Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Silver Football

Boxing used to be simple: you beat the champ, you are the champ. It's not so simple anymore, and although most sports started also using that system, most have switched to a playoff system.

Except college football. College football at least in Division I-A, as most of you know, uses a strange combination of voter polls, computer rankings, and bowl games to determine who their champion is. As far as I know, they never used a 'you beat the champ, you are the champ' system.

But what if they had? In the early years of baseball, teams would pass around a silver baseball indicating the championship. Why not a silver football?

We have excellent documentation of every college football game ever played all the way back to the very first college football game ever played, Rutgers vs. Princeton in 1869. Rutgers won that game 6 to 4, and a week later lost to Princeton 8 to 0. Since then, the mythical 'silver football' has travelled all over the country and has been to some pretty strange places. In addition to the schools David mentioned yesterday, it's been to West Virginia Wesleyan, Rice, Northwestern, all three service academies. My old school Drexel, which doesn't even have a football team, had a couple of shots at it, but never won it. Same with Temple.

But lately, it's been no surprise where it's been. The usual suspects in college football have managed to hang on to it, and 5 of the last 7 BCS championship games have also been for the silver ball. I have no idea what that means, but it's interesting to a nerd like me.

Check out the list of Silver Football games here. Keep in mind, it's been contested over 1300 times over the past 138 years, so it may take a while to load...

Special thanks to James Howell's College Football Scores, which was the source for most of the scores I used for this project.

1 comment:

David D said...

I did not realise the famous Princeton-Yale game at Eastern Park in 1890 was a Silver Football match. No wonder the Eagle and the Times spent so many column inches building up that clash.