NCAA College Football: Three defining moments in the sport's history

New York, New York - America's favorite sport has always been almost as popular at the college level as it is when it comes to the big professional show.

The National Championship trophy is up for grabs again starting August 27.
The National Championship trophy is up for grabs again starting August 27.  © KEVIN C. COX / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

With stadiums that host more than can 100,000 die-hard fans, college football understandably gets more attention than almost any other sport.

With a rich history back to the late 1800s, there are plenty of legendary moments to pick from.

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As the season kick-off less approaches, here are the defining milestones that made college football the sport it is today.

From the unrecognizable rules of the first ever college football game played, to the evolution of team ranking, take a trip down memory lane with TAG24!

Rutgers v. Princeton: The first ever college football game

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights run onto the field before a game at SHI Stadium.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights run onto the field before a game at SHI Stadium.  © RICH SCHULTZ / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Besides not having to pump your own gas, the state of New Jersey boast another claim to fame: this is the birthplace of college football.

In 1869, Rutgers University and the College of New Jersey (which eventually became Princeton University) hosted the first ever college football game.

Played in New Brunswick, New Jersey, this was to all intents and purposes a soccer game, governed by the 1863 rules of the London Football Association. The two teams of 25 players each were not allowed to pick up or throw the ball.

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With this kind of numbers involved, that first college game would appear to the modern eye as one big extended fumble, with players trying to kick the ball across the opposing team's goal line.

It all ended in a 6-4 victory for Rutgers in front of about 100 spectators.

Waynesburg v. Fordham: The first televised college football game

Fordham football hosted Waynesburg University in the first ever college football program
Fordham football hosted Waynesburg University in the first ever college football program  © Rob Carr / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Each season, college football draws in millions of viewers around the country.

Last season, for example, the Ohio State Buckeyes lead the ratings with over 5 million streaming viewers.

But it was Fordham football who actually got the ball rolling when it comes to brining the sport to the small screen.

In the first ever college football game televised across the nation, Fordham hosted Waynesburg for a season-opener on September 30, 1939.

The game was broadcast by NBC on W2XBS, reaching an estimated number of 500-5,000 viewers – a large number for that time.

Fordham, then a powerhouse football program, beat Waynesburg in a 34-7 blowout.

From AP to CFP: The evolution of college football rankings

The Ohio State University won the first ever CFP National Championship game against the Oregon Ducks in 2014.
The Ohio State University won the first ever CFP National Championship game against the Oregon Ducks in 2014.  © Christian Petersen / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

In 1939, the Associated Press came up with what was then a revolutionary idea: the first ever college football rankings. The list included 20 teams and would determine who would become the national college football champion.

The distinction of being the first to top the AP ranking belongs to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who were experiencing a real golden age at the time.

Fast-forward all the way to 1998 and the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was created. The BCS used a system that paired top-10 teams together for marquee bowl games at the end of the season.

Tennessee defeated Florida State in the first ever BCS national championship game, winning the title under the new ranking system.

Today, college football rankings are determined under the College Football Playoff (CFP) system.

Created in 2014, committee members of the CFP ranks 25 teams each week before determining the top four teams after the final week of games of the college football regular season.

After the top four teams are ranked, a playoff tournament is played with first facing fourth and the second playing third.

The winners of each matchup then face off in the CFP final game to determine a national champion. The Ohio State Buckeyes won the first ever CFP national championship game against Oregon in 2014.

The college football season kick-off is set for Saturday, August 27, so here's hoping for more history to talk about!

Cover photo: KEVIN C. COX / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

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