1889 College Football Summary

At the conclusion of this year, one of college football's annual traditions began and has continued on since the selection of an All-American Team; made by Walter Camp and to be named to his team what players would strive for.

Players on this mythical all-star eleven were from schools that played on the East Coast and would be the sole representatives until 1898; when Chicago's Clarence Herschberger, was duly selected.

Also in this season, two old rivals, Harvard and Princeton would attack attention, but not directly on the gridiron.

The former charged its rival with what would later be considered professionalism mainly on the limit of playing seasons a player would be allowed to play.

Again, Yale was the team every team would aim for, but as in the past, would fail to grasp. The perennial powerhouse played a 16-game schedule; blanking 12 along the way; with one, Princeton, succeed where 15 others had not as it claimed a victory in the season finale, 10-0.

Princeton was perfect in its 10 games; with only Yale at 10 points and a pair of games with Lehigh (winning by 16 and 12 points) the closet to the Tigers.

The annual match-up between Princeton and Harvard wasn't even close this season, with the latter winning 41-15; as Knowlton "Snake" Ames' 225 yards in punt returns keyed the victory.

Ames closed out his collegiate career and the end of this season, scoring 26 goals from the field, 176 goals after touchdowns and 62 trips into the end zone a total of 730 points.

He wasn't the only Tigers who found the end zone to his liking; teammate and tackle, Hector Cowan scored 79 times on tackle-back plays.

In its fifth game of the season, Princeton pounded Wesleyan 96-0, scoring 71 in the first half.

Pennsylvania began a 58-game home winning streak this season; as it would carry over until the 1896 campaign.

1889 Leaders

  • Offensive Scoring Leader (Most Scored)
      Yale (16-1-0), 665 points
  • Defensive Scoring Leader (Least Allowed)
      California (4-0-0), 2 points
  • National Champions (Retroactive)
      Princeton (10-0-0)
  • Intercollegiate Football Association Standings
Team IFA Record Full Season
Princeton 4-0-0 10-0-0
Yale 3-1-0 16-1-0
Harvard 2-2-0 10-2-0
Wesleyan 1-3-0 5-7-1
Pennsylvania 0-4-0 7-7-0

Writer Walter Camp, The Outing Magazine Princeton National Champion; while one of his co-writers, A. Longdrop, had a three-way tie for the top spot: Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale.

Rank Team Won Lost Tied Percentage
1 Yale 86 2 3 0.962
2 Princeton 78 6 5 0.904
3 California 16 3 1 0.825
4t Harvard 73 16 3 0.810
4t Villanova 73 16 3 0.810
6 Georgetown 11 4 0 0.733
7 Michigan 18 9 0 0.667
8 Cornell 11 6 0 0.647
9 Dartmouth 18 12 3 0.591
10 Lafayette 32 24 4 0.567

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