The 1970s cal state football explosion

When I started researching this I vaguely thought that the recent past would be mostly the usual Pac-8/10/12 suspects plus the Cal State schools that play now. I thought the really crazy years would be the 1940s when Naval Officer schools in California port cities were playing major college football. (And they will be, I just haven’t looked hard enough at the dataset yet.)

But I was pleasantly shocked to see how many California schools expanded football in the years 1970-1990. I added this diff just to print a CSV so I could make a graph:

graph of games per year
The Cal State Fullerton years

What happened? Vietnam and the resulting college enrollment explosion is my first guess. And then, of course, “budget cuts.” I’ll try to dig into that a little bit more later. For now, look at the D1 (!) 1977 Cal State Fullerton Titans. They played Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Cal Poly Pomona… None of those teams exist now. They put 8 intra-California games on the board without playing one Pac-8 team.

Anyway the new diff prints a csv with year, total game, winner, record. Seems like a step forward.