Are you ready to welcome your new turtle and knight-guy overlords? Jim Delany invited Maryland and Rutgers into the B1G as the 13th and 14th members a while back, and now that time is here.
Chances are you know a few things about the Terrapins and Scarlet Knights, such as their nicknames and possibly even their locations, and perhaps even a few of their players. After all, Ohio State lost a blue chip recruit to Maryland (Stefon Diggs) not too long ago.
You already know that Maryland has some rather…err…interesting(?) uniform combinations and Rutgers has the audacity to wear scarlet (but at least not with gray!).
But there are probably many things you don’t know about our new Big Ten East Division “rivals.”*
*Nope, and neither are you, Penn State. Sorry.
I’m here to tell you a few things you don’t know and probably don’t need to know about Maryland and Rutgers, list style.
1. Known then as Maryland Agricultural College, the Terps played their first football game back in 1892—two seasons after Ohio State’s first game. Maryland failed to score a point in its first season, going 0-3 and setting the stage for future generations of disappointment in Terrapin football.
2. The Terps have played in Byrd Stadium since 1950. Byrd’s capacity is just under 52,000, but its quaint attendance record of 58,973 (where were you that day, Mr. Fire Marshall?) was set in 1975 for a game against Penn State. The USFL’s Baltimore Stars played there in 1985.
3. Head Coach Randy Edsall, entering his fourth year, has yet to win more than three conference games in a season at Maryland. However, the Terps have improved each year since his first. Maryland was 2-10 his first season in 2011, 4-8 in 2012, and 7-6 in 2013. He won exactly two division games in his three years in the ACC Atlantic and now brings his team into the buzzsaw known as the B1G East (as opposed to the Big East, where he actually did OK!).
4. Maryland has won 10 or more games only seven times in school history. Jim Tressel did that eight times at Ohio State in 10 seasons, as long as you count the now-vacated wins of 2010, which I most certainly do. Those wins happened and the NCAA saying they didn’t is an invalid argument.
5. The Terrapins went undefeated and untied only once in the modern era. Maryland went 10-0 under coach Jim Tatum (no relation, we think) and somehow finished fourth in the Coaches’ Poll and third in the AP. The polls that year came out prior to bowl season for some weird reason that probably had to do with people going on vacation or something.
Maryland beat top ranked Tennessee in the 1952 Sugar Bowl and was retroactively named national champs by several reputable services. Their other national championship came in 1953 and was won in the usual fashion.
6. You may or may not know that Rutgers took part in the first ever college football game, beating Princeton 6-4 (scoring was weird and different back then) in 1869. What you may not know is that Rutgers players wore scarlet kerchiefs on their heads to differentiate their team from Princeton’s (more like scarf-let knights, amirite?), and the players batted and kicked the ball rugby-style in the contest. The second Rutgers game was also against Princeton, but this time the Tigers prevailed by a score of “eight goals to zero.”
7. The Scarlet Knights have a winning record in bowl games. However, Rutgers has only appeared in nine bowls, earning a record of 5-4. These bowl wins came in such notable games as the 2006 Texas Bowl, the 2008 International Bowl, the 2008 PapaJohns.com Bowl, the 2009 St. Petersburg Bowl, and the 2011 New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The Knights have dropped their last two bowl appearances.
8. Rutgers has won 10 or more games only twice in its history (11 both times, in 1976 and 2006). However, it has lost 10 or more games on three occasions.
9. The Scarlet Knights were national champions once. It’s kind of a dubious championship because Rutgers split it with Princeton and each had a record of 1-1, beating the other once. If they had used aggregate scoring, Princeton would have won the title outright. Also, I'm pretty sure those were the only two college football teams in existence in 1869.
10. Ralph Friedgen, one of Maryland’s most successful head coaches (75-50 in 10 seasons), is now the offensive coordinator at Rutgers. The Fridge took the Terrapins to seven bowl games in his 10 years in College Park and was still fired after a 9-4 season in which the Terps won a bowl game. This came in the wake of his offensive coordinator (James Franklin, now Penn State's head coach) leaving to coach at Vanderbilt and taking a chunk of Maryland's staff with him.
Now running the offense for Kyle Flood at Rutgers, Friedgen will get an opportunity to torment the school that let him go, which should be fun to watch. The evolving Penn State-Rutgers-Maryland triangle of hate should also be interesting, if the conference's two newcomers can compete with the Nittany Lions on the field.
Congratulations! You now know more stuff about Maryland and Rutgers than you did before. Isn't learning fun?