Small College Football History

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Small College Football History


Historical


National Champions


Players


Current FYI


Teams


Coaches


Post-Season Records

Thanks to the NCAA and the NAIA for the following records:


Football Friends (other football sites)


Here are the other small college football pages we have on this site:


Poll StatResearch


From the bookshelf: Small College Football Histories



Starts Cover




Small college football history is a glorious, but largely forgotten and overlooked, goldmine. In fact, there was a time when small college football was "bigger" than big college football.

Here's another great article about historical Big Time Small College Football Teams.

With over 700 college football teams participating over the months of a respective season to play under a single division would be impossible and also unrealistic.

Here's a historical list of the various small college football divisions.

Highlighting, informing and bringing to life of the events of teams playing below the top level are just some of the purposes of this website.

Most college football fans realize that divisional teams accomplish something that their "bigger brothers" do not and for the unforeseeable future will have taken place�their annual No. 1 teams are decided on the field.

Before we get go further, let's open-up the history books and see where and how each lower--in terms of classification only--association, began.

Here's a story about The Beginning of Small College Football Statistics.

Princeton and Rutgers met in what is considered the first college football game; playing what was called "Association Foot Ball."

The two schools decided to play a three-game series; to debut the sport.

On that cold Nov. 6, 1869 afternoon, a crowd of 300 people stood or sat on fence post; watching Rutgers score the first goal and used it as a springboard in winning the first contest by a 6-goal to 4-goal tally. A week later, Princeton scored the first 8 goals of the game to even the series at a win for apiece.

Game three was canceled; as school officials claimed that students were "devoting too much time to the games and not their studies."

But what a lot of college football fans don't know is that two weeks prior to the above games taking place: "two Virginia colleges, Washington & Lee and Virginia Military scheduled a game of association football on October 23, 1869--but it was rained out."

(Source: Evolvements of Early American Foot Ball "Through the 1890/91 Season; used be permission.)

There were no divisions in early college football; but over the years teams would drop in classification.

Of the four teams mentioned above, Rutgers remain the only one to continue playing at the top level; with the others, and, in various seasons, would become NCAA 1-AA teams--now known as Division I Championship Sub Division.

After that first historic college football game, as teams would just play without any designation of division; it would be nearly 25 years before another history-making even would take place.

Black College football started in 1892. Livingstone-Biddle played each other. Biddle in now know as Johnson C. Smith.



This book has all small college championship ever played, plus all the all-star games.


While college football progressed over the years, there would be no separation of teams until 1952 for NAIA schools and 1956 for ones in the NCAA.

But, before that would happen, small school football statistics would be the initial indication a separation was imminent.

J. Randall Pratt, who worked for the National Collegiate Athletic Bureau, wrote on page 87 in the 1947 NCAA Football Guide: "Initial steps were taken during the fall of 1946 to expand the nation-wide coverage of collegiate football statistics to the small college and universities."

The NCAA had first begun compiling official numbers back in 1937 for a reported 125 schools classified as major college.

Pratt continued: But last fall the National Collegiate Athletic Association's service bureau under took for the first time the compilation of corresponding statistics-of-play detail for several hundred collegiate teams not so prominent in the national public eye.

He also stated that the new coverage would not be as comprehensive as teams on the Major College level. Nevertheless it offers the possibility for the future of comparative recording of the performances of many small-college stars whose deeds on the gridiron valor might otherwise remain in relative obscurity.

Since the 1948 season, small college statistics have been compiled and released.

According to the NCAA Football Records Book, before 1967 all records and statistics would include all small colleges reporting their results to the governing body; since that season, it would include only NCAA schools.

During the 1948-67 era of NCAA statistics; another association--the NAIA-- began a clearinghouse for its statistics in 1952; with scoring being added in 1977.

A year later, the NAIA took an "unprecedented action was taken in 1953 when historically black institutions (HBCU) were voted into membership.

Initially HBCU teams played amongst themselves; and in fact, began naming its annual national champion in 1920--as the Pittsburgh Courier Newspaper made the selection of Talladega and Howard sharing the honor.

Playoffs and Championships

After years of minor bowls being played; the NAIA again set a precedent--the first divisional playoff format, beginning in 1956.

Montana State and St. Joseph's Indiana met in the Aluminum Bowl, played in Little Rock, Ark.; sharing not only the title but the score as well--as the teams battled in the rain to a 0-0 deadlock.

Prior to the beginning of post season games, there were a number of minor bowl played. (A link elsewhere on this site will be provided that will show teams and seasons these games were played.)

The 1956-72 seasons, saw teams below the Major College level were considered College Division.

But it wasn't until 1958 when the initial College Division Champion was named.

Like major college schools, teams playing in College Division saw its national champions crowned using the same format, by polls--released by the AP and UPI.

On the smaller college level, the UPI had a two-year head start over the AP, beginning with the 1958 season.

Then over a nine-year period, beginning in 1964, saw teams representing this level play in Regional Bowl games.

A note of interest: teams ranked in the College Division polls represented both members of the NAIA and NCAA.

Teams from the NAIA played under a single division from 1956-69; and then would split into NAIA I and NAIA II, from 1970-96, with each division conducting its own post-season games and winners being declared the National Champion in each Division.

Then, in 1997, the association would once again go back to a single-division format.

In August of 1973, a special NCAA Convention was held; as teams College Division teams were reclassified into NCAA II and NCAA III.

Each new division came out with its own statistics, playoffs and national champions.

The NCAA wasn't finished splitting its teams.

Beginning with the 1978 season, teams from the NCAA's highest level were split into NCAA 1-A and NCAA 1-AA.

In 1997, Christian Liberal Arts Colleges began playing for the Victory Bowl; and unofficially playing for the NCCAA--National Christian College Athletic Association--title.

Then, in 2001 saw non-scholarship NCAA 1-AA school form a coalition under the heading of Mid-Major Teams. This level would be played until the end of the 2007 season.

The seven seasons of Mid-Major play would end with a team being named national champion; with ones from the 2006 and 2007 seasons playing in what was called Gridiron Classic.

As these teams were winding down their competition, another one was changing its name.

Known as NCAA 1-AA since its inception in 1978; beginning with the 2007 season, such teams would be known as NCAA I Championship Sub Division Teams (with 1A schools switching to Bowl Sub Division Teams).

To further the information found on these pages, current content in the form of news, weekly polls, statistical highlights and information will be presented as it becomes available.

Also, official team and conference websites will be provide for easy accessible for our visitors.

If you have a website or news that covers your alma mater or one of its conferences and would like to trade links, email me and let me know what you have.

Also, if you enjoy reading college football history regardless of level, you may find a FREE subscription to The College Football Historian would be of interest to you.

Each month's issue has interesting stories and statistical analysis on the interesting and informative past of this great game we call college football.

Here's a link to the Intercollegiate Football Researchers Association (IFRA) and the College Football Historian.

If you are looking for information about Div. I / FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) college football check out NCAA College Football History.

You can also find lots of information about all levels of college football, including divisional college football at AFM College Directory.




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