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College Football History

(heavyweight style)

It all started with a simple little game with a handful of observers in 1869.  Rutgers and Princeton.  I can bet none of those young men had a clue what they were starting, or with what kind of passion this nation would surround this game they were starting.  

There have been disputes over the years whether this was really the first college football game.  There have been other claims that true football really didn’t start until around 1874, or 1883, some would point to several years later still with the invention of the forward pass.  In the first few years, the game was closer to rugby than the football we know today.  The first few years, they kept score more like a soccer match, with a point for each score.  It wasn’t until 1883 that a scoring system closer to what we are accustomed was used.  Actually, it doesn’t matter that much, as there were so few schools actually playing those early years, and as dominant as Princeton, Yale, and later Penn were in those days, it doesn’t take long for the ‘championship record to line up.

And the rest, as they say, is history.  College Football History!

I can’t take credit for the concept.  I know there have to be other people who thought of the ‘what if’ before.  After I published my initial version of this site, David Wilson pointed out another page that was set up with a similar approach.  David Shepard’s Daisy Chain of College Football doesn’t go into quite as much detail.  I think I’ve noticed one discrepancy between my site and his, that being on his site in 1917 he shows Pitt as taking the title away from Syracuse.  My records showed that the Pitt-Syracuse game that year took place before the Syracuse-Brown game.  If anyone has any information to the contrary, it’s always good to make sure I’ve got it right.

I did notice a couple of errors and have corrected them.  The biggest one centered on 1943, where I showed some games played by Auburn, when in fact Auburn did not play that year (like many other schools) due to the war.  That has been corrected.  If anyone spots any other errors, please let me know.  I’m feeling comfortable enough now to start compiling some team stats and pages.

Because of the size of the tables, it would be a slow loading page if i kept all the scores on one page (especially for the three of you still left on dialup).  So, the links to the right will take you to the respective eras, with game by game listings of the championship matches.  Enjoy.

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