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About 5th down cfb

5th Down college football is a new website and media property built to host and showcase premium feature writing on the uniquely American sport of college football, while in the process  demonstrating its significant place in the broader history and culture of the United States. It is also headquarters for a major college-football book project and american odyssey set for the fall of 2021.


the  writing at this site will consist primarily of opinion pieces analyzing the state of the game, connecting always to the related past, as well as historical writing meant to illuminate how a sport built by restless students at elite eastern universities became the coast to coast, corporate-entertainment colossus millions follow today with  quasi-fanatical zeal. 

Much of the work published at 5th down is sourced in heavy research being done against the aforementioned book. That book is going to combine travel writing, taking the reader to several of the country’s best and most historic college football venues and rivalries, while connecting the unstable present moment with  American history, and a long personal relationship with the game.


Just four years after the 1865 conclusion of the bloody American civil war, the cultural history of the united staTes and that of college football are wrapped around each other like the famed double helix structure found in every molecule of DNA. While now, in the fashion of life, both the sport and country have entered the early stages in a process of major evolution, which gives every autumn Saturday an additional urgency as the game may be going down certain old roads for a final time.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read the work at 5th Down. I hope to meet many of you in my travels this fall, and for the rest I hope sincerely you will give the resulting book a chance to enjoyably fill up some of your busy lives. 


Mark H. Schipper, 2021

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