Year by Year 1870

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In 1870 Columbia joined Princeton and Rutgers in intercollegiate football and while this expansion of the game shows that the sport itself was growing, American football didn't yet have enough teams to create a modern day sports league. Fielding the third intercollegiate football team is about the most noteworthy thing Columbia has ever done on the gridiron as their record in the 1870's stood at 11-18-4 and they really haven't done a lot to draw positive attention to themselves since then.

Looking at 1870 -with so few teams playing the game and with those teams clustered in New Jersey and New York it's clear football was not yet a national game, and I realize it's sort of a silly at this point to call a team a "national champion" - but that's exactly what I'm going to do.

1870 featured just two games with Columbia playing against Rutgers on November 5th and Princeton playing Rutgers one week later on the 11th. These two games produced our first undefeated team with Columbia losing to Rutgers (3-6) and then Rutgers losing to Princeton (2-6).Considering those results I'll offer that Princeton was the 1870 college football champion. Princeton goes in my book as our first undefeated champion. Does the 1-0 record qualify Princeton as an undefeated champion?.. in 1870, yes. Was Princeton a tested champion this year?.. no.

1871 remains as the only year since the beginning of intercollegiate play began that there were no games. No games, no champion, but in 1871 the game continued its natural expansion and when we return to look at the 1872 season two more teams will join the fray.



Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Subscribe in Bloglines

Subscribe in a reader