The College Football Belt Championship
My friends & I were sitting watching football; talking about what a farce Division 1-A college football is without a national championship tournament. Every year, just like millions of others, we gathered together to watch March Madness when a National Champion is crowned in college basketball & we lamented that this doesnít happen in major college football. Sometime during the 1980ís, most likely 1983 when Miami jumped four spots in the polls over Auburn to claim a National Championship or 1984 when Brigham Young was named National Champions after they had defeated a Michigan team that finished 6-6, we decided to create our own championship. Our logic was simple; we watch as much college football as anyone else so why canít we name a champion? We wanted the championship to have some history but we had to work within the scheduled games available since we could not create a match-up. The big thing was we wanted the title to be decided on the field like a fight is decided in the ring; this is how The Belt was born.
The concept was easy, no one could claim The Belt without defeating the current title-holder on the field. But where do we start? Who would be the first Belt holder? Some wanted to go back to the first college football games between Princeton & Rutgers while others felt we should start with the 1936 Minnesota Golden Gophers since they were the first team to be named National Champions by the Associated Press. The decision was finally made to give the first Belt to the best college football team within our lifetime. Most of us were born in the early 1960ís so there was really only one choice -- the 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers. Update
On January 1, 1972, after a 38-6 victory in the Orange Bowl over Alabama, Nebraska was awarded The Belt. The Cornhuskers stood with a 32-game winning streak & universal acclaim as ďGreatest Team EverĒ. Since that game, each champion has defended The Belt every time they take the field. The Belt is held with a win or tie while The Belt is claimed by the new champion only when the current title-holder is defeated on the field of play. This is The College Football Belt Championship.
The Belt has traveled through many conferences, with both good teams & bad teams but one thing has remained constant -- it is always decided on the field. Each Belt-holder can trace their lineage back to the Cornhuskers team that dominated college football for 3 straight years. Each title-holder is a descendent of that great team & should look with pride on the fact they are a part of history. From the 1973 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, through the 1986 Penn State Nittany Lions, to the 1996 Brigham Young Cougars, each team that has held The Belt is a part of the bloodline of the college football champion. Even the 1985 Oregon State Beavers & the 1996 Tulsa Golden Hurricane have held a piece of this history. Whether they reigned for one week, like the Rice Owls in 1991, or 31 weeks like the 2000-2002 Miami Hurricanes these teams are the descendents of one of the best college football team in the land.
As you browse through the history of The Belt, please note the champion is designated by a "©" symbol & the number of championships a team has held is in parentheses after their name in the "Belt Records" line.
After receiving some feedback from our readers, we have checked the championship lineage if we had started The Belt with the 1936 Minnesota Golden Gophers as well as the first documented game between Princeton & Rutgers. The lineage confirmed what we expected in that the current champion is still the same. The Princeton/Rutgers lineage flowed directly to the 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers as the Alabama Crimson Tide brought The Belt to the 1971 Orange Bowl. If we had started with the 1936 Minnesota Golden Gophers, the 2 lines converged on October 31, 1942. When Alabama traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to meet the Georgia Bulldogs, the Crimson Tide were the champions of the Princeton/Rutgers lineage while the Bulldogs held the Minnesota Belt. With Georgia's 21-10 victory, they became the unified, undisputed champion.
The lineage now will include many of the greatest names of college football. Coaches like Walter Camp, Pop Warner, Amos Alonzo Stagg, & Knute Rockne. While many of the great teams of the past fall outside of this lineage we believe this is at least as fair a system as is currently in place. Sometimes great teams & great players don't get the opportunities they feel they deserve.
With over 1300 games in the Belt lineage, we feel comfortable in saying that you could choose any team in the history of college football as the starting point & that lineage will converge with the current champion in a reasonable amount of time.