Terps' ACC title hopes ride on beating FSU

October 28, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - University of Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen gave a math lesson Tuesday.

Depending on what happens on Saturday, Friedgen might be speaking of history his next time at the podium.

That's just how important Saturday's game at Florida State is for the Terrapins. Things will either add up or make Maryland yesterday's news by the outcome of the game.

At stake is not only a chance to reach a bowl game, but an opportunity to play in the first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference championship game on Dec. 3 in Jacksonville, Fla.

"If you do the math, we're not out of this thing," Friedgen said. "We've got to play the two people ahead of us. If we win those two games and our other two games, then we have a chance to play in the championship game.


"Obviously, this is a big one. If we don't win this one, then we're probably out of it."

It's an all-or-nothing proposition.

Maryland (4-3, 2-2) trails Florida State (6-1, 4-1) by 1 1/2 games in the new ACC Atlantic Division. When Virginia Tech and Miami joined the ACC last year and Boston College was added this season, the conference was divided into the Atlantic and Coastal divisions, with the winner of each facing off for the title in Jacksonville.

Boston College (6-2, 3-2) owns a half-game lead over the Terps and plays at Byrd Stadium on Nov. 19, which could go a long way to deciding the Atlantic Division representative.

Add to the mix the fact that Maryland needs to win two of its final four games - three of which are on the road - to become bowl eligible with a better than .500 record.

But that's on the back burner for now.

"We control our own destiny," receiver JoJo Walker said. "We have four games left. We win all four, we go to Jacksonville. That's what the plan has been all year. It's great to go to a bowl game, but all the people on this team want to go to Jacksonville. That's our main concern."

Maryland follows the game with Florida State with a trip to North Carolina before returning for Boston College. The Terps close the regular season at North Carolina State.

The last half of the schedule is filled with land mines to trip up the Terps' hopes of a postseason.

Reaching the championship game would be a huge accomplishment for the Terps. Reaching a bowl game could be equally as difficult, especially if Maryland loses to Florida State on Saturday.

That means the Terps would have to win two of their final three games, with two of them being played on the road.

It's an equation that Friedgen is adding up in search of the sum of all the parts.

"Our team is getting better," he said. "Obviously, I want to be bowl eligible, but I still have hopes of winning the championship."

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