game for its league title.

But it is also Oct. 6, and there’s no telling what sorts of wacky permutations could still present themselves in the next seven and a half weeks.

Especially in the ever-changing ACC Atlantic.

Patrick Stevens