When I was a kid my brother and I watched a lot of WWF. We'd order the Wrestlemanias (or Royal Rumble--I really loved Royal Rumble) on pay-per-view, or rent old ones from Blockbuster, which was the style at the time. Wrestling being more focused on entertainment than the Platonic ideal of sports or some shit, its interest was primarily constant, meaningful battles over shiny trophies, either the WWF Championship belt or, for my tastes, the WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship. To create the drama, it forced its gladiators to routinely defend their Belts, usually at expensive pay-per-view events with complex story-lines accompanying them.
WrestleMania VIII was and remains the greatest event in sports history (seriously look at this lineup: Undertaker over Jake the Snake, who was also one of my favorites, 8-man tag-team figh, Hulk Hogan over Sid Justice with a surprise appearance by the Ultimate Warrior, I mean this is like reliving 11 Super Bowls) with the Macho Man Randy Savage taking the WWF Championship belt from Ric Flair, who had intimated that he had scandalous photographs of Miss Elizabeth, the Macho Man's main squeeze. High drama. The event ended with the Ultimate Warrior screaming characteristically maniacally into the ring to save Hulk Hogan from a double-team dirty-dogging by Sid Justice and Papa Shango. Good script? No, greatest of all time. I was so amped after the event that I suplexed like 17 invisible opponents and DDTed my dog. (She was ok.)
The best match of the evening, however, involved the psychotic Rowdy Roddy Piper against my favorite wrestler, Bret the Hit Man Hart. Rowdy Roddy Piper played a very convincing sociopath, and pre-match, as was typical, he and Bret had to mouth off at one another. Piper had the Intercontinental Belt slung over his shoulder and is pointing at it with his other hand, and just as the interview is going dead, he perfectly delivered the bat-shittiest crazy but deadly frank "SHE BE MINE" while staring googly-eyed into the camera. I still laugh about it with my brother. She wasn't--Bret Hart won the belt in a 14-minute match that I probably watched a dozen times after--but still one of the all-time great moments in sports, and that was before the fight had even started.
As a Texas Tech fan, I've not experienced the dizzying highs of a National Championship (or a Big XII title, for that matter). There are simply too many unlikely events that have to coalesce into just the perfect season for us to even have a shot at a miracle followed by another miracle and another, and if all that goes right, maybe the polls will see fit to give us a national championship appearance, in which case we will almost certainly go in as major underdogs.
If I can't have a national championship in the foreseeable future, why not some WWF-style manufactured drama?
So this is a thing:
Sometime during the 1980’s, 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 can’t 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?
The College Football Belt Championship is tracked weekly by the geniuses at CollegeFootballBelt.com. To end the suspense, they originally and somewhat arbitrarily started with the 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers as the original Belt Title Holders and have tracked each and every contender, weekly, since. (They later found out that the first AP National Champion 1936 Minnesota Gophers, and the winner of the first college football game between Princeton and Rutgers, ultimately merged into the 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers anyways, so no harm no foul.)
Thus the team holding the College Football Belt must defend it against a new challenger, each and every game, and has been doing so since the first College football game/champion. In this way the Belt proceeds from champion to champion much the same way that boxing and wrestling crown heroes. West Virginia snagged the belt from Clemson in last year's ACC Championship game, and then traitoursly brought the belt with it to the Big XII. I was secretly rooting for WVU over Texas on October 6th, thereby guaranteeing Tech a shot at the belt. And we took it, with much violence and furor, in our de-pantsing of WVU (and others) two weeks ago.
The Belt Championship has several virtues over the actual BCS Championship, notably that it can only be purchased on the field of battle--it must be won, not merely selected--and is more egalitarian for the populists out there. (Even Rice has held it at one point.)
As importantly, the belt must be defended constantly, including this week against the best team in the Big XII, Kansas State. I don't know if we're going to win, but for now, at least, she be ours, K-State. Come and take it.
Notes: Coach Tuberville is 5-1 in Belt Championship games heading into this weekend's title bout against Kansas State. If you have a gambling problem--and I do--you'd know that Kansas State opened as an 8-point favorite yesterday, with the betting public having little impact on that open. (Right now it looks like, depending who you ask, we're a 7-7.5 point dog.)
Wreck 'Em Belt Champions.