29. The Birthplace of College Football
The Hall of Fame couldn’t make it to New Brunswick, but diehard college football fans should consider adding The Birthplace of College Football to their bucket list.
High Point Solutions Stadium isn’t one of the most well known venues in college football. Though it holds 52,454 seats, it’s rarely sold out, even when the best teams in the Big Ten visit. However, it marks arguably the most important football game ever played: the first one.
Rugby-type games popped up all over the Northeast in the late 19th Century, and groups of students played on campus quads throughout the region. On Nov. 6. 1869, perhaps tired of playing against friends and classmates, students from the College of New Jersey, now known as Princeton, travelled by train to New Brunswick to challenge a group of students from Rutgers College.
With 25 players per side, without the ability to pick up and run with the ball, and with the squads playing for goals instead of touchdowns, Rutgers won 6-4. Princeton won the rematch the following week.
The practice of one school traveling to another caught on, and many of the early adopters, including Rutgers, Princeton, Columbia, Harvard and Yale began to meet to set standard rules for the game. Over time, they succeeded, and football grew into America’s most popular sport.
While many of Rutgers’ first football opponents eventually deemphasized football, the Scarlet Knights continue to play the game at its highest level, moving to the Big Ten Conference in 2014. Though the move has yet to pay off in terms of wins and losses, Rutgers will forever be the Birthplace of College Football, and worth a trip.