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College football

From Academic Kids

A college football game between  and the .
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A college football game between Colorado State University and the Air Force Academy.

College football was the venue through which American football first gained popularity in the United States. College football remains extremely popular today among students, alumni, and other fans of the sport.

Contents

History

A college football game between  and the .
Enlarge
A college football game between Texas Tech University and the U.S. Naval Academy.

The first game played between teams representing different colleges or universities was played on November 6, 1869 between Rutgers University and Princeton University, at College Field (now the site of the College Avenue Gymnasium), New Brunswick, New Jersey. Rutgers won, by a score of 6 to 4. As the score would seemingly indicate, the game bore little resemblance to the game of today. The rules of that game were the 1863 rules of the English Football Association, the basis of the modern form of soccer.

The development of the American game can be traced to a meeting between the Harvard University and McGill University football teams in 1874. The two teams were used to playing different brands of football — the McGill team played a rugby-style game, while Harvard played a soccer-style game. The teams agreed to play under compromise rules, and from this meeting the game of football began to evolve in both the United States and Canada.

The game increased in popularity through the remainder of the 19th century. It also became increasingly violent. President Theodore Roosevelt threatened, in 1906, to ban the sport following a series of player deaths from injuries suffered during games. The response to this was the formation of what became the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which set rules governing the sport. One of the rules changes to emerge from this attempt at alleviating the violence of the sport was the introduction of the forward pass. Another was the banning of "mass momentum" plays (many of which, like the infamous "flying wedge", were sometimes literally deadly).

Prior to the founding of the National Football League, and for a few decades thereafter, college football was the predominant venue for American football. Innovations in strategy and style of play originated in college football and spread to the pro game gradually. It was not until the post-World War II era that the pro game achieved ascendancy in the eyes of the average American sports fan.

The season schedule

Division 1A college football begins two to three weeks earlier than the NFL, towards the end of August. Until 2003, the regular season was officially ushered in by the Kickoff Classic, held in recent years in New Jersey (although other pre-season games such as the Eddie Robinson Classic and the Pigskin Classic have also been played), but recent NCAA policy changes have eliminated some of these games, and so the season now largely starts out with regular games. The regular season then continues through early December (generally ending with the annual Army-Navy Game).

The college post-season is ushered in by the annual presentation of the Heisman Trophy Award, considered the most prestigious award in all of college football, given to the top player of the year as determined by a panel consisting of media voters and former winners of the award. This is then followed by a series of bowl games that showcase (usually) the top college team in a particular conference, as well as the consensus "national champion", which is determined not by a true playoff, but by a controversial confederation of voters, broadcast networks, bowls and conferences known as the Bowl Championship Series. A series of all-star bowl games round out the season for the balance of January, including the East-West Shrine Game, the Senior Bowl (for many decades the official final game of the season), the Hula Bowl, and the Gridiron Classic (in recent years, the Hula and Gridiron have alternated as the final game of the season).

In spring 2005, the NCAA ruled that teams could schedule 12 regular-season games beginning in the 2006 season. This decision was met with some criticism, as some teams, such as Alabama and Auburn, who traditionally have a bye week on Thanksgiving weekend, will have to play eight games consecutively some seasons.

National championships

NCAA divisions and conferences

NCAA Division I-A

NCAA Division I-AA

NCAA Division II

NCAA Division III

NAIA Conferences

Conferences that formerly sponsored football

Division I colleges that no longer play football

Last season played in parentheses

College football bowl games for 2004-2005

Please see NCAA football bowl games, 2004-05

College football bowl games played for 2004-2005

Template:Bowl Games

Bowls no longer played

College football awards

See Also

External links

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