- The Washington Times - Monday, December 2, 2002

Maryland earned its way into the Peach Bowl with a 32-14 win over Wake Forest on Saturday. Now the 21st-ranked Terrapins must wait to see who they will play on New Year's Eve in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
The most likely scenarios have the Terps meeting Tennessee or Auburn. The Peach has the fifth selection from the Southeastern Conference, and officials are hoping to make a decision by the middle of this week.
The process is on hold until the Capital One Bowl makes a decision. That bowl has the SEC's second selection behind the Bowl Championship Series. The SEC champion gets the BCS bid to the Sugar Bowl.
The Capital One Bowl, Jan.1 in Orlando, Fla., could commit to the loser of Saturday's SEC championship game between 4th-ranked Georgia and No.22 Arkansas, or pick No.20 Auburn. Once Capitol One selects a team, subsequent bowls are then free to make picks.
The Cotton Bowl has the third choice of SEC teams, which could be Arkansas, Auburn or LSU. The Outback Bowl has the next pick and the Tampa, Fla., bowl could keep No.23 Florida in state. That would leave Tennessee (8-4), Auburn (8-4) and LSU (8-4) in the mix for the Peach. No.14 Alabama is on probation and not eligible.
Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said he doesn't have a preference in opponents. The Terps will take this week off and begin bowl practices next week.
"They need a rest," said Friedgen, of the mental and physical effects of a 13-game season. "They need to get away from football for a bit."
The Terps (10-3, 6-2 ACC) posted back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time, and were selected by the Peach Bowl immediately after their win over Wake Forest.
"We have answered the critics that were skeptical whether we could string two seasons together," Friedgen said. "It used to rub me the wrong way that they said we were 'one-hit wonders.' Everybody was gunning for us this year. We didn't sneak up on anybody. I think it may even be a tougher accomplishment than what we did last year."
Maryland has shown the ability to overcome adversity this season. The Terps opened the season with a 1-2 record following lopsided losses to Notre Dame and Florida State before bouncing back with eight consecutive wins. The team also shook off a 48-13 loss to Virginia, which took it out of BCS consideration with its easy win over the Demon Deacons.
"People saw the real Maryland team compared to last week," said All-American linebacker E.J. Henderson, who had 14 tackles (11 solo), an interception and a safety against Wake Forest.
While the Terps were thrilled with the Peach Bowl berth, Virginia was distraught about being passed over by a second bowl. The Cavaliers and Maryland tied for second in the ACC. Fourth-place N.C. State was selected by the Gator Bowl, which has the second choice among ACC teams behind the BCS. The Terps got their invitation even before No.18 Virginia Tech beat Virginia 21-9 late Saturday afternoon.
The Cavaliers finished the season with an 8-5 record, including non-conference losses to 24th-ranked Colorado State, No.10 Penn State and Virginia Tech. Virginia coach Al Groh took a shot at Maryland when asked if the Cavaliers' difficult schedule ultimately hurt his team from going to a better bowl.
"I think they also confirmed it doesn't pay to do that," Groh said. "With all due respect to Wofford, maybe it's time to get them on the schedule."
The Terps beat the Division I-AA Terriers 37-8 on Sept.28. Maryland had two non-conference games against ranked teams, a loss to 11th-ranked Notre Dame and a 48-17 rout of No.15 West Virginia.
Meanwhile, Virginia continues to slip down the bowls' pecking order. The Tangerine Bowl, which has the fourth choice among ACC teams, took Clemson yesterday. The Tigers had a 7-5 record, and tied for fifth in the ACC with a 4-4 mark.


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