The College Football Belt

The College Football Belt is a fascinating approach to the notion of the Mythical National Championship. I would have looked for previous mentions of this site and concept but “belt” is one of the no-no words (length) for searches. I may have even mentioned it before myself, but if I did I forget.

What’s your take on the idea?

The site has some amazing statistics and history.

Come on, Football!

For my money, if The Belt were given more publicity and more awareness, it could replace all the nonsense with the BCS and whatever playoff scheme they come up with. To be the best you have to beat the best.

Getting matchups arranged could be a problem, but that ought to be simpler than all the round robin approaches and BCS politics and chicanery.

It would also promote more inter-conference regular season play.

The bowls and ESPN would surely balk, but the right uprising from fans could possibly be heard.

With Alabama in a realistic position to lose the belt to Penn State this week, I thought some interest in the concept, despite two posts wiith no replies, might be generated, at least for a little discussion.

A glorified bump, if you will.

I am of the opinion that what college football needs is not a playoff, but rules that lead to tougher schedules. However, while the idea of the belt is an interesting toy, it’d a terrible idea to make it a real part of the championship. It’d be an incentive for the very top teams – Texas, Alabama, USC etc. – to only schedule each other, or cupcakes. They’d pass the baton back and forth to each other. An ACC or Big East team (to say nothing of the lesser conferences) could easily go undefeated against good schedules, year after year, beating a slew of ranked teams, but they’d likely get no shot.

Say Alabama goes 11-1, losing to a 8-4 Auburn team which is destined for a mid-level bowl. That Auburn team deserves to be celebrated above a whole slew of undefeated teams in other conferences? :dubious:

The parallel situation with boxers avoiding the real contenders or challengers and holding on to their belts in that manner could apply in football as well. On the other hand, the change of ownership could happen in any game to any opponent. Anybody on your schedule could wrest it from you. Then it would be theirs until they lost it.

Having to wait until the end of the season for a poll-driven selection of contenders could be avoided. You could lose (or win) the Belt in any week of your schedule. It could change hands twelve times a year!

Or even worse, end up in the hands of the cupcakes. Check out 1995-1997, when Wyoming (Wyoming!?) grabbed the belt and it ended up getting passed around between a bunch of crappy WAC teams.

The main reason this wouldn’t work as a real thing is because of how the schedules are made far in advance. If there was enough flexibility to challenge the current belt holders, we wouldn’t have to worry about the belt being held hostage by any one conference.

Which would probably sap any significance from it.

“Lets hear it for your 2010 September 4th-September 11th National Champion!!!” :wink:

At least Wyoming went to a bowl the year they had it. According to this we had a 4-7 Rice as the national Champions in 1991 (along with some pretty mediocre TCU and Baylor teams). And a 6-5 Texas Tech team ended the 1991 season with the belt… at least partially because they didn’t qualify for a bowl. All while FSU and Washington both went 12-0 and split the polls, leaving us with a split championship. Sadly the greatness of the belt holders in 1991 was left unrecognized. As far as I can tell no one who held the belt (after CU lost it at the start of the season) was ever ranked in 1991. Either the pollsters seriously underestimated the awesomeness of the old Southwest Conference in 1991… or maybe a championship belt is just a lousy way to decide a champion in college football.

In another Game Room thread earlier this year (June, I think) I pointed to

Here’s How to Fix College Football
*With Conference Realignment Roiling the Waters, We Have a Proposal: Make the Game More like English Soccer *

Just to shake things up as much as possible, I would love to see a blend of these conference realignments and the Football Belt.

The strength-of-schedule issues would also need to be addressed for that ultimate fix.

But I also like the old saw: “If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.”

Just to see what might happen if Bama drops the belt to Penn State this week and every belt holder loses it next game, here’s a potential travelogue for the belt this year:

9/11 Alabama --> Penn State
9/18 Penn State --> Kent State
10/2 Kent State --> Miami (OH)
10/9 Miami (OH) --> Cincinnati
10/15 Cincinnati --> Louisville
10/23 Louisville --> Connecticut
10/29 Connecticut --> West Virginia
11/13 West Virginia --> Cincinnati
11/20 Cincinnati --> Rutgers
11/26 Rutgers --> Louisville

Unless Louisville could lose it in a bowl game, they would have it at the start of the 2011 season.

South Carolina now has the belt and Kentucky is in line for it:

Just as an exercise, using the schedules as they are today, what chain of events would have to happen for your favorite team to get the belt?

In my case, Vanderbilt or Tennessee could each take it from South Carolina later this year, or from Kentucky if they should win it from South Carolina.

Being in the same Division and/or Conference as the Belt Holder helps, but there ought to be an easier route to the Holder through regular season play than through the BCS as it’s laid out these days.

I heartily endorse this method as the only sensible means of choosing a national champion. (Apart from a Battle of the Bands, anyway).

(Tom Scud, Rice alum).

Humor aside, consider those long stretches where “dynasty” teams held the Belt. It would have been on the line each game they played. They would have known that, as would the opponent, and each game would have the added impact of a Belt Defense. Slacking off for cupcake games would have been less prevalent.

Well, with a Belt system, you always wind up with a few “undeserving” champions. The guy who catches a great champion on a bad day gets to say (with no sarcasm) I beat the best in the world, so the belt is mine. On the plus side, mediocre champions don’t last long.

Anyway, with a belt system you don’t decide on a single champion per year, just who happens to hold the title at one particular moment. The only problem is that you introduce a Bowl matchup issue. If a lousy team lucks into the Belt, what Bowl do they get, does it turn into competing Bowl groups trying to get the Belt for their preferred Conference? Do we introduce the idea of a Poll based #1 Challenger for the national championship game?

Purely from a fan perspective, the bowls would still be based on season performance and awarded to teams the way they are today, or with enough additional bowls to accommodate all .500 and better teams, with conference tie-ins the way they work now. But the bowls would lose their power in determining a National Champion based on polls and computers and whatnot.

Until and unless a playoff system that would have the teams with the best seasonal performance in some sort of a bracket arrangement, instead of playing in just plain bowl games but in post-season playoffs, the idea of a National Champion will remain “mythic.”

So, in effect, the Championship Playoff games would be instead of bowl games. Bowl games would be left for the .500 and better teams to have the “reward” of an extra game post-season, but without any claims to Champion.

Bad. Your site has South Carolina as the belt holder. My undefeated Auburn Tigers beat the Gamecocks two weeks ago. We have already decided that one on the field.

Point taken. Maybe they can get it at the SECCG!

Maybe if Bama had realized the Belt was at stake they would have played harder.

One way to handle this would be that the belt holder plays in the championship game against the BCS #1. Or, even better, the belt holder gets into the playoffs with 7 or 15 other teams.

Kentucky Wildcats now hold the CFBelt for the first time ever. They’ve defeated reigning champion South Carolina 31-28.