50 Forgotten College Football Facts To Show Off On Saturday
College football is finally back, which means Saturdays are full of hanging around a big screen watching the action with a few of your best buds. If you’re like us, you get a little tired of that one guy who always has a stat or a cool fact to bust out about a player or a team. Why not make this the year that you stock up on a few cool facts of your own that many have forgotten (and most never knew)? You don’t have to be a jerk about it, but used sparingly, these 50 factoids will establish you as a pillar of college football wisdom by the time bowl season arrives.
- The best defense in the nation by interceptions was North Carolina State.Of the team’s 27, David Amerson had 13, an ACC record.
- A Boise State loss to TCU in November snapped the nation’s longest home-field winning streak.The one-point loss was also coach Chris Petersen’s first at home.
- The 2011 season set a college football fan attendance record of just under 50 million.The record was the fifth time in six years it had been broken.
- The 2011 Baylor Bears set or tied 119 school records last year.Its finish at 12th on the USA Today poll and 13th on the AP poll were its best finishes since 1986.
- Houston’s Case Keenum wrapped up his college career with more than 20,000 yards of offense, the most ever in college football.He led the Cougars to victory over Penn State in the TicketCity Bowl, going for 532 passing yards.
- Montee Ball broke a FBS record with 39 touchdowns.The Wisconsin running back also had 13 games with multiple touchdowns, another record.
- Conference realignment was the name of the game.Nebraska, Colorado, Utah (not the state), Boise State, BYU, Texas State, and UT-San Antonio all played conference musical chairs last season.
- Louisiana-Lafayette landed its first bowl game berth in 2011.UL-L won in dramatic fashion with a game-winning 50-yard field goal.
- At least 10 majors were engulfed in NCAA violations in 2011.Among the highlights were Jim Tressel’s ousting from Ohio State over “Tattoo-gate” and Cam Newton’s pay-to-play investigation at Auburn.
- Ridiculous bowl game names abounded.The SD County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, and the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl were some of the most egregious from last season.
Back in the Day
- Eighteen players were killed playing college football in 1905.Columbia suspended its team because of the deaths and even President Roosevelt got involved.
- The first forward pass was in 1906.It took approximately 45 years of football before Bradbury Robinson of Saint Louis University decided to lob the ball to teammate Jack Schneider, who caught his second pass for a touchdown.
- The forward pass used to come with a 15-yard penalty for incompletions.Such tough punishment puts it on par with today’s penalties for pulling the facemask and making head-to-head tackles.
- Oklahoma was not even a state when the Red River Shootout game with the University of Texas first started.The rivalry launched in 1900; Oklahoma joined the union seven years later.
- Field goals haven’t always been “treys.”Originally the kicks were worth five points, then they were cut to four in 1904 and finally three in 1909.
- The Tennessee Vols chose their mascot Smokey the blue tick coon hound in a halftime contest in 1953.The dog howled when his name was announced, delighting the crowd and winning him the privilege of serving as the mascot.
- Penn State’s colors were once black and pink.A team taking the field in pink would have better claim to the Cowardly Lions than the Nittany Lions.
- “Bevo” was not named by Texas Aggies.Despite popular belief in Texas, the University of Texas mascot probably got its name from a early 1900s term for the plural of beef, “beeve.”
- Hitler was inspired by college football fans.Hitler confidant Ernst Hanfstaengl claimed the Nazi leader was enthralled by the “rah rah”-ing of fans in the ’20s and by the music of American brass bands.
- Football fields were once 120 yards long.Actually they still are 120 yards, only end-zones take up 10 yards each.
- Football chains have been used in football since 1906.It’s one of the most antiquated and inexact refereeing methods in all sports, but still first downs are calculated using two poles attached by a chain.
Bowl College Series
- There technically is no BCS national champion for the 2004-2005 season.Because of NCAA rules violations, USC’s 2005 Orange Bowl victory was vacated, leaving no national title winner in the record book.
- In 2005, Notre Dame struck a deal with the BCS to make $1 million even when they don’t make a bowl game.To that point, the school had already made $13 million by playing in just one bowl game.
- For most teams, a BCS bowl berth costs more than it pays.Incredibly, around 60% of teams that play in a bowl game have to buy more tickets from the BCS than they can resell.
- The BCS national championship trophy is worth $30,000.Since 1986, the American Football Coaches Association has produced the trophy, which is made of Waterford crystal.
- A computer error could have derailed the BCS system in 2010.Wes Colley’s computer failed to include the score of a Western Illinois-Appalachian State game, requiring spots 10 and 11 to be flipped, as well as 17 and 18. If it had affected spots 2 and 3, it would have impacted the national title game.
- All the BCS computers use different methods to calculate rankings.Jeff Sagrin’s computer only looks at who a team played, the score, and where it was played, meaning undefeated records are totally irrelevant.
- The 2012 national title game was the SEC’s eighth and ninth appearances in the championship in its 12th year of existence.The SEC had been 7-0 in title games to that point, until LSU lost to fellow SEC team Alabama.
- Vanderbilt is the only school to never be ranked in the Top 25 of the BCS.However, this could change as soon as this season as many see in Vanderbilt a football program on the rise.
- National champions used to be selected before bowl games.From the mid-’30s to the mid-’60s, teams were declared the best before their season was even over. Oklahoma once went on to lose their bowl game after being named champion.
- There was a split national championship in 2003.USC came out on top in the independent Associated Press poll, even though LSU had beaten Oklahoma in the BCS championship game.
- And just in case you forgot … we got playoffs!The 2013-2014 season is the last fans will have to bow to the computers. A four-team playoff will determine the national champions after that.
- Prairie View College lost 80 games in a row.No doubt the school would much rather we all remember that they are two-time national black college champions, in 1953 and 1964.
- Steve McNair holds the FCS record for yards in a season (5,799), most single-season games of over 400 yards (9), most games of over 400 yards in a career (15), and most single-season and career passing yards (4,863 and 14,496).He also holds the overall college football record for average yards per game for a season (527).
- Barry Sanders’ 1988 season is considered the best ever.He set NCAA records in rushing yards, total yards, and total touchdowns, average nearly 8 yards a carry.
- The team with the most national championships is … Princeton?Their last title may have been in 1950, but in the early 1900s, Princeton was the team to beat, taking home 28 championships.
- Vinny Testaverde was an award-winning first.He took home the Heisman, Maxwell, O’Brien, and Walter Camp awards, all in his senior year. He topped that off by being the first overall draft pick in the NFL.
- Notre Dame and Ohio State share the record for most Heisman trophies at seven apiece.USC would join them, but Reggie Bush was stripped of his award for NCAA violations, dropping them back to six.
- The University of Washington recorded the loudest game in history in 1992.The Nebraska Cornhuskers no doubt had trouble calling plays in a 130-decibel environment.
- The longest football game in college history went down in 2003 between Arkansas and its surprisingly evenly matched opponent, Kentucky.The game took four minutes short of five hours and went into seven overtimes, with the Razorbacks winning 71-63.
- The longest college football field goal is 67 yards.Three players (Russell Erxleben, Steve Little, and Joe Williams) did it in the ’70s, and Tom Odle hit one in 1988 in a Division II game.
- Georgia Tech scored the most ever points in a game.In beating Cumberland College 222-0 in 1916, the team also earned the record for widest margin of victory ever.
- North Texas is the only school to have back-to-back rushing titles. After Patrick Cobbs’ title in 2003 with 1,680 yards, freshman Jamario Thomas did him 121 better the next year.
- Tim Tebow keeps his promises.Remember this postgame pledge? The Gators won 22 straight games after that and Tebow ended his college career with a record of 23-1.
- Joe Paterno is no longer the winningest coach in college football history.His record was vacated of 111 wins as a result of the Jerry Sandusky affair, making Bobby Bowden first overall.
- A typical Nebraska game attracts 85,000 people, making the stadium more populous than Nebraska’s third-largest city.Grand Marshall, Nebraska has a population just under 50,000.
- The bulldog is the most commonly used mascot in Division I football.Most people would guess the Tigers. Most people would be wrong.
- The University of Michigan has won more college football games than anyone.Last season seemed to mark the Wolverines return to their powerhouse days. And with 896 wins since 1879, no team has a better history of winning.
- College footballs have stripes to help players see the ball better at night.NFL stadiums are generally much better lit than some college stadiums and therefore don’t need the stripes.
- “Coach” Ed O’Neill, “Superman” Dean Cain, and “Dr.” Matthew Fox all played college football.Cain was a star safety for Princeton, Fox was a wide receiver at Columbia, and O’Neill used his big frame on the D-line.