GREATEST MOMENTS | Colgate went unbeaten, untied, unscored upon and uninvited in 1932


Colgate-greatestPicking college football champions has always been a messy business, and it was no different in 1932.

That season, one team finished unbeaten, untied and unscored upon — Colgate. Then known as the Red Raiders, Colgate rolled up a 9-0 record and outscored opponents 264-0. They beat Penn State, Syracuse and played unbeaten Brown for the Eastern championship on Thanksgiving Day.

The winner expected to go to the Rose Bowl to face Western champion Southern California. After all, Brown had played in the second Rose Bowl in 1916, losing to Washington State, 14-0.

The Brown-Colgate game turned at the end of the first half, as Time magazine reported in its Dec 5, 1932 edition:

The score was Colgate 6, Brown 0. The ball was on the Colgate 1-yd. line. There was time for just one more play in the first half. Brown’s 162-lb. Quarterback Robert Ramsay Chase took the ball. There was a squirming pile of players, a moment of silence while the referee examined the position of the ball. It was still two inches from the goal line.

Colgate went on to win 21-0 to finish unbeaten, untied and unscored upon in the sports moment judged the greatest in school history. They awaited their invitation to the Rose Bowl.

But the Western champion selected its Rose Bowl opponent, and Southern Cal reportedly favored unbeaten Michigan as its first choice. The Wolverines won the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy, symbolic of the national championship, but the Big Ten prohibited postseason play then.

Colgate was rumored to be the second choice, Alabama Poly the third and Pitt fourth, but the inivitation went to 8-0-2 Pitt.

“Unbeaten, untied, unscored upon and uninvited,” head coach Andy Kerr said at the 1932 Colgate football dinner.

It was a quote made famous by sportswriter Allison Danzig in his book “American Football.” (Danzig also coined the tennis terms “Grand Slam” and “ace.”)

“We thought we should have been invited,” Bart Ellis, a 195-pound tackle on that team, recalled to the Associated Press in 1987. “Andy Kerr and Howard Jones, the coach of Southern Cal, I don’t think they got along very well. Andy coached at Stanford for a while under ‘Pop’ Warner, and I think that was part of it.”

“We weren’t concerned with much, except winning games,” said Robert Rowe, the starting fullback, told the AP. “We were isolated in the Chenango Valley and didn’t get much information. We weren’t really aware that nobody had penetrated inside our 20-yard line until the Brown game. We read about it afterward.”

The Rose Bowl didn’t turn out well for Pitt, either. Southern Cal trampled Josh Sutherland’s team 35-0.

Colgate football has returned to national prominence the past two decades, reaching the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) postseason eight times since 1997. The Patriots lost the FCS championship game in 2013, but finished the season 15-1. And last season the Raiders reached the FCS quarterfinals and appear ready to make another run this year.

It will be tough to repeat unbeaten, untied, unscored upon, but the Raiders don’t have to worry about being uninvited.

• Colgate Athletics Hall of Honor

Above: Colgate scores against Syracuse in 1932. The Red Raiders won 16-0, improving to 8-0. (Courtesy Colgate University Archives)

• Monday: Cincinnati and Cleveland State
• Tuesday: Coastal Carolina
• Wednesday: Colgate and Colorado College
• Thursday: Columbia and Connecticut
• Friday: Cornell and Clarkson

Mike Bambach

Mike Bambach is senior web producer for ASN.