college football factDear Kid,

We are hip-pad deep in Football Season, and since you are enrolled in classes like Chemistry and Really Advanced and Complicated Math, I realize you probably don’t have time to study the Sport of the Gridiron. Fortunately, I am here to help. Here are 13 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About College Football.

  1. During the first college football game (1869 Princeton v Rutgers) the teams each had 25 players on the field. The rules were different Back Then. However,  counting to 25 was a real challenge and the rules were changed over time to get a more manageable number of players on the field.
  1. Field goals in college football were originally worth five points. The value of kicking the ball through the uprights was decreased to four points in 1904 and three points in 1909. This is important because it is the only known instance of deflation in college football. (Except for the footballs themselves. They deflate all the time.)
  1. College bowl games once included the Raisin Bowl, Salad Bowl, and Oil Bowl. (I did not make that up.) The first Puppy Bowl was broadcast in 2005. The Puppies in the Puppy Bowl are all rescue puppies and there is information on the show about how to adopt them. Cuteness and responsibility in one. Better than the Raisin Bran Bowl.
  1. The orange and white team colors of the Tennessee Volunteers were chosen in 1891 to represent the daisies which grow on the campus. Daisies. Guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of opposing teams.
  1. The forward pass first appeared in college football in 1906. It was introduced in an attempt to increase scoring and reduce injuries. One hates to contemplate the state of the game if injuries hadn’t been reduced…
  1. During Nebraska Cornhuskers’ home games, their stadium becomes the state’s third largest city. Please observe a small moment of silence for all the comments I am not making about this little tidbit.
  1. The Wisconsin Badgers once had a real-life badger as their mascot. During games, it was led around the sidelines on a leash. The animal proved too mean, and was replaced with a costumed mascot in 1940. It probably would have been terrified by the daisies.
  1. The first college football game was broadcast on television in 1939. The teams involved were Fordham University and Waynesburg College. Pure. Marketing. Genius.
  1. Yale has won more National Championship (18) than any other college football team. Their last title came in 1927 (that is what is called “Clarifying Information”).
  1. College football fields were originally 120 yards long and 100 yards wide. Then they were made smaller. Presumably to make room for more daisies.
  1. The white stripes on a college football are designed to help the receiver see the ball better. Clearly, the Steelers need bigger stripes. Who Dey! (Did I just say that?)
  1. Although their team name is “The Cardinals,” Stanford’s unofficial mascot is the Stanford Tree. The mascot’s costume is created anew each year by the incumbent Tree. The mascot’s costume is created anew each year by the incumbent Tree. I have not been able to determine if the tree adds rings each year, but since it’s Stanford, I’m guessing the rings are accurately created based on rainfall and the amount of fertilizer in the area. Which I have to assume is substantial.
  1. The rallying cry for the Maryland terrapins is “Fear the turtle.” But not as much as the daisies.

Give my best to Rufus and any other college mascots you see wandering around.

Love, Mom