1907 college football season

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The 1907 college football season saw the increased use of the forward pass, which had been legalized the year before. Football remained a dangerous game, despite the "debrutalization" reforms, and an unprecedented eleven players were killed (9 high school and 2 college), while 98 others were seriously injured. [1] However, there were no serious injuries reported among the major colleges. [1] The Yale Bulldogs, unbeaten with a record of 10-0-1, had the best record. The Helms Athletic Foundation, founded in 1936, declared retroactively that Yale had been the best college football team of 1907. [2] Yale and Penn both claim 1907 as a national championship season. Although Yale was named as champion by 6 different entities, Penn was not named champion by any. Penn's claim to the championship is only by the university itself.



The rules for American football in 1907 were significantly different than the ones of a century later, as many of the present rules (100 yard field, four downs to gain ten yards, 6-point touchdown, and 3-point field goal) were adopted in 1912. [3] The rules in 1907 were:

More passes were thrown than in 1906, when the new play was still experimental. However, because of problems with the rules at that time, which penalized the offense for an incomplete pass, there were predictions that the forward pass would be scrapped. [4] Attempting a pass in 1907 was still a risky business, because an incomplete attempt would result in stiff penalties—15 yards back from the spot from which the pass was thrown on first or second down. If the defense committed a foul, the 15 yard penalty didn't apply to the offense, but the defending team was not penalized either. [4] In addition, a pass could not be caught in the end zone, nor more than 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. [3]

Conference and program changes

School1906 Conference1907 Conference
Iowa Hawkeyes Western MVIAA & Western
Kansas Jayhawks Independent MVIAA
Michigan Wolverines Big Nine (Western)Independent
Missouri Tigers Independent MVIAA
Nebraska Cornhuskers Independent MVIAA
Washington (MO) Bears Independent MVIAA


The Princeton Tigers and Yale Bulldogs had both been unbeaten in 1906, and played to a 0-0 tie at season's end, giving both teams a 9-0-1 record. Among other schools that would later be described as the Ivy League, the Harvard Crimson and Pennsylvania (Penn) Quakers were expected to do well. Elsewhere in the East, the United States Naval Academy Midshipmen(referred to in the press as Annapolis) and the Carlisle Indian School (coached by Glenn Scobey "Pop" Warner and with Jim Thorpe as its star back) were expected to do well. In the South, the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Sewanee Tigers of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) were considered contenders, along with Georgia Tech (coached by John Heisman). The University of Chicago Maroons, members of the Western Conference (later the Big Ten), and coached by Amos Alonzo Stagg), and the (then) independent Michigan Wolverines, coached by Fielding "Hurry Up" Yost, were considered to be among the stronger teams in the Midwest. [5]

Carlisle opened its season early with a 40-0 win over Lebanon Valley on September 21, and Brown beat New Hampshire, 16-0. Colgate, which would later be a contender, lost to Niagara, 11-6, and Bucknell beat Mansfield, 15-2.

On September 28, Pennsylvania beat North Carolina in a driving rain at Philadelphia, 27-0. [6] Carlisle defeated Villanova 10-0. Princeton crushed Stevens Tech 47-0, while Harvard was held to a touchdown (then worth five points) in a 5-0 win over Bowdoin. Brown beat Massachusetts 5-0, and Fordham and Rutgers played to a 5-5 tie.


Yale opened its season on Wednesday afternoon, October 2, with a 25-0 win over Wesleyan. The same day, Harvard beat Maine, 30-0, Navy tuned up with a 26-0 win over St. John's College of Maryland, Pennsylvania beat Villanova 16-0 and Carlisle rolled over Susquehanna, 91-0. Three days later, on Saturday October 5, the schools played again, with Yale beating Syracuse 11-0, Harvard over Bates 33-4, Navy handing a 15-0 loss on Dickinson, Pennsylvania beating Bucknell 29-2, and Carlisle beating Penn State 18-5 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. At West Point, the United States Military Academy (Army) opened its season with a 23-0 win over Franklin & Marshall. Brown won over Norwich 24-0.

After an 18-0 win over Springfield on Wednesday, October 9, Yale won its fourth game in 12 days on October 12, crushing Holy Cross 52-0 to stay unbeaten and unscored upon. Playing the same Wednesday and Saturday schedule, Pennsylvania had beaten Franklin & Marshall 57-0 and Swarthmore 16-8, to go 5-0-0. With a 40-0 win over Maine, Brown University remained unscored upon as well. In Buffalo, New York, Carlisle beat Syracuse 14-6 to stay unbeaten. Cornell beat Colgate 18-0 and Princeton beat Villanova, 45-5. Vanderbilt and Navy played to a 6-6 tie.

October 19, Pennsylvania increased its record to 7-0-0 with an 11-0 win over Brown. In the four weeks since its September 28 opener, Penn had played four Saturdays and three Wednesdays. Carlisle beat Bucknell 15-0 and Harvard beat Navy at Annapolis, 6-0, as both stayed unbeaten. Yale remained unscored upon, but not untied, as it played Army to a 0-0 tie at West Point to "fall" to 4-0-1. Elsewhere, Michigan stayed unscored upon with a 22-0 win in Indianapolis over Wabash. In the South, Sewanee beat Auburn 12-6 in Birmingham, then beat Alabama two days later, 54-4, in Tuscaloosa.

October 26 in Philadelphia, the Carlisle Indians (6-0-0) and the Pennsylvania Quakers (7-0-0) met in a battle of the unbeatens. Carlisle won 26-6 before a crowd of 20,000. [7] Yale registered its sixth shutout with a 45-0 win over Villanova. Harvard stayed unbeaten, but was surprised by a touchdown from the visitors in its 9-5 win over Springfield. Sewanee played Mississippi in Memphis, winning 65-0, to stay unbeaten in the south. Michigan remained unscored upon in the midwest with a 22-0 win at home over Ohio State. Princeton suffered its first defeat, a 6-5 loss at Cornell.


In a highly anticipated game, the Carlisle Indians (7-0-0) met the Princeton Tigers (5-1-0) at the Polo Grounds in New York City on November 2 before a crowd of thousands. [8] In an upset, Princeton scored three touchdowns and a point after in a pouring rain, to win 16-0. Yale recorded another shutout, beating Washington & Jefferson 11-0 to increase its record to 6-0-1, while Harvard got past Brown, 6-5, to stay unbeaten at 7-0-0. Army and Michigan stayed unscored upon; Army beat Colgate 6-0, to improve its record to 4-0-1, while the Wolverines travelled south to Nashville to face Vanderbilt, winning 8-0. Sewanee defeated the University of Virginia in Norfolk, 12-0, and Pennsylvania hosted Lafayette in Philadelphia, winning 15-0 and extending its record to 8-1-0.

On November 9, the Harvard Crimson (7-0-0) hosted the Carlisle Indians (7-1-0) before a record crowd of 20,000. After holding a 12-9 lead at halftime, Carlisle broke the game open when its quarterback, Frank Mount Pleasant, ran 85 yards for a touchdown in the second half as Carlisle won, 23-15. [9] Navy suffered its second loss, an 18-0 drubbing by Swarthmore, and Army had its first defeat, falling 14-10 to Cornell. Yale recorded its 8th straight shutout, a 22-0 win over Brown, as Ted Jones returned a punt 90 yards for the first of three touchdowns in the second half. [10] Sewanee beat Georgia Tech in Atlanta, 18-0, then defeated Georgia in Athens two days later, 16-0, to extend its record to 8-0-0. Pennsylvania hosted Penn State and won 28-0 to reach the 9-1-0 mark, while Princeton beat Amherst, 14-0.

November 16 Yale (7-0-1) hosted Princeton (7-1-0) as a crowd of 35,000 watched in New Haven. The Bulldogs appeared to be headed toward their first defeat. Yale yielded its first points of the season after the Tigers blocked a punt and Princeton's Booth returned the ball for a touchdown. A field goal—at that time, worth four points—put Princeton up 10-0 at the half. In the second half, Ted Coy scored two touchdowns for Yale for a 12-10 win. [11] In the day's other big game, Pennsylvania (9-1-0) traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to face the unbeaten (5-0-0), and unscored upon, Michigan Wolverines, before a crowd of 18,000 at Ferry Field. Both teams had touchdowns called back by penalties, but Penn scored on an onside kick to hand Michigan its first ever home defeat, 6-0. [12]

Harvard lost its second straight game, falling to Dartmouth, 22-0. In another "intersectional" game, Carlisle improved its record to 9-1-0 with a 12-10 win at Minnesota. Navy trailed Penn State at home, 4-0, until a State player fumbled a punt and the Midshipmen recovered for a touchdown to win 6-4. At West Point, Army defeated visiting Tufts, 21-0. In the South, Texas A&M — which had tied Texas, and beaten LSU and Oklahoma — improved its record to 6-0-1 with an 18-6 win over Tulane in New Orleans. One year after University Trustees banned football, The University of South Carolina team ended with an undefeated record of 3-0-0. [13]

November 23 marked the close of the season, as unbeaten Yale (8-0-1) traveled to Cambridge to play its annual game against Harvard. Although stung by two consecutive losses, Harvard (7-2-0) had been unbeaten and untied three weeks earlier. Harvard missed two field goal attempts in the first half after failing to get by Yale's goal line defense, while Yale's Ted Coy scored late in the first half to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead. Coy scored again in the second half, and Yale won 12-0 and completed its season unbeaten at 9-0-1. [14] Sewanee, which took a record of 8-0-0 into its final game (against 4-1-1 Vanderbilt), lost in Nashville, 17-12. The other unbeaten team, Texas A & M (6-0-1), was scheduled to play a Thanksgiving Day game at the University of Texas (5-1-1). Carlisle closed its season at the University of Chicago, which had won the title of the Western Conference (later the Big Ten, with a 4-0-0 record. Playing before a crowd of 27,000 the Indians beat the Maroons 18-4. [15]

The catch by Vanderbilt center Stein Stone, on a double pass play then thrown near the end zone by Bob Blake to set up the Honus Craig touchdown that beat Sewanee at the very end, for the SIAA championship was cited by Grantland Rice as the greatest thrill he ever witnessed in his years of watching sports. [16] McGugin in Spalding's Football Guide's summation of the season in the SIAA wrote "The standing. First, Vanderbilt; second, Sewanee, a might good second;" and that Aubrey Lanier "came near winning the Vanderbilt game by his brilliant dashes after receiving punts." [17]

Thanksgiving Day, November 28, saw St. Louis University stun the University of Nebraska 34-0 before 20,000 at Sportsman's Park. [18]

Conference standings

Major conference standings

1907 Colorado Football Association standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Colorado Mines $400  510
Colorado College 310  520
Colorado 220  530
Denver 130  260
Colorado Agricultural 040  040
  • $ Conference champion
1907 Missouri Valley football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Iowa +100  320
Nebraska +100  820
Kansas 110  530
Missouri 120  720
Washington University 010  150
  • + Conference co-champions
1907 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Vanderbilt $300  511
Sewanee 610  810
LSU 310  730
Alabama 312  512
Tennessee 320  721
Auburn 321  621
Georgia 331  431
Mississippi A&M 330  630
Georgia Tech 240  440
Clemson 130  440
Mercer 030  330
Howard (AL) 050  250
Ole Miss 050  060
  • $ Conference champion
1907 Western Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Chicago $400  410
Wisconsin 311  311
Illinois 320  320
Iowa 110  320
Minnesota 011  221
Indiana 030  231
Purdue 030  050
  • $ Conference champion


1907 Eastern college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Yale     901
Dartmouth     801
Penn     1110
Carlisle     1010
Temple     402
Fordham     611
Cornell     820
Western U. of Penn.     820
Princeton     720
Washington & Jefferson     720
Army     621
NYU     520
Harvard     730
Brown     730
Penn State     640
Syracuse     531
Geneva     452
Amherst     341
Tufts     341
Frankin & Marshall     460
Rutgers     351
Villanova     351
New Hampshire     152
Wesleyan     171
Carnegie Tech     180
1907 Midwestern college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Marquette     600
Notre Dame     601
Michigan     510
Mount Union     920
Fairmount     820
Iowa State     620
Lake Forest     411
Wabash     520
Saint Louis     730
Michigan Agricultural     421
Western State     421
Kansas State     530
Michigan State Normal     320
Wittenberg     540
Central Michigan     330
Drake     341
Ohio     341
Heidelberg     241
Butler     132
Haskell     261
Detroit College     130
Doane     150
Baldwin–Wallace     060
1907 Southern college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
North Carolina A&M     601
South Carolina     300
Stetson     200
Mississippi College     100
Kentucky State     911
Texas     611
Davidson     411
Florida     411
Navy     921
VPI     720
William & Mary     630
Virginia     631
TCU     422
West Virginia     640
VMI     530
Tulane     320
Oklahoma     440
North Carolina     441
Baylor     431
Arkansas     341
Maryland     350
Georgetown     241
Oklahoma A&M     130
The Citadel     151
Chattanooga     051
Delaware     051
Catholic University     010
Spring Hill     010
1907 Western college football independents records
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Oregon Agricultural     600
New Mexico A&M     300
New Mexico     100
Washington State     710
Oregon     510
USC     510
Utah Agricultural     510
Montana     411
Utah     420
Wyoming     210
Washington     442

Minor conferences

Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Washburn 5–1
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Olivet 5–1
Ohio Athletic Conference Western Reserve 5–1

Minor conference standings

1907 Ohio Athletic Conference football standings
Conf  Overall
TeamW L T  W L T
Western Reserve $510  810
Ohio State 511  721
Oberlin 310  620
Case 520  630
Kenyon 340  440
Ohio Wesleyan 230  730
Wooster 141  241
Denison 150  350
Heidelberg 040  240
  • $ Conference champion

Awards and honors


The consensus All-America team included:

PositionNameHeightWeight (lbs.)ClassHometownTeam
QB Tad Jones Yale
HB John Wendell Harvard
HB Edwin Harlan Sr. Bel Air, Maryland Princeton
FB Ted Coy 6'0"195So. Andover, Massachusetts Yale
FB Jim McCormick Sr. Boston, Massachusetts Princeton
FB Peter Hauser Sr. Fort Reno, Oklahoma Carlisle
E Bill Dague Sr. Benton, Indiana Navy
E Albert Exendine Sr. Carlisle
T Hamilton Fish 6'4"200Jr. Southboro, Massachusetts Harvard
T Dexter Draper Sr. Penn
G Gus Ziegler Sr. Penn
C Germany Schulz 6'2"215Sr. Fort Wayne, Indiana Michigan
C Patrick Grant Boston, Massachusetts Harvard
G William Erwin Army
T Lucius Horatio Biglow Sr. Morristown, New Jersey Yale
E Clarence Alcott Sr. Yale
E Caspar Wister Princeton

Related Research Articles

1906 college football season

The 1906 college football season was the first in which the forward pass was permitted. Although there was no clear cut national championship, there were two teams that had won all nine of their games as the 1906 season drew to a close, the Princeton Tigers and the Yale Bulldogs, and on November 17, 1906, they played to a 0–0 tie. St. Louis University finished at 11–0–0. The Helms Athletic Foundation, founded in 1936, declared retroactively that Princeton had been the best college football team of 1906. Other selectors recognized Yale as the national champions for 1906.

The 1926 college football season was the first in which an attempt was made to recognize a national champion after the season.

The 1930 college football season saw Notre Dame repeat as national champion under the Dickinson System, and a post-season Rose Bowl matchup between two unbeaten (9-0) teams, Washington State and Alabama, ranked #2 and #3, respectively. Alabama won the Pasadena contest, 24-0.

The 1931 college football season saw the USC Trojans win the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy as national champion under the Dickinson System. Rockne, who had coached Notre Dame to a championship in 1930, had been killed in a plane crash on March 31, 1931. For the first time, the champion under the Dickinson system also played in a postseason game. The Rose Bowl, promoted as an unofficial championship matchup between the best teams of East and West, matched USC and Tulane, #1 and #2 in the Dickinson ratings. USC won, 21-12. Also for 1931, historian Parke Davis, through research, selected Pittsburgh and Purdue as National Champions and these selections, along with USC, are all recognized by the official NCAA records book. Both USC and Pitt claim national championships for 1931, and both are recognized by College Football Data Warehouse.

The 1933 college football season saw the Michigan Wolverines repeat as winners of the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy as national champion under the Dickinson System.

1911 college football season

The 1911 college football season was the last one before major reforms were made to the American game in 1912. In 1911, touchdowns were worth five points, the field was 110 yards in length, and a team had three downs within which to advance the ball ten yards. The United States Naval Academy (Navy) finished with a record of 6 wins and 3 ties (6-0-3). Two of the ties were 0-0 games with the other major unbeaten teams, Penn State (8-0-1) and Princeton (8-0-2). Other teams that finished the season unbeaten were Minnesota (6-0-1) and Florida (5-0-1). The Helms Athletic Foundation, founded in 1936, declared retroactively that Princeton had been the best team of 1911

1912 college football season

The 1912 college football season was the first of the modern era, as the NCAA implemented changes to increase scoring:

1925 college football season

The 1925 college football season ended with no clear national champion. At the close of the season, noted sports writer Billy Evans described the championship contest as "a dead heat" among Dartmouth, Tulane, Michigan, Washington, and Alabama.

1924 college football season

The 1924 college football season was the year of the Four Horsemen as the Notre Dame team, coached by Knute Rockne, won all of its games, including the Rose Bowl, to be acclaimed as the best team in the nation. Notre Dame and Stanford were both unbeaten at season's end, with the Fighting Irish winning the Rose Bowl contest 27-10. The Penn Quakers were retroactively awarded a national championship by Parke H. Davis.

1923 college football season

The 1923 college football season saw several teams finish their seasons unbeaten and untied. As such, numerous schools claim a national championship for the 1923 season. Illinois and Michigan, both members of what is now the Big Ten Conference, finished with records of 8–0 and were selected as national champion by multiple selectors. Illinois featured break-out star Red Grange. Ivy League teams Yale and Cornell also had undefeated seasons.

1922 college football season

The 1922 college football season had a number of unbeaten and untied teams, and no clear-cut champion, with the Official NCAA Division I Football Records Book listing California, Cornell, Iowa, Princeton, and Vanderbilt as national champions. California, Cornell, and Princeton were all picked by multiple selectors.

The 1951 college football season finished with seven unbeaten major college teams, of which five were unbeaten and untied. Ultimately, the Tennessee Volunteers were voted the best team by the Associated Press, followed by the Michigan State Spartans, with the Vols having a plurality of first place votes. Tennessee lost in the Sugar Bowl to the equally undefeated and untied #3 Maryland Terrapins, but the postseason games were not taken into account by the major polls. Tennessee, Maryland, Michigan State, and Illinois all claim national championships for 1951.

1908 college football season

The 1908 college football season ran from Saturday, September 19, to November 28. The Penn Quakers and the Harvard Crimson both finished the season unbeaten, though each had been tied once during the season. The LSU Tigers went unbeaten and untied against a weaker opposition. All three teams were named national champions retroactively by various organizations. Only Pennsylvania officially claims a national championship for the 1908 season.

The 1937 college football season ended with the Panthers of the University of Pittsburgh being named the nation’s #1 team by 30 of the 33 voters in the Associated Press writers' poll. The AP poll was in its second year, and seven votes were taken during the final weeks of the 1937 season, starting with October 18. Each writer listed his choice for the top ten teams, and points were tallied based on 10 for first place, 9 for second, etc., and the AP then ranked the twenty teams with the highest number of points. With 33 writers polled, Pitt received 30 first place votes and 3 second-place, for a total of 327 points.

The 1943 college football season concluded with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame crowned as the nation’s #1 team by a majority of the voters in the AP Poll, followed by the Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks as the runner-up. For the third time in the history of the AP Poll, a team that had lost a game was named mythical national champion;. Notre Dame lost its final game of the season, a Chicago contest against the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Along the way, however, the Fighting Irish had played one of the toughest college schedules ever, beating two #2 ranked teams and two #3 ranked teams. Purdue University would seemingly have a claim on the 1943 Championship as well as the only undefeated team playing a full schedule, but the Purdue athletic department has never pursued the claim.

Penn Quakers football

The Penn Quakers football program is the college football team at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Penn Quakers have competed in the Ivy League since its inaugural season of 1956, and are currently a Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Penn has played in 1,364 football games, the most of any school in any division. Penn plays its home games at historic Franklin Field, the oldest football stadium in the US. All Penn games are broadcast on WNTP or WFIL radio.

1909 college football season

The 1909 college football season was the first for the 3-point field goal, which had previously been worth 4 points. The season ran from Saturday, September 25, until Thanksgiving Day, November 25, although a few games were played on the week before.

1906 Michigan Wolverines football team American college football season

The 1906 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1906 college football season. The team's head coach was Fielding H. Yost in his sixth year at Michigan. The team compiled a record of 4–1 and outscored opponents, 72 to 30.

1906 Vanderbilt Commodores football team American college football season

The 1906 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 1906 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association football season. The team's head coach was Dan McGugin, who served his third season in that capacity. Members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA), the Commodores played seven home games in Nashville, Tennessee at Curry Field, and finished the season with a record of 8–1 overall and 5–0 in SIAA.

1909 Sewanee Tigers football team American college football season

The 1909 Sewanee Tigers football team represented Sewanee: The University of the South during the 1909 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association football season. The team was coached by Harris G. Cope in his 1st year as head coach, compiling a record of 6–1 and outscoring opponents 160 to 42 to win the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association title. Sewanee beat the previous season's champions LSU and Auburn, and upset rival Vanderbilt, handing the school its first loss to a Southern team in six years.


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