1896 Western Conference football season

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1896 Western Conference football season
Sport Football
Number of teams 7
Champion Wisconsin
Football seasons
1897 →
1896 Western Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Wisconsin $ 2 0 1     7 1 1
Michigan 2 1 0     9 1 0
Northwestern 2 1 1     6 1 2
Chicago 3 2 0     15 2 1
Minnesota 1 2 0     8 2 0
Illinois 0 2 1     4 2 1
Purdue 0 2 1     4 2 1
  • $ – Conference champion

The 1896 Western Conference football season was the first season of college football played by the member schools of the Western Conference (later known as the Big Ten Conference) and was a part of the 1896 college football season.

In September 1896, the members of the Western Conference, seven of the most prominent teams in the Midwest, arranged their schedules so as to "compete for the championship of the West."[1]

The 1896 Wisconsin Badgers football team, under head coach Philip King, won the first Western Conference championship with a 7–1–1 record (2–0–1 against conference opponents).[2] Wisconsin's sole loss was to the Carlisle Indians (8–18) in a night game played indoors and under the lights at the Chicago Coliseum before a crowd of 16,000 persons.[3]

Michigan, led by head coach William Ward, compiled a 9–1 record and led the conference in both scoring offense (26.2 points per game) and scoring defense (1.1 points per game).[4] Michigan started the season with nine consecutive wins in which the Wolverines outscored their opponents by a combined score of 256 to 4. In the final game of the season, played on Thanksgiving Day at the Chicago Coliseum, the team lost a close game to Chicago by a score of 7–6. The 1896 Chicago–Michigan football rivalry game was the first college football game played indoors, and the last portion of the game was also played under electric lights.[5][6]

Northwestern finished in third place with a 6–1–2 record, its only loss coming against Chicago by an 18–6 score.[7]

In their fifth season under head coach Amos Alonzo Stagg, the Chicago Maroons compiled a 15–2–1 record, finished in fourth place in the conference with a 3–2 record against conference opponents, and outscored all opponents by a combined total of 368 to 82.[8]

Season overview[edit]

Results and team statistics[edit]

Conf. Rank Team Head coach Overall record Conf. record PPG PAG
1 Wisconsin Philip King 7–1–1 2–0–1 22.9 3.3
2 Michigan William Ward 9–1 2–1 26.2 1.1
3 Northwestern Alvin H. Culver 6–1–2 2–1–1 17.3 5.1
4 Chicago Amos A. Stagg 15–2–1 3–2 20.4 4.6
5 Minnesota Alexander Jerrems 8–2 1–2 16.8 2.4
6 (tie) Illinois George Huff 4–2–1 0–2–1 21.1 5.1
6 (tie) Purdue Samuel Hammond 4–2–1 0–2–1 17.4 8.6

Key

PPG = Average of points scored per game[4]
PAG = Average of points allowed per game[4]

Regular season[edit]

Only 12 conference games were played during the 1896 Western Conference season. The results were as follows:

  • October 17, 1896, Minnesota defeated Purdue, 14-0, before a crowd of 3,500 in Minneapolis[9]
  • October 24, 1896, Michigan defeated Purdue, 16-0, in Lafayette, Indiana[10]
  • October 24, 1896, Northwestern defeated Chicago, 46-6[11]
  • October 31, 1896, Chicago defeated Illinois, 12-0, at Marshall Field in Chicago[12]
  • November 7, 1896, Michigan defeated Minnesota, 6-4, in Minneapolis[13][14]
  • November 7, 1896, Northwestern defeated Illinois, 10-4, in Champaign, Illinois[15]
  • November 7, 1896, Wisconsin defeated Chicago, 24-0, at Camp Randall in Madison, Wisconsin[16]
  • November 14, 1896, Chicago defeated Northwestern, 18-6[17]
  • November 21, 1896, Wisconsin defeated Minnesota, 6-0, at Camp Randall in Madison[18][19]
  • November 26, 1896, Illinois and Purdue tied, 4-4, before a crowd of 2,000 in Lafayette, Indiana[20]
  • November 26, 1896, Chicago defeated Michigan, 7-6, at Chicago Coliseum[21][22]
  • November 26, 1896, Wisconsin and Northwestern tied, 6-6, in Evanston, Illinois[23]

Bowl games[edit]

No Western Conference schools participated in any bowl games during the 1896 season.

Awards and honors[edit]

All-Western players[edit]

In the Chicago Inter Ocean, a sports writer known as "The Man Up a Tree" published the following selections for an All-Western football team:[24]

Position Name Team
End John M. Harrison Minnesota
End Chester Brewer Wisconsin
Tackle Frank Villa Michigan
Tackle J. F. A. "Sunny" Pyre Wisconsin
Guard Harding Minnesota
Guard John E. Ryan Wisconsin
Center Pierce Northwestern
Quarterback Gordon Clarke Chicago
Halfback Jesse Van Doozer Northwestern
Halfback John "Ikey" Karel Wisconsin
Fullback Clarence Herschberger Chicago

All-Americans[edit]

No Western Conference players were selected for the 1896 College Football All-America Team.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Seven in the Contest". The Chicago Tribune. September 30, 1896. p. 8. 
  2. ^ "1896 Wisconsin Badgers Schedule and Results". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 28, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Won By The Red Men: Wisconsin 'Varsity Loses to the Carlisle School". Chicago Inter Ocean. December 20, 1896. pp. 1, 4. 
  4. ^ a b c "1896 Western Conference Year Summary". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Chicago Wins by a Point: University Team Defeats Michigan for the First Time; Indoor Play Proves a Success; Coliseum Utilized and Twenty Thousand In Attendance—Herschberger of the Home Eleven Kicks His Way Into Fame". Nebraska State Journal. November 27, 1896. 
  6. ^ "Football Played Indoors". The New York Times. November 27, 1896. 
  7. ^ "1896 Northwestern Wildcats Schedule and Results". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 28, 2016. 
  8. ^ "1896 Chicago Maroons Schedule and Results". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 8, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Purdue Goes Down". The Saint Paul Globe. October 18, 1896. p. 12. 
  10. ^ "Speed Told in the End". Detroit Free Press. October 25, 1896. p. 5. 
  11. ^ "Stagg's Hope Is Vain". Chicago Tribune. October 25, 1896. pp. 1, 6. 
  12. ^ "Nichols Saves the Day". Chicago Tribune. November 1, 1896. p. 10. 
  13. ^ "The Champions: Michigan Just Beat Minnesota Out Yesterday". Detroit Free Press. November 8, 1896. pp. 1, 7. 
  14. ^ "No Disgrace In It". The Saint Paul Globe. November 8, 1896. p. 19. 
  15. ^ "They Earn The Victory". Chicago Tribune. November 8, 1896. p. 3. 
  16. ^ "Badgers Win With Ease". Chicago Tribune. November 8, 1896. p. 3. 
  17. ^ "Chicago Wins Game". Chicago Tribune. November 15, 1896. p. 6. 
  18. ^ "Zero Weather For The Gophers". The Saint Paul Globe. November 22, 1896. p. 1. 
  19. ^ "Badgers Win The Game". Chicago Tribune. November 22, 1896. p. 3. 
  20. ^ "Tie Game At Lafayette". Chicago Tribune. November 27, 1896. p. 4. 
  21. ^ "The Champion? Chicago Trimmed Michigan by One Point Yesterday". Detroit Free Press. November 27, 1896. pp. 1, 7. 
  22. ^ "Maroon Is On High". Chicago Tribune. November 27, 1896. p. 1. 
  23. ^ "Purple and Cardinal Tie". Chicago Tribune. November 27, 1896. p. 1. 
  24. ^ The Man Up a Tree (November 30, 1896). "To The Man Up A Tree: An Opinion as to the Men for an All-Western Team". Chicago Inter Ocean. p. 4.