- CSNwashington.com - Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It’s not hard to sell someone on the idea of the Hawaii Bowl. Sunshine, beaches, lei and the like. Music City Bowl in Nashville? How about good music, good food and all the Elvis statuettes money can buy?

The Military Bowl has its selling points too, with the honor and tradition of the United States military as its backdrop, but for Maryland it seemed like it could be missing something. Where’s the big trip? You know, the one with the plane and the bags and the send-off?

Does hopping on Route 50 and heading east half an hour from campus count?

“A lot of guys when they think of a bowl, they think of traveling somewhere and so obviously we’re not going to be too far from home for us,” junior cornerback Jeremiah Johnson told CSN on Tuesday. “But it’s going to be a great experience because we’re with our team. We’re not staying in the dorms. It still kind of feels like we’re on a road trip in a sense.”

If conventional logic holds true, the stands at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis should be filled with red shirts on Dec. 27, being that usually long bowl trips for a team’s fan base — and the hotels and expenses that come with it — can often deter some fans from going.

Tickets have gone on sale with two price tiers, $75 for lower sideline seats and $50 for the upper sideline, but for many in the area the Military Bowl essentially becomes a day trip.

“I think if we were to go somewhere else, maybe we wouldn’t play in front of as many people,” senior quarterback C.J. Brown said. “But being able to play close to home and have your friends and family just be able to just travel up the road I think it goes hand in hand and comes with the territory.”

But though the game will be played not far from home, coach Randy Edsall vowed that the team would treat the bowl experience as if his team were out-of-state.

“We’re going to make sure our players have a good time,” Edsall said. “This is a reward for them and the hard work they’ve put forth last winter, the spring, summer and during the season. All the things that they had to overcome to get us to this point.”

Brown has experience with bowl games, having played in the 2010 Military Bowl which also happens to be the last time Maryland was bowl eligible.

Last time around, that meant a nice hotel, nice food, trips to explore Washington D.C. and nights out at Capitals and Wizards games. For Johnson, he knows the drill, too.

“A lot of guys on the team really haven’t had the experience to be out in D.C. and experience everything it has to offer because our schedule is so crazy,” Johnson said. “It’ll definitely be a good opportunity.”

Maryland finishes its finals on Dec. 21 and will head to the hotel on Dec. 23, leaving a few days of practice and sightseeing before the game on Dec. 27.

“It’s going to be a great experience for them, but as I told the players; they’ll be plenty of time for them to enjoy themselves before we practice and practice hard and with a purpose,” Edsall said. “We’re working to try to get win No. 8.”

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