NCAA College Football

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


Football has been an intercollegiate sport for more than 130 years, but modern fans would scarcely recognize the game as played in the first contest on November 6, 1869, at New Brunswick, New Jersey. On that day Princeton and Rutgers, using a soccer-style round ball, played on a huge field (120 yards long and 75 yards wide) with 25 players on each side--and no officials. Rutgers scored 6 goals to the visitors' 4, after which the teams had dinner together. Princeton issued a challenge for a return match on its field and a week later (using Princeton's slightly different rules) got revenge by blanking Rutgers 8 goals to 0, then entertained the visitors with dinner accompanied by speeches and songs.

The sport grew slowly at first with Columbia, Yale, Harvard, and Stevens Tech fielding teams by 1875. In that year an egg-shaped, leather-covered rugby ball was adopted for play and normal procedure was to have three officials on hand: a judge from each team plus a referee to settle disputes.

In 1876 a crossbar was added to the goal posts at a height of 10 feet (in effect to the present day), and the field was reduced to nearly modern dimensions. At the same time the number of players on each side was lowered to 15.

Still, the sport did not really begin to resemble the modern game until former Yale player Walter Camp revised the rules in the early 1880s. Camp's 1880 revisions limited players to 11 on a side and established a scrimmage system for putting the ball in play. Two years later he instituted a system of downs for advancing the ball, requiring a team to make 5 yards in 3 downs (the current system of 4 downs to make 10 yards was not adopted until 1912). The first-down rule of 1882 required the marking of yard lines on the field and led to the term gridiron. It also inspired the first planned play strategy and verbal signals. With these changes the game spread more rapidly, and some 250 colleges were participating by the beginning of the twentieth century.

College Football Playoff National Championship Overview

The College Football Playoff National Championship is the final game of the College Football Playoff (CFP) and determines the NCAA Division I national football champions. Taking place for the first time as part of the 2014 college football season, the inaugural College Football Championship game occurred on January 12, 2015 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

In that exciting matchup, the Ohio State Buckeyes beat out the Oregon Ducks by a score of 42-20. In 2016, one of the most epic games in college football history unfolded. The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Clemson Tigers 45-40 in a thrilling comeback win at Uiversity of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ. The game featured a combined 40 points in the fourth quarter and will be remembered for decades.

The 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship game is sure to be just as exhilarating as last year’s, so get your seats to see the college football season’s most important game!

College Football Playoff Championship Host Cities

Cities across the country are eligible to place a bid to host a College Football Playoff Championship game, provided they have a stadium that holds at least 65,000 people. Any city that hosts a semifinal game is also ineligible to host the championship game in the same year. Raymond James Stadium in Tampa will host in 2017. Other cities that have submitted bids to host future College Football Playoff Championship games include Jacksonville, New Orleans, San Francisco, Houston, Charlotte, San Antonio, Minneapolis, and Detroit.

College Football Playoff National Championship Winners

2015 - Ohio State Buckeyes

2016 - Alabama Crimson Tide

2017 - Clemson Tigers

2018 - TBD

A Look Back at the Bowl Championship Series (before 2014)

A BCS bowl game was a post-season college football game, typically in the Division I Bowl Subdivision. The first bowl game was the 1902 Rose Bowl, played between Michigan and Stanford; Michigan won 49-0. It ended when Stanford requested and Michigan agreed to end it with 8 minutes on the clock. That game was so lopsided that the game was not played annually until 1916, when the Tournament of Roses decided to reattempt the postseason game. The term "bowl" originates from the shape of the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California, which was built in 1923 and looked like a bowl. This is where the name came in to use, as it became known as the Rose Bowl Game. Other games came along and used the term "bowl", whether the stadium was shaped like a bowl or not.

At the Division I FBS level, teams had to earn the right to be bowl eligible by winning at least 6 games during the season. They were then invited to a bowl game based on their conference ranking and the tie-ins that the conference has to each bowl game. For the 2009 season, there were 34 bowl games, so 68 of the 120 Division I FBS teams were invited to play at a bowl. These games were played from mid-December to early January and most of the later bowl games were typically considered more prestigious.

After the Bowl Championship Series, additional all-star bowl games rounded out the post-season schedule through the beginning of February.

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