College football is gridiron football consisting of American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.
Unlike most other sports in North America, no official minor league farm organizations exist in American or Canadian football. Therefore, college football is generally considered to be the second tier of American football in the United States and Canadian football in Canada; one step ahead of high school competition, and one step below professional competition. However, in some areas of the country, college football is more popular than professional football, and for much of the early 20th century, college football was seen as more prestigious than professional football.
It is in college football where a player's performance directly impacts his chances of playing professional football. The best collegiate players will typically declare for the professional draft after three to four years of collegiate competition, with the NFL holding its annual NFL draft every spring in which 256 players are selected annually. Those not selected can still attempt to land an NFL roster spot as an undrafted free agent. (Full article...)
The Fifth Down was the name of a college football play that was the result of an error by the crew officiating the game. This play enabled the Colorado Buffaloes to defeat the Missouri Tigers by scoring a touchdown on the last play of their game on October 6, 1990. The ensuing controversy cast doubt on Colorado's claim to Division I-A's 1990 national championship. It has been called one of the top memorable moments and blunders in college football history.
In American football, a team is allowed four attempts or "downs" to move the ball ten 10 yards (9.14 m) towards the goal line. If the offense moves ten yards in four attempts or less, it gains a "first down," which restarts the process. If, after four attempts, the offense has neither scored nor gained ten yards, the other team is given possession of the ball. Under normal circumstances (for example, excluding penalties which can involve replaying a down), no team is supposed to be allowed five attempts. However, due to an officiating error, Colorado was given a fifth down which they used to score the game-winning touchdown as time expired.
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