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Let’s talk about that time five teams split one conference title

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The Banner Society Advent Calendar’s entry for December 14.

In 1994, Texas A&M finished with a record of 10-0-1*, crushing most of their Southwest Conference competition along the way. They beat Oklahoma by 22, Baylor by 20, TCU by 17, and Texas by 24, with the only close calls coming against Rice, Texas Tech, and a really weird tie with SMU. (I’ve previously named that game the worst loss the Aggies have suffered since 1980, knowing full well it wasn’t a loss in the technical sense.)

But, thanks to NCAA sanctions, A&M couldn’t win the conference title that season. Consequently, that resulted in one of the funniest co-champion scenarios in college football history. Take it away, Sports Reference!

Sports Reference

FIVE co-champions, all with identical 4-3 records in conference play. There’s not even a good way to split them up to figure out if one really deserved the crown A&M couldn’t claim, since all five teams went 2-2 against the other co-champions:

  • Baylor beat Rice and TCU but lost to Texas and Texas Tech.
  • Rice beat Texas and Texas Tech but lost to Baylor and TCU.
  • Texas beat Baylor and TCU but lost to Texas Tech and Rice.
  • TCU beat Rice and Texas Tech but lost to Baylor and Texas.
  • Texas Tech beat Baylor and Texas but lost to Rice and TCU.

In fact, more teams won the Southwest in 1994 than didn’t. Besides ineligible A&M, the only other teams in the league were Houston, who went 1-6, and SMU, who didn’t win a single conference game.

The only disappointing thing about this five-way split is that I can’t find any merchandise coming out of it. Where is the Rice shirt crowing about winning the 1994 SWC title without mentioning any of these circumstances? Where is the commemorative Texas Tech beer stein doing the same? Did these schools have too much pride to claim this honor, or were they just too uncommitted to capitalism?

In fact, I only found hints of one commemorative item that mentions the 1994 Southwest title. Fittingly, it’s this Texas A&M ring that shouts “BEST IN 1994.”

Anyways, please tune in when USC plays Pac-12 North runner-up Oregon for a conference title.