DALLAS, Texas The holiday season is about to kick off, and it starts with Saturday’s National College Football Day, an event that honors the birth of college football while increasing awareness and raising money for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
The Fourth Annual National College Football Day takes on added significance as the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), the National Association of Division IA Football Officials (NADFO) and the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) have teamed up with the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic and The V Foundation for Cancer Research as official partners of National College Football Day.
“It’s uplifting to see the response we’ve received from the AFCA, NADFO and the FWAA,” said Bruce Gadd, Chairman of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. “Our goal is to continually grow National College Football Day while increasing awareness and raising money on behalf of The V Foundation for Cancer Research, and we took a major step towards reaching our goal this year with the addition of these great partners.”
When talking about the history of college football, the University of Alabama ranks among the game’s elite with its rich tradition.
Alabama has compiled a 786-310-43 (.810) all-time record in 113 years of intercollegiate football and ranks sixth on college football’s all-time win list. The Crimson Tide has won 12 national championships and 21 Southeastern Conference championships in its storied history. Alabama has also compiled a 341-156-20 (.680) record in 517 SEC games since 1933.
Alabama’s first game was played in Birmingham on Friday afternoon, Nov. 11, 1892, at the old Lakeview Park. Opposition was furnished by a picked team from Professor Taylor’s school and Birmingham high schools, with Alabama winning, 56-0. Early teams were a bit tougher than current squads; it seems, as the following afternoon Alabama played the Birmingham Athletic Club, losing 5-4 when Ross, of BAC, kicked a 65-yard field goal. Impossible though it may seem, this field goal was listed as a collegiate record at one time and Birmingham papers of the day featured its distance in write-ups of the game.
The gridiron sport rapidly caught the students’ fancy and the game became a favorite with University athletes. In 1896 the University’s board of trustees passed a rule forbidding athletic teams from traveling off the campus. The following season only one game was played and in 1898 football was abandoned at Alabama. Student opposition to the ruling was so strong that the trustees lifted the travel ban and football was resumed in 1899, to continue without interruption until World War I forced the cancellation of the 1918 games.
Alabama first gained national recognition on Nov. 4, 1922 when the Tide defeated the University of Pennsylvania 9-7 at historic Franklin Field in Philadelphia. The 85th anniversary of that historic win that put Crimson Tide football on the map is this Sunday.
Coach Wallace Wade led the Crimson Tide to its first undefeated and untied season and its first Rose Bowl invitation. On Jan. 1, 1926, an unheralded, underrated team from Tuscaloosa came from behind to upset Washington, 20-19, in the Rose Bowl and established a precedent of colorful play that Crimson Tide teams have continued to uphold into a new century. The 1925 team was the first southern team to play in the Rose Bowl as the Tide went 10-0 and won a national championship.
Alabama football returned to dominance under legendary coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant, who posted a 232-46-10 (.823) record in his 25 years on the Crimson Tide sidelines. He led Alabama to six national championships (1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978 and 1979) and 13 SEC titles (1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1981).
Bryant led Alabama to 24 bowl appearances, including eight trips to the Sugar Bowl. He was a three-time National Coach of the Year award winner and a 10-time SEC Coach of the Award winner. Overall, he posted 323-85-17 (.780) and retired in 1982 as the winnings coach in college football history.
National College Football Day, observed on the first Saturday of November, was created by the AT&T Cotton Bowl four years ago as a way to pay tribute to a significant moment in our nation’s history. On Nov. 6, 1869, Rutgers defeated Princeton, 6-4. More importantly, those college athletes left a lasting legacy that would evolve into the great spectacle of football. Last year, the holiday took on added significance when the Classic teamed up with The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
The V Foundation, based in Cary, N.C., was founded in 1993 by ESPN and legendary coach and commentator Jim Valvano. The Foundation has raised more than $70 million to fund essential cancer research nationwide. The Foundation proudly assures donors that 100% of all donations and net proceeds of events are directly used to fund research and related programs, and has earned a prestigious four-star rating from Charity Navigator (charity rating service) for five consecutive ranking periods.
To honor college football’s 138th birthday, the AT&T Cotton Bowl produced limited edition lapel pins. Over 3,000 pins have been distributed to coaches, athletic directors, university presidents, sports publicists, game officials and media throughout the United States in hopes that everyone will wear their pin on National College Football Day.
The AFCA has asked each Division IA head coach to donate a minimum of $138, one dollar for each year of college football. NADFO has made a donation and requested that each game official donate a portion of their stipend this Saturday in support of The V Foundation. The FWAA has made a donation to The V Foundation and will work to solicit other donations from within its membership.
“We’re honored to be the charitable partner of National College Football Day, which we know will help bring attention to the need for cancer research,” said Nick Valvano, CEO of The V Foundation. “We are grateful to the entire college football community, including the coaches, game officials and media for lending their credibility and visibility to the celebration of National College Football Day and embracing The V Foundation and our mission of funding cancer research.”
For more information on National College Football Day and to learn more about The V Foundation for Cancer Research, please visit www.NationalCollegeFootballDay.com.