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College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.

Unlike most other sports in North America, no minor league farm organizations exist in American or Canadian football. Therefore, college football is generally considered to be the second tier of American football in the United States and Canadian football in Canada; one step ahead of high school competition, and one step below professional competition. However, in some areas of the country, college football is more popular than professional football, and for much of the early 20th century, college football was seen as more prestigious than professional football.

It is in college football where a player's performance directly impacts his chances of playing professional football. The best collegiate players will typically declare for the professional draft after three to four years of collegiate competition, with the NFL holding its annual draft every spring in which 256 players are selected annually. Those not selected can still attempt to land an NFL roster spot as an undrafted free agent.

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An old, grainy black and white photo showing a college football game from 1919. A player is running with the ball on the left side of the picture with several players in pursuit to the right of him.
The Maryland Terrapins football team represents the University of Maryland in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS, formerly Division I-A) competition. The Terrapins compete within the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Since 1950, the Terrapins have played their home games at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland. 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 two NCAA-recognized national championships, nine ACC championships, two Southern Conference championships, eleven consensus All-Americans, several Hall of Fame inductees, and twenty-three 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 1953. Maryland then suffered a period of mediocrity, until 1972, when the program again rose to national prominence. The football program underwent another period of lackluster performance beginning in 1987 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 have been unable to match the success of Friedgen's first season.

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Aerial view of Harvard Stadium in Boston, in the form of a letter U with a capital H in the center of the field and the words Harvard and Crimson at either end

Yale's original mascot, Handsome Dan

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DeSean Jackson of the California Bears waves to the crowd at California's 2007 game against the Oregon Ducks.

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