It Happened on Saturday: Four Memorable Moments that Shaped College Football 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Matthew Andrews teaches American History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His courses use the history of sports to explore race relations, gender ideals, political protest, and American identity. Professor Andrews was asked by the UNC student body to give the honorific “Last Lecture” to the graduating class of 2015. His students have voted him their university’s “Best Professor” three times since 2016.


Where does the game of football come from? And how did it go from an unorganized game called “rugby” to the sport that dominates the American college and cultural landscape? In this lecture we will discuss the genesis of the game as well as explore the four most important moments in the history of college football. Among those making appearances in this lecture are U.S. Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Earl Warren, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Grim Reaper.


Recommended Reading:

Reading Football: How the Popular Press Created an American Spectacle, by Michael Oriard

Carlisle v. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football’s Greatest Battle, by Lars Anderson

Season of Saturdays: A History of College Football in 14 Games, by Michael Weinreb




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Linda Sainsbury

Fascinating look at the evolution of college football!

Prof Andrew did a really good job of giving an historical timeline of the sport and drilling down to all the nuances and impacts college football has had on American culture. Very interesting!

2 years ago
James Schone

A great lecture for all college football fans!

I thoroughly enjoyed Professor Andrews review of the history of college football as well as his perspective on its role in American society. He has great way of engaging the viewer. Jim S.

7 months ago
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