1897 Western Conference football season
|1897 Western Conference football season|
|Number of teams||7|
|1897 Western Conference football standings|
The 1897 Western Conference football season was the second 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 1897 college football season.
Wisconsin, coached by Philip King, won its second consecutive conference championship with a record of 9–1 (3–0 against conference opponents). The Badgers' sole loss was against a team of Wisconsin alumni. The Badgers shut out eight opponents and outscored all opponents, 210 to 14. On defense, the team led the conference, allowing an average of 1.4 points per game. Pat O'Dea, an Australian who played fullback and excelled as a kicker, starred for the Badgers.
Chicago, coached by Amos Alonzo Stagg, finished in second place with an 11–1 record. On offense, Chicago led the conference with an average of 26.9 points per game. The most important game of the Western Conference season was played between Chicago and Wisconsin on November 13, 1897, at Marshall Field in Chicago. Wisconsin won the game, 23-8.
Three Western Conference players from the 1897 season were later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame: O'Dea of Wisconsin; fullback Clarence Herschberger of Chicago; and end Neil Snow of Michigan.
Results and team statistics
|Conf. Rank||Team||Head coach||Overall record||Conf. record||PPG||PAG|
|2||Chicago||Amos A. Stagg||11–1||3–1||26.9||5.7|
|5||Purdue||William W. Church||5–3–1||1–2||11.8||12.0|
|6||Northwestern||Jesse Van Doozer||5–3||0–2||8.6||6.9|
Only 10 conference games were played during the 1897 season as follows:
- Oct 23, 1897: Chicago defeated Northwestern, 21-6
- Oct 23, 1897: Illinois defeated Purdue, 34-4
- Oct 30, 1897: Chicago defeated Illinois, 18-12
- Oct 30, 1897: Wisconsin defeated Minnesota, 39-0
- Nov 6, 1897: Michigan defeated Purdue, 34-4
- Nov 13, 1897: Michigan defeated Minnesota, 14-0
- Nov 13, 1897: Wisconsin defeated Chicago, 23-8
- Nov 20, 1897: Purdue defeated Minnesota, 6-0
- Nov 25, 1897: Chicago defeated Michigan, 21-12
- Nov 25, 1897: Wisconsin defeated Northwestern, 22-0
No Western Conference schools participated in any bowl games during the 1897 season.
Awards and honors
An All-Western team was selected by The Northwestern, consisting of the following players:
- Neil Snow, end, Michigan
- James M. Sheldon, end, Chicago
- Arthur Hale Curtis, tackle, Wisconsin
- Jonathan E. Webb, tackle, Chicago
- Richard France, guard, Michigan
- C. Rogers, guard, Wisconsin
- Roy Chamberlain, center, Wisconsin
- Walter S. Kennedy, quarterback, Chicago
- Ralph C. Hamill, halfback, Chicago
- John McLean, halfback, Michigan
- Pat O'Dea, fullback, Wisconsin (NW)
No Western Conference players were selected for the 1897 College Football All-America Team.
- "Wisconsin Wins Easily: The Chicago 'Varsity Eleven Goes Down in Defeat Before the Badgers". Chicago Inter Ocean. November 14, 1897. p. 10.
- "1897 Western Conference Year Summary". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
- "All-Western, All-Eastern, All-American". The Northwestern. December 14, 1899. p. 11.