Long before watching the NFL became one of America’s favorite pastimes, college football reigned supreme. In fact, from the 1920s until WWII, college football was, next to baseball, the nation’s favorite sporting event. College football games were regularly broadcast live on the radio, and college bowl game tickets were as eagerly sought after as Super Bowl tickets are today. However, with the advent of television, the NFL (backed by plenty of money) began paying for their pro games to be broadcast — and the rest is history. Amazingly, many of today’s greatest college football teams are the same ones that were on top back in the 1920s and 1930s — and part of the joy of college football is the proud history that these teams carry on their broad shoulders.
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Amazingly, the history of college football goes back a lot farther than most people think. The first college football game was played on November 6, 1869, when Rutgers University and the College of New Jersey faced off in a historic match-up. The rules were more like soccer than American football — players weren’t allowed to carry or throw the football but were required to bat it with their heads, feet, hands, and sides. Rutgers won 6-4 (scoring was different, too), but in the rematch a week later, New Jersey won 8-0. These two games comprised the whole of the 1869 college season. Oh, and if you’ve never heard of the College of New Jersey, that’s because, in 1896, its name was changed — to Princeton.
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