1886 college football season

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The 1886 college football season had no clear-cut champion, with the Official NCAA Division I Football Records Book listing Princeton and Yale as having been selected national champions.[1]

Conference and program changes[edit]

School 1885 Conference 1886 Conference
California Golden Bears Program established Independent

Season notes[edit]

On Thanksgiving Day in Princeton, NJ, undefeated teams from Yale and Princeton met. The game started late due to the absence of a referee, and heavy rain caused the game to be called on account of darkness with Yale leading 4-0 in the second half. Under the rules of the time, the game was declared "no contest" by the substitute referee, and the final score was declared to be 0-0. After a special meeting of the Intercollegiate Football Association held to review the game, the Association issued a two-part resolution - that (1) Yale should have been acknowledged the winner, but that (2) under their existing rules, the Association did not have the authority to award the game to them.[2]

The first intercollegiate game in the state of Vermont happened on November 6, 1886, between Dartmouth and Vermont at Burlington, Vermont. Dartmouth won 91 to 0.[3] Vermont was the last state in New England yet to have a football contest.

Conference standings[edit]

1886 college football records
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Yale         9 0 1
Princeton         7 0 1
Michigan         2 0 0
Harvard         12 2 0
California         6 2 1
Massachusetts         2 1 0
Navy         3 3 0
Dartmouth         2 2 0
Rutgers         1 3 0
Northwestern         0 1 0
Vermont         0 1 0
Minnesota         0 2 0


  1. ^ Official 2009 NCAA Division I Football Records Book (PDF). Indianapolis, IN: The National Collegiate Athletic Association. August 2009. p. 70. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  2. ^ "No Football Champions.; But Princeton Challenges Yale To Another Game On Saturday". The New York Times. 1886-11-28. 
  3. ^ "College Football Games". New York Times. November 7, 1886. p. 3. Retrieved March 27, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read