College football
Overview
 
College football refers to American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies
United States military academies
The United States Service academies, also known as the United States Military Academies, are federal academies for the undergraduate education and training of commissioned officers for the United States armed forces.There are five U.S...

, or Canadian football
Canadian football
Canadian football is a form of gridiron football played exclusively in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play long and wide attempting to advance a pointed prolate spheroid ball into the opposing team's scoring area...

 played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in Canada and the United States.
Modern North American football has its origins in various games, all known as "football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

", played at public schools
Public School (UK)
A public school, in common British usage, is a school that is neither administered nor financed by the state or from taxpayer contributions, and is instead funded by a combination of endowments, tuition fees and charitable contributions, usually existing as a non profit-making charitable trust...

 in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in the mid-19th century.
Quotations

My mom said "you are either going to be in jail, or be killed". So I decided to do something different because I didn't want to be in one of those postions, so I kind of focused on football and took off from there.

Vince Young|Vince Young, (University of Texas at Austin|University of Texas at Austin) quarterback; on the "negative things" that were going on when he was growing up

"Iowa and Minnesota play for a pig, a statuette rendition of the actual brother of a porcine star of a Will Rogers movie. I would like to remind you that this is, on balance, a marvelous nation. "

Chuck Culpepper|Chuck Culpepper

"It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog."

Archie Griffin|Archie Griffin two-time Heisman Trophy|Heisman winner

"We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time."

Vince Lombardi|Vince Lombardi

"I’m like a lot of coaches. I have a lot of corny saying, but one of them is ‘there are two types of class, there’s first class and there’s no class.’"

Dan Hawkins (coach)|Dan Hawkins

"I was tremendously honored to make the All-American team but I don't feel that I have to strain to live up to some mythical something. Yesterday's sports hero is a lot like yesterday's newspaper--you always know there's a fresh one coming tomorrow."

Bill Dudley|Bill Dudley

"Football doesn't build character. It eliminates weak ones."

Darrell Royal|Darrell Royal

"When people used to see Wake Forest on the schedule, they used a pen to mark down a

W.' We're at the point now where we at least make them use a pencil."

"In the next four years, I'll give you at least one national championship."

Ryan Miller, 5-star recruit speaking to University of Colorado at Boulder|Colorado fans through a reporter about the next four seasons for the Colorado Buffaloes football|Colorado Buffaloes football.

Encyclopedia
College football refers to American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies
United States military academies
The United States Service academies, also known as the United States Military Academies, are federal academies for the undergraduate education and training of commissioned officers for the United States armed forces.There are five U.S...

, or Canadian football
Canadian football
Canadian football is a form of gridiron football played exclusively in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play long and wide attempting to advance a pointed prolate spheroid ball into the opposing team's scoring area...

 played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in Canada and the United States.

History

Rugby in England and Canada

Modern North American football has its origins in various games, all known as "football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

", played at public schools
Public School (UK)
A public school, in common British usage, is a school that is neither administered nor financed by the state or from taxpayer contributions, and is instead funded by a combination of endowments, tuition fees and charitable contributions, usually existing as a non profit-making charitable trust...

 in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in the mid-19th century. By the 1840s, students at Rugby School
Rugby School
Rugby School is a co-educational day and boarding school located in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire, England. It is one of the oldest independent schools in Britain.-History:...

 were playing a game in which players were able to pick up the ball and run with it, a sport later known as Rugby football
Rugby football
Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

. The game was taken to Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 by British soldiers stationed there and was soon being played at Canadian colleges.

The first documented gridiron football match was a game played at University College, a college of the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

, November 9, 1861. One of the participants in the game involving University of Toronto students was (Sir) William Mulock, later Chancellor of the school. A football club was formed at the university soon afterward, although its rules of play at this stage are unclear.

In 1864, at Trinity College, also a college of the University of Toronto, F. Barlow Cumberland and Frederick A. Bethune devised rules based on rugby football. Modern Canadian football is widely regarded as having originated with a game played in Montreal, in 1865, when British Army officers played local civilians. The game gradually gained a following, and the Montreal Football Club was formed in 1868, the first recorded non-university football club in Canada.

The first college football game in the United States

The first game of intercollegiate "football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

" between two colleges from the United States was an unfamiliar ancestor of today's college football, as it was played under 99-year-old soccer-style Association rules. The game was played between teams from Rutgers University
Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey, United States. It was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial colleges founded before the American...

 and Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

, which was called the College of New Jersey at the time. It took place on November 6, 1869 at College Field, which is now the site of the College Avenue Gymnasium
College Avenue Gymnasium
The College Avenue Gymnasium is an athletic facility on the campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.It is the second gymnasium built on the site. The first was built in 1892 on the site of College Field, the former RU football field...

 at Rutgers University
Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey, United States. It was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial colleges founded before the American...

 in New Brunswick, New Jersey
New Brunswick, New Jersey
New Brunswick is a city in Middlesex County, New Jersey, USA. It is the county seat and the home of Rutgers University. The city is located on the Northeast Corridor rail line, southwest of Manhattan, on the southern bank of the Raritan River. At the 2010 United States Census, the population of...

. Rutgers won by a score of 6 "runs" to Princeton's 4. The 1869 game between Rutgers
Rutgers Scarlet Knights football
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team represents Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Bowl Subdivision play...

 and Princeton
Princeton Tigers football
The Princeton Tigers football program represents Princeton University college football at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision...

 is important in that it is the first documented game of intercollegiate football ever played between two American colleges, and because of this, Rutgers is often referred to as The Birthplace of College Football. It came two years before an inter-club rugby game under the auspices of the Rugby Football Union
Rugby Football Union
The Rugby Football Union was founded in 1871 as the governing body for the sport of rugby union, and performed as the international governing body prior to the formation of the International Rugby Board in 1886...

 would be played in England; though it must be remembered that rugby had been codified 24 years before this in 1845 and played by many schools, universities and clubs even before the laws were first put on paper. Although the Rutgers-Princeton game was undoubtedly different from what we today know as American football, it was the forerunner of what evolved into American football. Another similar game took place between Rutgers and Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 in 1870. The popularity of intercollegiate competition in football would spread throughout the country.

Rugby is adopted by US colleges

Yale, together with Rutgers, Princeton and Columbia met on October 20, 1873 at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City to agree a set of rules and regulations that would allow them play a form of football that was essentially Association football (today often called "soccer" in the US) in character. Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 turned down an invitation to join this group because they preferred to play a rougher version of football called "the Boston Game" in which the kicking of a round ball was the most prominent feature though a player could run with the ball, pass it, or dribble it (known as “babying”). The man with the ball could be tackled, although hitting, tripping, “hacking” (shin-kicking) and other unnecessary roughness was prohibited. There was no limit to the number of players, but there were typically ten to fifteen a-side.

Harvard's decision not to join the Yale-Rutgers-Princeton-Columbia association meant that they needed to look further afield to find football opponents so when a challenge from Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

’s McGill University
McGill University
Mohammed Fathy is a public research university located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The university bears the name of James McGill, a prominent Montreal merchant from Glasgow, Scotland, whose bequest formed the beginning of the university...

 rugby team in Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 was issued to Harvard, they accepted. It was agreed that two games would be played on Harvard’s Jarvis baseball field in Cambridge
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 on May 14 and 15, 1874: one to be played under Harvard rules, another under the stricter rugby
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 regulations of McGill. Harvard beat McGill in the "Boston Game" on the Thursday and held McGill to a 0-0 tie on the Friday. The Harvard students took to the rugby rules and adopted them as their own, travelling to Montreal to play a further game of rugby in the Fall of the same year winning by three tries
Try
A try is the major way of scoring points in rugby league and rugby union football. A try is scored by grounding the ball in the opposition's in-goal area...

 to nil.

Harvard then played Tufts University
Tufts University
Tufts University is a private research university located in Medford/Somerville, near Boston, Massachusetts. It is organized into ten schools, including two undergraduate programs and eight graduate divisions, on four campuses in Massachusetts and on the eastern border of France...

 on June 4, 1875, again at Jarvis Field. Jarvis Field was at the time a patch of land at the northern point of the Harvard campus, bordered by Everett and Jarvis Streets to the north and south, and Oxford Street and Massachusetts Avenue to the east and west. The game was won by Tufts 1-0 and a report of the outcome of this game appeared in the Boston Daily Globe of June 5, 1875. In this game each side fielded eleven men, participants were allowed to pick up the inflated egg-shaped ball and run with it and the ball carrier was stopped by knocking him down or "tackling" him. A photograph of the 1875 Tufts team hangs in the College Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and museum devoted to college football. Located in South Bend, Indiana, it is connected to a convention center and situated in the city's renovated downtown district, two miles south of the University of Notre Dame campus. It is slated to move...

 in South Bend, Indiana
South Bend, Indiana
The city of South Bend is the county seat of St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States, on the St. Joseph River near its southernmost bend, from which it derives its name. As of the 2010 Census, the city had a total of 101,168 residents; its Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 316,663...

  commemorates this match as the generally accepted first intercollegiate football game between two US institutions.

In 1876 at Massasoit House in Springfield, Massachusetts, Harvard persuaded Princeton and Columbia to adopt an amalgam of rugby's laws and the rules that they were then playing, thus forming the Intercollegiate Football Association (IFA). Yale initially refused to join this association because of a disagreement over the number of players to be allowed per team (relenting in 1879) and Rutgers were not invited to the meeting. The rules that they agreed upon were essentially those of rugby union at the time with the exception that points be awarded for scoring a try
Try
A try is the major way of scoring points in rugby league and rugby union football. A try is scored by grounding the ball in the opposition's in-goal area...

, not just the conversion afterwards (extra point
Convert
The convert or try, in American football known as "point after", and Canadian football "Point after touchdown", is a one-scrimmage down played immediately after a touchdown during which the scoring team is allowed to attempt to score an extra one point by kicking the ball through the uprights , or...

). Incidentally, rugby was to make a similar change to its scoring system 10 years later.

Rugby becomes American Football

Walter Camp
Walter Camp
Walter Chauncey Camp was an American football player, coach, and sports writer known as the "Father of American Football". With John Heisman, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Pop Warner, Fielding H. Yost, and George Halas, Camp was one of the most accomplished persons in the early history of American football...

, known as the "Father of American Football", is credited with changing the game from a variation of rugby into a unique sport. Camp is responsible for pioneering the play from scrimmage (earlier games featured a rugby scrum
Scrum (rugby)
Scrum , in the sports of rugby union and rugby league, is a way of restarting the game, either after an accidental infringement or when the ball has gone out of play...

), most of the modern elements of scoring, the eleven-man team, and the traditional offensive setup of the seven-man line and the four-man backfield. Camp also had a hand in popularizing the game. He published numerous articles in publications such as Collier's Weekly
Collier's Weekly
Collier's Weekly was an American magazine founded by Peter Fenelon Collier and published from 1888 to 1957. With the passage of decades, the title was shortened to Collier's....

and Harper's Weekly
Harper's Weekly
Harper's Weekly was an American political magazine based in New York City. Published by Harper & Brothers from 1857 until 1916, it featured foreign and domestic news, fiction, essays on many subjects, and humor...

, and he chose the first College Football All-America Team
College Football All-America Team
The College Football All-America Team is an honor given annually to the best American college football players at their respective positions. The original usage of the term All-America seems to have been to the 1889 College Football All-America Team selected by Casper Whitney and published in This...

.

Formation of the NCAA

College football increased in popularity through the remainder of the 19th century. It also became increasingly violent. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 threatened 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
National Collegiate Athletic Association
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a semi-voluntary association of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States...

 (NCAA), which set rules governing the sport. The rules committee considered widening the playing field to "open up" the game, but Harvard Stadium
Harvard Stadium
Harvard Stadium is a horseshoe-shaped football stadium in the Allston neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States. Built in 1903, the stadium seats 30,323. The stadium seated up to 57,166 in the past, as permanent steel stands were installed in the north end of the stadium in 1929...

 (the first large permanent football stadium) had recently been built at great expense; it would be rendered useless by a wider field. The rules committee legalized the forward pass
Forward pass
In several forms of football a forward pass is when the ball is thrown in the direction that the offensive team is trying to move, towards the defensive team's goal line...

 instead. The first legal pass was thrown by Bradbury Robinson
Bradbury Robinson
Bradbury Norton Robinson, Jr. was a pioneering American football player, physician, and local politician. He played college football at the University of Wisconsin in 1903 and at Saint Louis University from 1904 to 1907. In 1904, though personal connections to Wisconsin governor Robert M. La...

 on September 5, 1906, playing for coach Eddie Cochems
Eddie Cochems
Edward Bulwer "Eddie" Cochems was an American football player and coach. He played football for the University of Wisconsin from 1898 to 1901 and was the head football coach at North Dakota State , Clemson , Saint Louis University , and Maine . During his three years at St...

, who developed an early but sophisticated passing offense at Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University is a private, co-educational Jesuit university located in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. Founded in 1818 by the Most Reverend Louis Guillaume Valentin Dubourg SLU is the oldest university west of the Mississippi River. It is one of 28 member institutions of the...

. Another rule change banned "mass momentum" plays (many of which, like the infamous "flying wedge
Flying wedge
A flying wedge is a configuration created from a body moving forward in a triangular formation. This V-shaped arrangement began as a successful military strategy in ancient times when infantry units would move forward in wedge formations to smash through an enemy's lines...

", were sometimes literally deadly).

Even after the emergence of the professional National Football League
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

 (NFL), college football remained extremely popular throughout the U.S.
Although the college game has a much larger margin for talent than its pro counterpart, the sheer number of fans following major colleges provides a financial equalizer for the game, with Division I programs – the highest level – playing in huge stadiums, six of which have seating capacity exceeding 100,000. In many cases, college stadiums employ bench-style seating, as opposed to individual seats with backs and arm rests. This allows them to seat more fans in a given amount of space than the typical professional stadium, which tends to have more features and comforts for fans. (Only one stadium owned by a U.S. college or university—Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
Papa John's Cardinal Stadium is a football stadium located in Louisville, Kentucky, USA and serves as the home of the University of Louisville football program. It opened in 1998, making it the second-to-last football stadium in NCAA Division I-A to open in the 20th century, with SMU's Gerald J....

 at the University of Louisville
Louisville Cardinals football
The Louisville Cardinals football team represents the University of Louisville in college football as a member of the Big East Conference. Howard Schnellenberger started the program's rise to relevancy after winning the Miami Hurricanes' first national championship...

—consists entirely of chairback seating.)

College athletes, unlike professionals, are not permitted by the NCAA to be paid salaries, though many do receive athletic scholarship
Athletic scholarship
An athletic scholarship is a form of scholarship to attend a college or university awarded to an individual based predominantly on his or her ability to play in a sport...

s and financial assistance from their university.

Official rules and notable rule distinctions

Although rules for the high school, college, and NFL games are generally consistent, there are several minor differences. The NCAA Football Rules Committee determines the playing rules for Division I (both Bowl and Championship Subdivisions), II, and III games (the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is an athletic association that organizes college and university-level athletic programs. Membership in the NAIA consists of smaller colleges and universities across the United States. The NAIA allows colleges and universities outside the USA...

 (NAIA) is a separate organization, but uses the NCAA rules).
  • A pass is ruled complete if one of the receiver's feet is inbounds at the time of the catch. In the NFL both feet must be inbounds.
  • A player is considered down when any part of his body other than the feet or hands touches the ground or when the ball carrier is tackled or otherwise falls and loses possession of the ball as he contacts the ground with any part of his body, with the sole exception of the holder for field goal and extra point attempts. In the NFL a player is active until he is tackled or forced down by a member of the opposing team (down by contact).
  • The clock stops after the offense completes a first down and begins again—assuming it is following a play in which the clock would not normally stop—once the referee declares the ball ready for play. In the NFL the clock does not explicitly stop for a first down.
  • Overtime was introduced in 1996, eliminating ties. When a game goes to overtime, each team is given one possession from its opponent's twenty-five yard line with no game clock, despite the one timeout per period and use of play clock. The team leading after both possessions is declared the winner. If the teams remain tied, overtime periods continue, with a coin flip determining the first possession. Possessions alternate with each overtime, until one team leads the other at the end of the overtime. Starting with the third overtime, a one point PAT field goal after a touchdown is no longer allowed, forcing teams to attempt a two-point conversion after a touchdown. (In the NFL overtime is decided by a 15-minute sudden-death quarter, and regular season games can still end in a tie if neither team scores. Overtime for regular season games in the NFL
    National Football League
    The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

     began with the 1974
    1974 NFL season
    The 1974 NFL season was the 55th regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl IX when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Minnesota Vikings...

     season. In the post-season, if the teams are still tied, teams will play additional overtime periods until either team scores.)
  • Extra point tries are attempted from the three-yard line. The NFL uses the two-yard line. This counts as one point. Teams can also go for "the two-point conversion
    Two-point conversion
    In American and Canadian football, a two-point conversion is a play a team attempts instead of kicking a one-point convert immediately after it scores a touchdown...

    " which is when a team will line up at the three yard line and try to score. If they are successful, they receive two points, if they are not, then they receive zero points. The two-point conversion was not implemented in the NFL until 1994, but it had been previously used in the old American Football League (AFL) before it merged with the NFL in 1970.
  • The defensive team may score two points on a point-after touchdown attempt by returning a blocked kick, fumble, or interception into the opposition's end zone. In addition, if the defensive team gains possession, but then moves backwards into the endzone and is stopped, a one point safety will be awarded to the offense, although, unlike a real safety, the offense kicks off, opposed to the team charged with the safety. This college rule was added in 1988. In the NFL, a conversion attempt ends when the defending team gains possession of the football.
  • The two-minute warning
    Two-minute warning
    In the National Football League, the two-minute warning is given when two minutes of game time remain on the game clock in each half of a game, i.e. near the end of the second and fourth quarters. There is an additional two-minute warning in the rare event only two minutes remain in an overtime...

     is not used in college football, except in rare cases where the scoreboard clock has malfunctioned and is not being used.
  • There is an option to use instant replay review of officiating decisions. Division I FBS (formerly Division I-A) schools use replay in virtually all games; replay is rarely used in lower division games. Every play is subject to booth review with coaches only having one challenge. In the NFL, only scoring plays, the final 2:00 of each half and all overtime periods are reviewed, and coaches are issued two challenges (with the option for a 3rd if the first two are successful).
  • In the 2006 season, the game clock was started when the ball was declared ready for play after the defensive team (during a scrimmage down) or the kick-receiving team (during a free kick down) was awarded a first down (change of possession), reducing the time of games. This rule only lasted one year.
  • In the 1984 season, the ball was placed on the 30 yard line (instead of the 20) if a kickoff sailed through the end zone on the fly and untouched. This rule was rescinded after one year.
  • Among other rule changes in 2007, kickoffs were moved from the 35-yard line back five yards to the 30-yard line, matching a change that the NFL had made in 1994. Some coaches and officials questioned this rule change as it could lead to more injuries to the players as there will likely be more kickoff returns. The rationale for the rule change was to help reduce dead time in the game. However, the NFL returned its kickoff location to the 35-yard line effective in 2011, while college football continues to use the 30.
  • Several changes were made to college rules in 2011, all of which differ from NFL practice:
    • if a player is penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for actions that occurred during a play ending in a touchdown by that team, but before the goal line was crossed, the touchdown will be nullified. In the NFL, the same foul would result in a penalty on the conversion attempt or ensuing kickoff, at the option of the non-penalized team.
    • If a team is penalized in the final minute of a half and the penalty causes the clock to stop, the opposing team now has the right to have 10 seconds run off the clock in addition to the yardage penalty. The NFL has a similar rule in the final minute of the half, but it applies only to specified violations against the offensive team. The new NCAA rule applies to penalties on both sides of the ball.
    • Players lined up outside the tackle box—more specifically, those lined up more than 7 yards from the center—will now be allowed to block below the waist only if they are blocking straight ahead or toward the nearest sideline.
    • On placekicks, no offensive lineman can now be engaged by more than two defensive players. A violation will be a 5-yard penalty.

Coaching

See: Head coach#College football and :Category:College football coaches in the United States

National championships

  • Bowl Championship Series
    Bowl Championship Series
    The Bowl Championship Series is a selection system that creates five bowl match-ups involving ten of the top ranked teams in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision , including an opportunity for the top two to compete in the BCS National Championship Game.The BCS relies on a combination of...

     (not an official NCAA championship, includes only Division I FBS teams)
  • National football championship (this article pertains to systems of determining a national champion prior to and including the BCS)
  • NCAA Division I Football Championship (includes only Division I FCS teams)
  • NCAA Division I FCS Consensus Mid-Major Football National Championship
  • NCAA Division II National Football Championship
    NCAA Division II national football championship
    The NCAA Division II National Football Championship began in 1973. Prior to 1973, four regional bowl games were played in order to provide postseason action for what was then called the NCAA College Division and a poll determined the final champion....

  • NCAA Division III National Football Championship
    NCAA Division III national football championship
    The NCAA Division III National Football Championship began in 1973. Before 1973, most of the schools now in Division III competed in the NCAA's former "College Division"....

  • NAIA National Football Championship
    NAIA national football championship
    The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Football National Championship is decided by a post-season playoff system featuring the best NAIA college football teams in the United States. Under sponsorship of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, the championship game has...

  • NJCAA National Football Championship
    NJCAA National Football Championship
    National Junior College Athletic Association national football champions:*1956 Coffeyville Community College*1957 Texarkana College*1958 Boise Junior College*1959 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College...


Team maps

U.S. Map of Division 1-A Football Team Locations

Bowl games

Unlike most other sports—collegiate or professional—the Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A college football, does not employ a playoff system to determine a champion. Instead, it has a series of "bowl games." The annual national champion is determined by a vote of sports writers and other non-players. This system has been challenged often, beginning with an NCAA committee proposal in 1979 to have a four-team playoff following the bowl games. However, little headway has been made, given the entrenched vested economic interests in the various bowls.

A bowl game is a post-season college football game, typically in the Division I Bowl Subdivision. The first bowl game was the 1902 Rose Bowl
1902 Rose Bowl
Originally titled the "Tournament East-West football game," what is now known as the Rose Bowl Game was first played on January 1, 1902 in Pasadena, California, starting the tradition of New Year's Day bowl games.The inaugural game featured Fielding H...

, played between Michigan
1902 Michigan Wolverines football team
The 1902 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1902 college football season. In their second year under head coach Fielding H. Yost, Michigan finished the season undefeated with an 11–0 record, outscored their opponents by a combined score of 644 to...

 and Stanford
Stanford Cardinal football
The Stanford Cardinal football program represents Stanford University in college football at the NCAA Division I FBS level and is a member of the Pac-12 Conference's North Division. Stanford, the top-ranked academic institution with an FBS program, has a highly successful football tradition. The...

; 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
Rose Bowl (stadium)
The Rose Bowl is an outdoor athletic stadium in Pasadena, California, U.S., in Los Angeles County. The stadium is the site of the annual college football bowl game, the Rose Bowl, held on New Year's Day. In 1982, it became the home field of the UCLA Bruins college football team of the Pac-12...

 in Pasadena, California
Pasadena, California
Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game and Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena is the home to many scientific and cultural institutions, including the California Institute of Technology , the Jet...

, 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
Rose Bowl Game
The Rose Bowl is an annual American college football bowl game, usually played on January 1 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. When New Year's Day falls on a Sunday, the game is played on Monday, January 2...

. 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 must earn the right to be bowl eligible
Bowl eligible
Bowl eligibility in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Bowl Subdivision College Football is the standard through which teams become available for selection to participate in postseason bowl games. When a team achieves this state, it is described as "bowl-eligible"...

 by winning at least 6 games during the season (teams that play 13 games in a season, which is allowed for Hawaii
Hawaii Warriors football
The Hawaii Warriors football team represents the University of Hawaii at Mānoa in NCAA Division I FBS college football. The team, which is currently coached by Greg McMackin, is part of the Western Athletic Conference until 2012, when the team joins the Mountain West Conference.The Hawaii Warriors...

 and any of its home opponents, must win 7 games). They are 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 are played from mid-December to early January and most of the later bowl games are typically considered more prestigious.

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

Bowl Championship Series (BCS)

The NCAA created the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) in 1998 in order to create a definitive National Championship game for college football. The series would include the four most prominent bowl games (Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl), while the National Championship game would rotate each year between one of these venues. If, for example, the Rose Bowl was to be played as the National Championship one year, the other three games of the series would still follow their normal procedures for picking teams, such as considering conference champions and at-large bids. The ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Pac 12, and SEC Conference champions would all be guaranteed a spot in one of the BCS games, while the remaining spots would go to at-large teams. The BCS selection committee uses a complicated, and often controversial, computer system to rank all Division 1-FBS teams and the top two teams at the end of the season play for the National Championship. This computer system, which factors in newspaper polls, online polls, coaches’ polls, strength of schedule, and various other factors of a team’s season, has led to much dispute over whether the two best teams in the country are being selected to play in the National Championship game. The BCS system was slightly adjusted in 2006, as the NCAA added a 5th game to the series, called the National Championship Game. This would allow the four other BCS bowls to use their normal selection process to select the teams in their games while the top 2 teams in the BCS rankings would play in the new National Championship Game.

Awards

See also the "College football awards" navigation box (below)
  • Heisman Trophy
    Heisman Trophy
    The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award , is awarded annually to the player deemed the most outstanding player in collegiate football. It was created in 1935 as the Downtown Athletic Club trophy and renamed in 1936 following the death of the Club's athletic director, John Heisman The Heisman Memorial...

  • Associated Press Player of the Year

See also

  • College athletics
    College athletics
    College athletics refers primarily to sports and athletic competition organized and funded by institutions of tertiary education . In the United States, college athletics is a two-tiered system. The first tier includes the sports that are sanctioned by one of the collegiate sport governing bodies...

  • College Football Hall of Fame
    College Football Hall of Fame
    The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and museum devoted to college football. Located in South Bend, Indiana, it is connected to a convention center and situated in the city's renovated downtown district, two miles south of the University of Notre Dame campus. It is slated to move...

  • College football on radio
    College football on radio
    College football on radio includes the radio broadcasting of college football games, as well as pre- and post-game reports, analysis, and human-interest stories.College football games have been broadcast since 1921, beginning with the 1921 West Virginia vs...

  • College football on television
    College football on television
    College football on television includes the broadcasting of college football games, as well as pre- and post-game reports, analysis, and human-interest stories. Within the United States, the college version of American football annually garners high television ratings.College football games have...

  • Helmet stickers
    Helmet stickers
    Helmet stickers, also known as reward decals and pride stickers, are stickers that are affixed to a high school or college football player's helmet. They can denote either individual or team accomplishments.-History:...

  • List of defunct college football teams
  • List of defunct college football conferences
  • List of historically significant college football games
  • List of media markets and college football
  • List of sports attendance figures
  • Sports injury

External links


Statistics


Rules


Maps

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