There are many reasons why NCAA Football is perhaps the most entertaining college league in the world. The caliber of college football players showcased by NCAA Division I Football is unmatched, and the league is a springboard for most of the sport’s future superstars.
However, apart from the sheer entertainment value that the league provides, its storied history likewise offers a host of fascinating facts about NCAA Football.
Whether you’re a diehard NCAAF fan or you’re someone who’s just starting to take an interest in the vast world of college football, these facts are things that no other college league could compare to.
The Inception of the League
The first college football game in history was played way before it could be broadcasted or televised. In 1869, Rutgers University and the College of New Jersey, which is now known as Princeton University, faced off for the first college football game ever.
Back then, college football wasn’t the sport that we know of today, and the game was more similar to soccer or rugby, with 25 players on the field for both teams and with players prohibited from picking up and throwing the ball.
On November 23, 1876, the game evolved to become the sport that we recognize today. Representatives from Columbia, Princeton, Harvard, and Yale gathered together to codify the rules of college football. Walter Camp, the legendary father of American football, was part of this historic group.
The Winningest Teams
Today’s NCAAF is dominated by teams like Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and Notre Dame, but historically, the Ivy League was a powerhouse in college football. While some of today’s top teams have been historically good, who would’ve thought that Yale has the most number of National Championships with 18?
Yale is followed by Alabama and Princeton with 15 championships each, then by Notre Dame with 13, followed by Michigan and Southern California with 9. Harvard and Ohio State have been likewise historically competitive with both teams having 8 championships.
NCAAF Star Power
NCAA Football is a sport that is dominated by teams with the most star power. While team play is important in a sport like football, having players who are just simply more talented and thus more recognized than others can provide a huge advantage. These players of course make it into the highest level of competition in the sport in the NFL.
Virtually all of the NFL’s most recognizable names, such as Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Cam Newton have roots in the NCAA. The same goes for established legends such as Jerry Rice, Tom Brady, and Lawrence Taylor.
The caliber of players in the NCAAF could perhaps be best captured by how much of the NFL is composed of players who played college football in the NCAA.
In 2020, 1512 or 89 percent of the 1696 players on active rosters in the NFL come from schools in Division I NCAA Football.
Each Conference is Different
Division I Football, also known as the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) is currently composed of ten conferences. With the 130 schools in the FBS, it’s virtually impossible for all teams be matched up against every other team, which is why the league is divided into conferences.
These conferences are composed of teams that compete against each other to prove who the best team is within each conference.
With the number of conferences in NCAAF, some have been much more recognized for having more talent and for dominating the entire college football scene.
The more prominent conferences are the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, and Big 12, from which most of the college football playoff teams have come from in recent years.
There are numerous awards in NCAA Football. Players and coaches alike are awarded with these accolades in recognition of their outstanding performance throughout the course of a season.
There’s the Davey O’Brien Award for the best quarterback, The Home Depot Award for the coach of the year, the Bednarik Award for the defensive player of the year, among numerous other awards for the best players in each position.
The most recognizable and perhaps the most coveted award, however, is the Heisman Trophy. The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding player in college football. The list of the award’s recipients itself is already intimidating, and the recipient of the award is widely expected to continue dominating until he reaches the pros.
Some of the awardees of the Heisman Trophy are current NFL stars like Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Cam Newton, and Hall of Famers such as Barry Sanders, Tim Brown, and Marcus Allen.
The Selection Committee
One of the most unique aspects of college football is the selection committee. Unlike in most sports leagues where the teams set to play in the playoff to compete for the championship is determined by who has the most wins in the regular season, the participants of the college football playoff are determined by the selection of Committee.
The selection committee is composed of executives from different teams throughout the league and of former football players. The committee deliberates on who the best teams in the NCAAF are and which matchups will be the most compelling and most entertaining for fans to watch.