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College football is a great pastime on the big screen. Find out which movies best depict the college football experience.

The Top 6 College Football Movies

There aren’t as many college football movies available for viewing as fans would like, especially given the popularity of the sport around the United States. However, where they lack in quantity, they make up in quality.

Sports movies are pretty popular and there are enough of them to last a lockdown, as many people found out last year. You could find any number of basketball and football titles but, when it comes to football, the college ones are pretty scarce.

Movies aside for a bit, this year’s college football season will be kicking off this month and is expected to be one of the most exciting ever. To that end, fans could check out the website offering the best college football odds throughout the season.

As it pertains to the films, below are six of the best ever made.

6. The Express 

The 2008 movie is one of tragedy and triumph. It tells the story of former Syracruse running back Ernie Davis, who became the very first African American college football player to win the Heisman trophy. Released before 42, a baseball movie detailing Jackie Robinson’s struggles with racial discrimination, it’s in a similar vein given Davis experienced racism throughout his career. 

Rob Brown portrays Davis while Dennis Quaid plays head coach Ben Schwartzwalder. The Express is pretty emotional in that it highlights Davis’ battle with Leukemia; it’s also thought to be one of the most inspirational football movies ever.

5. We Are Marshall

Released in 2006, the film stars Matthew McConaughey as coach Jack Lengyel, who attempts to rebuild a football program after a fatal plane crash kills 37 Marshall football players, with 75 people perishing in total, in 1970. 

We Are Marshall brings a football-centric community to the fore while detailing the impact the crash had on Huntington, the coaches and players who were left to mourn their brothers while trying to pick back up.

William “Red” Dawson is part of the All-Star cast, playing Matthew Fox, while Ian McShane, David Straithairn, and Kate Mara are also involved.

4. Knute Rockne All American (1940)

Knute Rockne All American was released in 1940 and is perhaps also as famous as it is because it featured Ronald Reagan, who would go on to become a United States President. While some may describe this film as Notre Dame propaganda, it’s one of the best college football movies ever made. 

The film brings Notre Dame center stage, with Pat O’Brien playing Rockne. Reagan, though, would provide the most memorable bit as a dying George Gipp who says, “Ask ’em to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for The Gipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, but I’ll know about it. And I’ll be happy.”

3. The Program 

This film is probably the most dramatic of the bunch. Looking into the details surrounding the fictional ESU Timberwolves and all of the negatives involved in their program, including academic fraud, steroid use, arrests, as well as coach Sam Winters’ ordeal as he tries to keep it all together. James Caan does quite the job of playing Winters.

The Program came out in 1993 but is likely still fresh in the memory of persons who saw it back then, nearly 30 years ago.

2. The Waterboy 

The Waterboy dropped five years after the aforementioned The Program and is perhaps the funniest of Adam Sandler’s comedies. It details the life of Bobby Boucher, a waterboy attending the University of Louisianna who ends up being a linebacker for the South Central Louisianna State University after the coach discovers how to get him going. 

Henry Winkler plays the role of Coach Klein to perfection, prompting plenty of laughs. Apart from being one of the best college football movies of all time, it’s also one of the best comedies ever made.

1. Rudy (1993)

Considered by many to be the best-ever college football movie, Rudy remains one of the most unforgettable sports movies of yesteryear. The 1993 release brings Rudy Ruettiger to the fore as an ambitious walk-on harboring dreams of playing for the Fighting Irish. Rudy is another movie that could be dismissed as Notre Dame propaganda yet it’s still a quality film worthy of being in the No.1 spot on every such list. No other college football movie tells as good a story as this title. 

The titular character is played by Sean Astin, whose character’s relationship with groundsman Fortune, a former Fighting Irish player-turned-groundskeeper portrayed by Charles S. Dutton, gives the movie added edge.

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