“Football season is upon us, and it’s always fun to guess which teams might make the top 25. This year, there are five programs with at least 600 victories since they began playing football (Harvard has played since 1873).

Another program — Yale — has 588 wins but will not be eligible for the NCAA record book as it is currently on probation.”

The first college football game was played in 1869

The first official college football season began in the fall of 1889 and by 1890 Yale, Wesleyan, Harvard and Columbia had joined Princeton in competition. The last team to be added was Pennsylvania in 1891.

The first game between Penn and Yale is considered the first match-up of top-level teams, but it was not until later that Penn began to be recognized as one of the nation’s top football schools.

How to play a Football?

To play football in the 19th century, there were no rules and each school created its own set of rules. Yale became known for their rugby-style “catch and run” offense which led to many injuries and few scoring opportunities.

In May 1876 at a Mass meeting of the Football Association held at Columbia College it was decided that a new and safer version of football should be played. This decision was inspired by the growing concern over the sport’s safety which had been highlighted in a brutal Princeton-Rutgers game that spring; several players were seriously injured or even killed during some games that season.

How many teams and players in football?

By 1873, Columbia had at least 27 teams with the first one being organized in 1861. The game’s popularity is seen in the number of participants.

By 1870, 100 Harvard students were playing on 19 teams and by the time the first league was formed there would be more than 400 players representing 32 colleges and athletic clubs and 22 high schools and preparatory academies.

How many players in football game?

The first intercollegiate game was played on November 6th, 1869 between Rutgers and Princeton (then known as the College of New Jersey), with Rutgers having an 11-4 advantage in the scoreless game.

Two years later, on November 13th, 1873, Yale played Harvard at Hamilton Park in New Haven, Connecticut. Despite having fewer players than Yale, Harvard won the game 3-0 due to their ability to move the ball with long, end runs and by getting 4 touchdowns.

Yale’s winning team of 1875

In 1880, the scoring was changed from one point for a touchdown to two points, and players were allowed to make an exchange after each touchdown. Prior to 1883, the rules stated that forward passes could not be thrown more than 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

In 1882, three incomplete pass attempts were required for a team to retain possession of the ball. The next year Yale’s coaches revised these rules by allowing an incomplete pass to count as a “down” and giving teams four downs instead of three, so that forward passes could be thrown in the air anywhere behind the line of scrimmage.

Rules of football game

Standardized rules for American football were first agreed upon in May of 1876, at a meeting of college coaches. The game continued to evolve over the years, with several notable developments:

The first professional football player was William Heffelfinger who played as a member on the Pittsburgh Athletic Club during 1892-1895.

College football winningest teams

  • Alabama Crimson Tide – 9 National Championships
  • Notre Dame Fighting Irish – 8 National Championships
  • Ohio State Buckeyes – 7 National Championships
  • Oklahoma Sooners – 7 National Championships
  • USC Trojans – 7 National Championships
  • Texas Longhorns – 5 National Championships

History made by college football’s winningest teams College football game was very dangerous game in 19th century as it required players to follow their own rules.  In May, 1876 at a Mass meeting of the Football Association held at Columbia College.

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