MnB B1G Preview: A few things to know about Maryland football

Scott Cunningham

Let's take a look at some things you should know about Maryland Terrapins football.

One (should be two) National Championship: 10-1 in 1953

During the 1953 season, Maryland destroyed its competition en route to a 10-0 record. The Terps amassed six shutouts and surrendered only 31 points across the four other victories. Their only loss came in the postseason against #4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, who won 7-0. Still, Maryland's lone claimed National Championship happened in '53. Now, I say that the Terps should have two National Championships (or at least claim another one, since everyone does it) because they went undefeated in 1951 but only received a #3 ranking. Since the National Championship voting occurred before the postseason, Maryland's notable victory over the top-ranked Tennessee Volunteers wasn't taken into account. Therefore, the Terps powerful '51 season flies under the radar without the distinction of a title.

Head Coach of Success: Jim Tatum

Tatum led the Terps during the first successful era (1947-55) in team history which saw the team win a National Championship, take three conference titles, and go to their first bowl game. He's the winningest coach in Maryland history at 73-15-4 (0.819). Under Tatum, the Terps never had a losing season and won 10 games in a season three times, which has only happened four times outside of Tatum's years. According to Tatum: "Winning isn't the most important thing - it's the only thing."

Rivalry time: Nobody stands out

Unlike most schools, Maryland football doesn't have a clear-cut, traditional rivalry game that puts some odd item from the early 1900s at stake every year. One of their biggest "rivals" would have to be Virginia, but the meeting has only been annual since 1957, and with Maryland joining the Big Ten, there's no guarantee that they'll continue to play. Furthermore, what hurts Maryland-Virginia in terms of its rivalry game strength is the fact that Virginia has two bigger rivals than Maryland: Virginia Tech and North Carolina.

Another "rival" of Maryland is West Virginia. The teams have met a total of 50 times with the Mountaineers leading the series at 26-22-2. The teams played sporadically after their first game in 1919 until the series ran uninterrupted from 1980 to 2007. However, just like Virginia, West Virginia has a stronger rivalry with another school (the Backyard Brawl against the Pitt Panthers).

Lastly, Penn State seems to be considered a "rival" of Maryland's, but I don't understand how it can be a rivalry when the Nittany Lions hold a 35-1-1 record against the Terps. The teams played most of their games from the 1960s to the early '90s, with their last contest occurring in 1993. However, that will change next year as Maryland and Penn State are both in the East Division of the Big Ten. This will give Maryland will have a chance to redeem itself against the Nittany Lions every year for the foreseeable future.

Traditions: Plain and simple

Maryland doesn't seem to have any weird or goofy football-related traditions, but rather, a lot of the norm. They jingle keys, sing their fight song, have a special chant for the refs on first down plays, and line "Terp Alley" while the players make their way to the stadium before games.

So that's about it for one of the new additions to the Big Ten. From what I can gather, Maryland doesn't have the richest football tradition, but I would have never guessed they won a National Championship. Oh, and I agree with Kevin, Testudo is pretty goofy...

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