Originally created 11/25/03

Terps to return to Gator



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Maryland accepted an invitation Monday to play in the Gator Bowl for the first time since 1975.

The worst Maryland (8-3) can do is tie for second with Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Because the Terrapins beat the Tigers, they were the clear pick for the Gator Bowl, which gets the first choice of ACC teams after the Bowl Championship Series representative is decided.

Florida State has won the conference and will get the BCS bid.

Maryland will play a Big East representative. If West Virginia defeats Temple on Saturday, and the Mountaineers are not chosen as the Big East representative for the BCS, they will come to Jacksonville.

A Maryland-West Virginia game would be a rematch of the regular-season meeting, won 34-7 by Maryland. Both schools have agreed to a rematch.

Maryland's last Gator Bowl appearance was in 1975 when the Terps defeated Florida, 13-0.

"I was at that game, sitting in the stands in the pouring rain," said Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, who was coaching at The Citadel then. "As an alumnus, I never got to go to bowl games when I was playing, so my wife and I drove down to the game, sat in the stands and then celebrated a victory afterward."

Maryland has played in the Orange and Peach bowls the last two years.