Sometime in the fall of 1998, an interesting group of college football fans began frequenting the message board area of a major news site to discuss the world of college football, and occasionally the world in general. A strong core group formed and many "regulars" were known by all who frequented the site. It was, one might say, the "Golden Age" of those message boards. The board was active, the topics stayed interesting and friendly even when argumentative, and the general level of participation was higher than one usually expects at a large, public message board
The core group eventually expanded beyond the message board and started setting up external sites and services to support the users of the message board, including a fan-based poll which became known -- mostly as a joke at first -- as the Great American College Football Fanatics Poll (GACFFP), and an annual Pickem Contest where participants picked the winners of games throughout the college football season vying for the title of, well, "Best Picker of the Year."
Things were cruising right along until two of the inevitabilities of the internet age happened: people out to spoil the fun of others moved in, and the site offering their free message board services decided to discontinue those services. The main group of users decided it would be worthwhile to attempt to find a new home in order to continue the camaraderie and the burgeoning traditions surrounding the group. First one site and then another were tried but they either lacked the longevity or just that "something special" that everyone was expecting. There was only one logical conclusion.
A new home had to be created. A home that would celebrate not the users that were forming it, but the one thing they all had in common: a strong love and respect for the spirit and traditions of college football. The site would have to uphold a high standard for its message board communities, striving to allow usage by all but also a "safe haven" for those desiring a less "heated" (at least on a regular basis) environment. And thus, GACFF.com was born.
Since that time various things have happened to grow the site beyond simply a place for lovers of college football to congregate: a dedicated volunteer staff -- augmented by regular contributions from other users -- regularly publishes articles unique to GACFF.com; the GACFFP and Pickem Contest have moved in-house; the GACFF.com Computer Ratings System is published with commentary weekly throughout the college football season; a newsfeed of sports and news from around the country and the world was added so that users could have a "one stop shop" for all their news and discussion of it; fantasy sports including an NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge, Major League Baseball, and more were added; and last, but certainly not least, the message board area has expanded beyond college football discussion while maintaining that as a primary focus. Our users' focus and their discussions have expanded to include politics, arts and entertainment, music, and several other sports including an incredibly active group of baseball fans.
While this article is entitled "The History of GACFF.com," it could just as easily be entitled "The Beginning of GACFF.com." In our first six months of operation our user base grew by over three hundred percent, our monthly traffic increased by over five hundred percent, and we're adding new features regularly. Stay tuned, because great things are coming...