Time Capsule: 1909

08/25/2009 § Leave a comment

In the early days of college football, the Ivy League schools dominated the landscape.  There were a few organized conferences:  the Western Conference (later the Big 10), the Missouri Valley (essentially the future Big 12 North), and the Rocky Mountain (which included Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming).  Everyone else (including the Ivy Leaguers) was independent.

In 1909, Yale went 10-0 and outscored their opponents 209-0.  Yeah, that’s right, to zero.  Six of the eleven Walter Camp All-Americans were Bulldogs.  Yale’s dominance was seen as a victory for the old guard against smaller institutions looking for rule changes intended to give them a better chance to compete (perhaps Orrin Hatch looked back a century for inspiration), a dispute addressed in the New York Times’ celebration of the Bulldogs’ season.

Now & Then: How did 2009’s top 10 AP pre-season teams fare 100 years ago?  Surprisingly, all ten had winning records…

1. Florida: 6-1-1, allowed only 3 points in their wins, but gave up 31 points to Stetson in a loss and a tie.

2. Texas: 4-3-1, highlighted by a 30-0 win over rival Oklahoma.

3. Oklahoma: 6-4-0, beat their first two opponents 101-5 (some things never change…)

4. Southern Cal: 3-1-2, gave up just 11 points in 6 games, their only loss was by 2, while their 3 wins were by an average of 41.

5. Alabama: 5-1-2, shut out first 6 opponents (including a 0-0 tie with Mississippi), averaged only 8.5 points per game.

6. Ohio State: 7-3-0, beat Wooster 74-0 but lost to rival Michigan 33-6.

7. Virginia Tech: 6-1-0, only loss @Princeton 8-6.

8. Mississippi: 4-3-2, shut out first two opponents then failed to score in four straight games.

9t. Oklahoma State: 5-3-0, beat Central Oklahoma State 27-0 in season finale, despite scoring only 22 points in first 7 games.

9t. Penn State: 5-0-2, scored 30+ points in 4 games, while giving up no more than 8 (in a tie with Carlisle Indians).

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