Who Scheduled the 1905 Army Game?

Sometimes something you haven’t thought about before jumps into your head. Yesterday, I had one of those thoughts, “Was the 1905 Carlisle game against Army on the original schedule or was it added during the season?” I definitely hadn’t considered that before. Perhaps the thought popped into my head because games against the Canton and Massillon semi-pro teams were added late in the season. Regardless of why it came into my head, I had to resolve it.

My first step was to check with the 1905 Spaldings Guide. Sure enough, it was listed there. Since these guides were distributed prior to the start of the season, it was clear that this game had been scheduled ahead of the season start. But how far ahead?

To find that out, I consulted with the school newspaper for the 1904-1905 school year. The June 29, 1905 edition of The Arrow included the first published schedule for the 1905 season. The game was scheduled for a date that held no particular significance at that time, November 11, at West Point. The week after that the team would start a westward road trip in which they were to play games in Cincinnati and Pittsburg before ending their season with a Thanksgiving Day game in Washington, DC against Georgetown. But that schedule didn’t hold.

Who negotiated the extra games isn’t clear. It’s possible that George Woodruff arranged them before leaving the team after the Army game to join the Roosevelt administration. The games with Canton and Massillon were first listed in the October 20 issue of The Arrow, a factor that makes Woodruff’s involvement more likely.

How the games were arranged is less important that they were played. Beginning on November 11, the last game for which Carlisle had a full week to prepare, the Indians played six games in the time other schools played three, two if they didn’t have a Thanksgiving game. Carlisle was known for playing brutal schedules. The 1905 season was just one example of this.

The details of the 1905 contest with Army can be found in Gridiron Gypsies: How the Carlisle Indians Shaped Modern Football.


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