College football was the venue through which American football first gained popularity in the United States. Getting a ticket for college football game remains extremely popular today amongst students, alumni, and other fans of college football sport. On this page you can find more information about the history of this popular sport.
History of college football
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 college football game can be traced to a meeting between the Harvard University and McGill University college football teams in 1874. The two college football teams were used to playing different brands of college 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 college football 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 college football sport following a series of player deaths from injuries suffered during college football games. The response to this was the formation of what became the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which set rules governing the college football sport. One of the college football rules changes to emerge from this attempt at alleviating the violence of the college football sport was the introduction of the forward pass.
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 college football strategy and college football style of play originated in college football and spread to the pro game gradually.
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).
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