College Football

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff
  • The very first poll to determine a college football national champion was conducted in 1869. Princeton won the championship with a 1-1 record. At that time, the playing field was 120 yards long and 75 yards wide. Now it is 100 x 531/3. All goals were worth one point each and each team had 25 players on the field. Not exactly what we're used to today, huh?
  • Yale is credited with winning the most national championships — 18. Princeton has won 17. However, Yale's last title was in 1927 and Princeton's was in 1922.
  • The Associated Press (AP) Poll began in 1936 and is still widely used to determine the national champion. Since 1998, the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) rankings determine who plays in the four major bowls and most importantly, the national championship game. Since 1936, the team with the most national championships is Notre Dame with eight. Alabama and Oklahoma are tied for second with seven.
  • The Rose Bowl is known as the “Granddaddy of all bowls.” The first one was played on Jan. 1, 1902 with Michigan crushing Stanford 49-0. It had always been played between the winner of the Big Ten conference and the winner of the Pac-10 conference until 2002 when it served as the national championship game between Miami and Nebraska.
  • Division 1 college football is split into two divisions. The larger schools usually play in Division 1-A, while the smaller schools play in Division 1-AA. There is also a Division 2 and Division 3 for even smaller schools.
  • Grambling St. coach Eddie Robinson retired in 1998 after winning an NCAA record 408 games and losing only 164 in 55 years.
  • The school with the most Division 1-A victories is Michigan. The school with the most 1-AA victories is Yale.
  • Oklahoma won 47 games in a row from 1953 to 1957. It is still the longest Division 1 winning streak of all time.
  • In 1988, Oklahoma St. running back Barry Sanders set the all-time single-season rushing record by running for a whopping 2,628 yards, an average of 238.9 yards per game. He also scored 39 touchdowns, also a record for one season.
  • The longest field goal ever kicked is 67 yards, done by three players — Steve Little of Arkansas, Russell Erxleben of Texas, and Joe Williams of Wichita St.
  • In college, Jerry Rice of Mississippi Valley St. had 301 catches for 4,693 yards. Both are Divison 1-AA records.
  • The College Football Hall of Fame was established in 1955 and is located in South Bend, Indiana. Hundreds of players and coaches have been inducted.
  • The Heisman Trophy is awarded every year to college football's top player. The first award went to Chicago half back Jay Berwanger in 1935. Ohio State's Archie Griffin is the only player to win two Heisman awards. He did it in 1974 and 1975. In 1997, Michigan's Charles Woodson became the first primarily defensive player to win the award.
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