In the early 1900's college football was bigger then the NFL. One of the biggest teams was Brown University in Providence RI. In 1916 the Brown Bears went to Rose Bowl behind the running of NFL Hall of Famer Fritz Pollard. Brown statuim in the heart of Providence was packed with anywhere from 25,000-45,000 fans. Games against Yale, Harvard, and Notre Dame were deemed classics. Since that time Brown and Ivy league football have fallen way off the National college football map. Most Rhode Islanders couldn't pic out Brown's best player Buddy Farnham (Boston Gridiron Club Gold Helmet Award winner) out of a line up. Why has college football fallen off this much in the past 100 years? Rhode Island prides itself on being one of the biggest sports areas in the country, despite the fact that the state seems to be the home of the minor leagues. Many Rhode Islanders shell out big bucks to Massachsettes to see there beloved Red Sox, Celtics, Patroits, and Bruins. These same people also shell out medeuim dollars to see the Pawtucket Red Sox in hopes of getting a glimpse of John Lester, or a rehabing Kurt Schilling. They flock to the Dounkin' Dounuts Center to see the future of Bruins or to route on PC Friars to a final four, but when it comes to football these same Rhode Islanders have no place to go. They have no place to get that big time college feel, no network to tell them about the players to route for or where they are in the standing. Providence is a good city but not a great city because it doesn't have a great football feel to it like NY, Philly, LA, or Boston. Until it does Providence will always be a minor league city.
It's a matter of both geography and opportunity. Rhode Island is, of course, a small state with no Division I football program. When people grow up in a region they are most likely to attach themselses to their surroundings and what people around them like. I've never been to Rhode Island but I bet people there like college hockey and college basketball. Both of these are indoor sports.
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