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Bowl Picks: Maryland Vs. East Carolina

Maryland Terrapins (8-4, 5-3 ACC) vs. East Carolina Pirates (6-6, 5-3 CUSA)

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
Dec. 29 - 2:30 pm - ESPN
Washington, D.C.
$1,000,000 payout per team

The Maryland Terrapins will battle the East Carolina Pirates in this year’s Military Bowl. Played close to Maryland’s campus, the bowl will be played in RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C, former home of the Washington Redskins. Maryland finished the season with an 8-4 record, and was the third place team in the ACC. The Pirates finished the season with a .500 overall record, and a fifth place finish in Conference USA. The Military Bowl is in its third season. UCLA defeated Temple in last year’s Military Bowl, 30-21. The Terrapins and Pirates will face each other for the first time ever in the Military Bowl.

Most intriguing about this matchup will be how Maryland responds to the constant distractions created by coach Ralph Friedgen’s ouster. Friedgen, who won the ACC’s Coach of the Year Award after improving the Terps from a 2-9 squad in 2009, to an 8-4 squad in 2010, was forced out at the end of the season in favor of former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. East Carolina can ride the distractions to success if it can get quarterback Dominique Dixon rolling. Dixon led the Pirates to a 2010 scoring average of nearly 40 points per game, piling up nearly 3,700 yards passing and 36 touchdowns in the process. While mired in distractions, the Terrapins have the advantage in talent which I expect to prevail in Washington, DC.
- SBN Pittsburgh analysis by Aaron Hawley

SBN PITTSBURGH BOLD PREDICTION: Maryland 20, ECU 17

Analyst Projections
Aaron - Maryland
Anson - Maryland
Jeff - Maryland

From ESPN:

Maryland, a 2-10 team a year ago, made the second-best turnaround in the FBS with eight wins this season. This game will feature two talented quarterbacks in Maryland's Danny O'Brien, the ACC's Rookie of the Year, and East Carolina quarterback Dominique Davis, who is fourth in the country with 3,699 passing yards. -- Heather Dinich

From Fox Sports:

If nothing else, the stands should be packed and there should be plenty of excitement for a game with two good geographic tie-ins. Maryland had a phenomenal bounce back year after a disastrous 2009, but can the offense keep up the pace with an East Carolina offense that's one of the most explosive in the nation? Yup ... the Pirates have the worst defense in college football. This will be a sneaky-fun shootout.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.