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Football is one of the most popular college sports in the United States. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), located in Indianapolis, is the most important organization governing major college competition. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, oversees competition for smaller four-year schools. The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, governs play for two-year and community colleges throughout the country. Under the jurisdiction of these national governing bodies are individual conferences and leagues based on school size and regional location. Well-known NCAA conferences include the Atlantic Coast, the Big Ten (northern Midwest), the Big 12 (Midwest), the Pacific-10 (Western states), the Southeastern Conference, and the Ivy League (Northeast). Many university stadiums hold more than 50,000 spectators; a few hold more than 100,000.


Bear Bryant American college football coach Bear Bryant broke the record for most college coaching victories in 1981. Bryant spent much of his career coaching at the University of Alabama and he led that team to 25 winning seasons. UPI/CORBIS-BETTMANN

Some of the most accomplished players in college football history include Jim Thorpe of the Carlisle Indian School; George Gipp of the University of Notre Dame; Red Grange of the University of Illinois; Tom Harmon of the University of Michigan; Doak Walker of Southern Methodist University; Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard, the so-called Touchdown Twins of Army (the U.S. Military Academy); Joe Namath of the University of Alabama; Walter Payton of Jackson State University; Tony Dorsett of the University of Pittsburgh; Joe Montana of the University of Notre Dame; Marcus Allen of the University of Southern California; Jerry Rice of Mississippi Valley State University; and Bo Jackson of Auburn University.