Countdown to College Football Kickoff Day 37: Stats Begin to Matter in 1937


The 2015 College football kickoff is only 37 days away, and our countdown continues by looking at the importance of the year 1937, when the NCAA began keeping official game statistics.

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How do we measure the greatness of any college football player or team? By the statistics of course. We point to single-game, single-season and career stats as a metric to show us who was truly the greatest. Stats even play a part in tie-breakers when everything else is even.

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But until 1937, the only way to disseminate who was the best was by barber shop debates and arguments over the fencepost, because the NCAA didn’t keep any official game stats until that time.

Game stats are now a crucial part of not only fan debate, but also for coaches to make game-plans and for postseason award consideration.

1937 was the second year of the Associated Press Poll, and as it was discovered in year one, keeping official stats from game to game was going to be key for the voters to make decisions on teams they were not able to watch in person.

The first stats kept by the NCAA were completely basic, such as passing and rushing yards, touchdowns and points scored, and number of offensive/defense downs. Nothing like the cornucopia of stats we have to look at today.

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