A while back I ran across a site with an interesting premise for an alternative national championship for college football, what if the winner of the very first college football game between Rutgers and Princeton in 1869 was awarded the college football heavyweight championship belt? Then the whole poll system and rankings wouldn’t matter, whoever held the belt was the champ and the only way for another team to get it was to beat them on the field. To quote Ric Flair, “to be the man you gotta beat the man.”
The original site I ran across doesn’t seem to be around anymore, but there is another site you can check out here. They use a couple of different lineages but they all eventually merged and the current holder of the college football heavyweight title is the Oklahoma Sooners.
I know you’re curious, NC State has actually held the championship belt twice. State beat South Carolina in 1989 for the belt but lost to Virginia the next week. The Wolfpack won their 2nd belt in 1999 by beating Texas in Austin and held the belt for 3 weeks before dropping the belt to Florida State.
The title belt often bounces around a conference until a big non-conference matchup or a bowl game. This is the current situation, as six different Big 12 schools have held the title since my West Virginia Mountaineers hung 70 on Clemson in the Orange Bowl and also took their title belt.
So I decided to see if I could take the same concept and apply it to a title belt that stayed in the ACC. The ACC heavyweight championship belt would only be on the line in a game between 2 ACC schools (who were both members at the time). Going back through the schedules, it looks like the first ACC football game was between Duke and South Carolina on Sept 19, 1953. Duke won the game 14-0 and also won the belt.
It’s no big surprise that Florida State currently holds the belt and have owned it since Dec 1, 2012 after beating Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game* (in this universe, I guess this would be the ACC Division Winner Game For Bragging Rights Unless One Of The Teams Has The Championship Belt). The belt will next be defended on Sept 20 when Clemson goes to Tallahassee.
Here’s a look back at the recent history of the ACC title belt:
Current champ Florida State beat Georgia Tech 21-15 on 12-1-2012 in the ACC Championship Game*. The Seminoles have successfully defended their title every time in 2013, going 8-0 in league play and beating Duke in the ACC Championship Game* and have held the belt 648 days (as of today).
Georgia Tech beat North Carolina in a 68-50 shootout on 11-10-2012. They defended the belt against Duke, lost a non-title match against Georgia, then dropped the belt to Florida State.
North Carolina won the belt from NC State 43-35 on 10-27-2012 on the infamous Gio Bernard punt return TD. Carolina dropped the belt a week later to Georgia Tech.
NC State upset Florida St 17-16 on 10-6-2012 on Mike Glennon’s last minute TD pass and also took the title belt. The Pack defended the belt against Maryland before losing to Carolina.
Florida State beat Clemson 49-37 on 9-22-2012, won a non-title game against South Florida before losing to NC State
Clemson beat Virginia Tech 38-10 on 12-3-2011 in the ACC Championship Game* for both the ACC and national championship belts. As mentioned above, they lost the national belt to WVU in the Orange Bowl but carried the ACC title belt into the next season winning 3 non-title matches against Auburn, Ball State and Furman before losing to the Noles.
Before that, in 2011 both the national & ACC belts changed hands from Virginia Tech to Georgia Tech and back to Clemson (who won the national belt from Auburn)
Clemson and NC State have both held the belt the most, 17 times. As of today Florida State has held the belt for the longest amount of time, 3909 days. The longest title reign was 1146 days by Florida State from 1992 to 1995. State’s longest title reign was over a year, 399 days from 9-15-1973 to 10-19-1974.
Clemson – 17
NC State – 17
North Carolina – 14
Maryland – 12
Duke – 11
Georgia Tech – 11
Florida St – 9
Wake Forest – 8
Virginia – 7
Virginia Tech – 6
South Carolina – 4
Miami – 3
Boston College – 2
I thought this was an interesting and fun alternative to the current polls and rankings, we’ll have to see if Oklahoma and Florida State can defend their championship belts in the coming weeks.