Swan Song: Maryland Wraps Up 61 Years of ACC Football Saturday

Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

"Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow." - William Shakespeare

On Saturday, when Maryland heads down to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on NC State, they'll be doing much more than trying to improve their bowl pecking order position; Maryland will be playing in their final Atlantic Coast Conference football game. Ever. And they'll be playing against the school who's athletic department is now headed by former Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow, whose budget management while at Maryland might have been part of the catalyst that pushed the school towards leaving the ACC for the Big Ten.

It was on June 14, 1953, when seven southern schools ratified bylaws that established the Atlantic Coast Conference, having withdrawn from the Southern Conference on May 8th of the same year. Maryland, Duke, Clemson, Wake Forest, North Carolina, North Carolina State, and South Carolina were the charter members of the ACC, with Virginia added in December of 1953. Maryland will become the second charter member of the conference to leave when they officially join the B1G on July 1, 2014, joining South Carolina, who left in 1971, as the only other ACC charter member to leave the conference.

Maryland will leave the ACC having won nine conference titles (1953, 1955, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1983, 1984, 1985, 2001) and 344 games.

Here is a breakdown of Maryland's football wins by year while in the ACC (1953-2013):

Maryland_wins_by_year_acc_medium

Maryland's time in the conference was filled with periods of dominance, followed by periods of pure irrelevancy. The Terps went from National Champs in 1953 to a two win team just three years later. The late 50s and mid-60s were bad times to be Maryland football fans.

The Terps saw another surge back to dominance in the early 70s and into the 80s, winning the conference title three consecutive years from 1974-76. Maryland again captured three straight conference titles from 1983-1985 before falling back on hard times in the late 80s and through the 90s.

Ralph Friedgen's hire in 2001 saw a renaissance for the program, which averaged just four wins per season from 1996-2000. Friedgen led Maryland to their first (and what ended up being their last) ACC title in 16 years, propelling the program to three consecutive 10+ win seasons. The 2001 trip to the Orange Bowl marked the first time Florida State didn't win the ACC title since joining the league in 1991.

The end of the Friedgen era was filled with a lot of controversy, as Maryland fell back to the middle of the ACC, dealt with the James Franklin "head coach in waiting" situation, and ultimately Friedgen's dismissal following the 2010 season. Randy Edsall's tenure during the school's final ACC seasons has been a roller coaster of highs and lows, but so far has struggled to achieve at the level many fans expected when he was hired from Connecticut in 2011.

Maryland actually won the ACC's first National Title in football in 1953, the inaugural year of the league. Since then, only four other football titles have been won by schools while part of the conference: Clemson (1981); Georgia Tech (1990 AP); and Florida State (1993 & 1999).

But now, Maryland finds itself playing in their last ACC game as a member of the conference. There are a lot of great memories, but one of my favorite has to be the last regular season game of 2001, which happened to be at NC State. I was a freshman in the band at Maryland and they sent us down to the game. After the Terps scored a go-ahead TD with under a minute left, Philip Rivers threw an interception and Maryland was on our way to the Orange Bowl. How did Maryland fans there celebrate? By throwing oranges onto the field. It was awesome and such a Maryland thing to do.

What's your favorite ACC Football memory?


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