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The Maryland Terrapins football team represents the University of Maryland, College Park in the sport of American football. The Terrapins compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Next season the Terps will leave the ACC and become part of the Big Ten Conference. Since 1950, the Terrapins have played their home games at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland, making them the only FBS football team in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. The team's official colors of red, white, black, and gold have been in use in some combination since the 1920s and are taken from the state flag, and the nickname of the "Terrapins" (often abbreviated as "Terps") was adopted in 1933 after a turtle species native to the state. Maryland shares storied rivalries with Virginia and West Virginia.
The program's achievements have included one NCAA-recognized national championship,nine ACC championships, two Southern Conference championships, eleven consensus All-Americans, several Hall of Fame inductees, and twenty-four bowl game appearances. Maryland possesses the third-most ACC championships with nine, which places them behind Clemson (13) and Florida State (12). Many former Terrapins players and coaches have gone on to careers in professional football including 15 first-round NFL Draft picks.
The first officially recognized football team was fielded in 1892, and excluding a brief hiatus in 1895, Maryland has competed in college football each season since. Harry C. "Curley" Byrd, a student-athlete at Maryland, became head football coach in 1911 and served in that role for two decades before he became the university president. The Terrapins had consistent on-field success between 1947 and 1955. Maryland then suffered a period of mediocrity, until 1972, when the program again rose to national prominence under coaches Jerry Claiborne and Bobby Ross. The football program underwent another period of lackluster performance beginning in 1986 and lasting until 2001, when Ralph Friedgen was hired as head coach and engineered a first-year turnaround that culminated in a conference championship. In the following years, the Terrapins made regular postseason appearances, but were unable to match the success of Friedgen's first season.
On November 19, 2012, it was announced that the Terrapins football team will leave the ACC to join the Big Ten Conference, effective 2014.
In 1892, the school then known as the Maryland Agricultural College fielded its first officially sanctioned college football team. They went scoreless in all three of that season's games, but the following year, posted a perfect record of 6–0. For the first two decades of the program, the team primarily competed against local universities and high schools due to the prohibitive nature of long-distance travel at the time.
In 1911, Harry C. "Curley" Byrd became head coach and held that position for more than two decades until he was named the university president. In 1921, Maryland joined the Southern Conference where it remained for thirty years. Between 1935 and 1946, the school had several coaches that achieved fame elsewhere: Frank Dobson, a former assistant coach under John Heisman; Clark Shaughnessy, architect of Stanford's undefeated 1940 turnaround; and Paul "Bear" Bryant, who later became the long-time Alabama head coach. Bryant resigned after one season when a player he had suspended was reinstated by President Byrd.