If Phil Steele has his way, Maryland might play two ACC teams in the same year that they started in a new conference. Steele released his preseason bowl projections, and has the Terrapins slotted to play in the Detroit Lions Bowl against former ACC opponent Pittsburgh.
The Detroit Lions Bowl was announced in July of last year, making the Lions only the second NFL franchise to host a college football bowl. More importantly, the tie-ins for the next six years are the ACC and the Big Ten, meaning Maryland would undoubtedly be going up against a former squeeze were they pegged to make the trip to Ford Field.
Realistically speaking, though, I can’t see why the Lions bowl representatives would give Maryland this game. As much as I’d like to say Maryland fans would make the trip to Detroit for this game, it’s a hard sell. Detroit in the middle of winter (the game is played on December 26)? Sure, Detroit is Big Ten country, but Maryland fans are going to need major convincing to get there. The same could be said for Pittsburgh fans. That said, if it were against, say, Duke or Virginia? That might present a little more incentive for both fan bases to make the trip, and in that regard I get Steele’s logic.
The unfortunate part is that the Military Bowl (played in Annapolis) was a perfect fit for Maryland, but it’s got ACC tie-ins that no longer permit it. Now Maryland’s got to find a new (relatively local) bowl game to hit up if said bowl wants to have solid attendance. The Detroit Lions Bowl would be decent for recruiting, but it doesn’t really fit distance wise and preferably, Maryland wouldn’t have to play Pittsburgh; for the last time, they’re not Maryland’s rivals.
Thanks but no thanks, Mr. Steele; Maryland’s going for the Rose Bowl.