SWAC Championship Game

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SWAC Championship Game
Conference Football Championship
Sport College football
Conference Southwestern Athletic Conference
Current stadium NRG Stadium
Current location Houston, Texas
Played 1999–present
Last contest 2012 SWAC Championship Game
Current champion Alcorn State Braves
Most championships Grambling State Tigers (6)
Official website SWAC Football Championship Game
Sponsors
HealthSouth (1999–2002)
Jeep (2003)
Dodge (2004)
Farmers Insurance (2009–2012)
Toyota (2013–2014)
Host stadiums
Legion Field (1999–2012)
Host locations
Birmingham, Alabama (1999–2012)

The SWAC Championship Game is an American college football game held on the first Saturday in December by the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) each year to determine its football champion. The game pits the champion of the Eastern Division against the champion of the Western Division in a game that follows the conclusion of the regular season. The game was held annually at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama from 1999 through 2012, but moved to NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas in 2013.

History[edit]

Following the 1998 season, the SWAC announced that the league would be split into two divisions with the divisional winners meeting in a championship game.[1][2] At the time of the announcement, a site for the game had not been selected but the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, the Astrodome in Houston, the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile and Legion Field in Birmingham were each mentioned as potential locations for the event.[1][2] Additionally, expansion of the league to twelve teams was also under consideration with Tennessee State, Florida A&M, Tuskegee and Morris Brown mentioned as possible additions.[1][2] In February 1999, a championship game was officially approved by the SWAC Council of Presidents.[3] Officials also stated the winner of the championship game would advance to play in the Heritage Bowl against an opponent from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).[3]

The following May, SWAC officials announced the league offices would move from New Orleans to Birmingham and that the championship game would be played at Legion Field.[4][5] Birmingham was selected over New Orleans, Houston, Baton Rouge and Memphis as the city guaranteed both free office space to house the league headquarters and free access to Legion Field to host the game.[4] The inaugural game was played on December 11, with Southern defeating Jackson State 31–30 before 47,621 fans at Legion Field.[6] The following week, Southern lost to Hampton in the Heritage Bowl; however, the meeting would be the only one for the SWAC champion following the championship game. In January 2000 the NCAA ruled schools cannot compete in two postseason games, effectively ending participation in the Heritage Bowl by the SWAC champion.[7] With the SWAC left unable to compete, the Heritage Bowl folded in February 2000.[8]

In July 2010, commissioner Duer Sharp announced the SWAC was interested in participating in the Legacy Bowl against the MEAC to determine the annual black college football national championship.[9] Although a decision regarding the contest has been postponed to 2011, SWAC participation in the event would potentially end the annual championship game in Birmingham.[9][10] In May 2013, SWAC officials announced the game was to move from Legion Field to Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas starting with the 2013 edition of the championship.[11]

Team selection[edit]

When the game was initially proposed, the teams playing in the championship game was to include those with the best record against seven conference opponents from each division.[12] However in August 1999 league officials changed the rule. For the inaugural contest, participation in the championship game was based on the record against the four divisional opponents only, not all conference teams.[12][13] This format was dropped by the SWAC following the 1999 championship game in favor of the original proposal based on all league games, not only the divisional opponents.[14]

Divisions[edit]

Results[edit]

Year East Division West Division Attendance MVP Reference
1999 Jackson State 30 Southern 31 47,621 WR Michael Hayes, Southern [6]
2000 Alabama A&M 6 Grambling State 13 34,687 DB Calvin Spears, Grambling State [15]
2001 Alabama State 31 Grambling State 38 38,487 RB Kendrick Shanklin, Grambling State [16][17]
2002 Alabama A&M 19 Grambling State 31 23,727 QB Bruce Eugene, Grambling State [18]
2003 Alabama State 9 Southern 20 31,617 [19][20]
2004 Alabama State 40 Southern 35 22,327 QB Tarvaris Jackson, Alabama State [21][22]
2005 Alabama A&M 6 Grambling State 45 20,612 QB Bruce Eugene, Grambling State [23][24]
2006 Alabama A&M 22 Arkansas–Pine Bluff 13 30,213 LB Johnny Baldwin, Alabama A&M [25][26]
2007 Jackson State 42 Grambling State 31 43,206 QB Jimmy Oliver, Jackson State [27]
2008 Jackson State 9 Grambling State 41 25,873 QB Greg Dillion, Grambling State [28]
2009 Alabama A&M 24 Prairie View A&M 30 20,218 QB K. J. Black, Prairie View A&M [29]
2010 Alabama State 6 Texas Southern 11 22,350 LB Dejuan Fulghum, Texas Southern [30][31]
2011 Alabama A&M 15 Grambling State 16 23,476 LB Cliff Exama, Grambling State [32]
2012 Jackson State 21 Arkansas–Pine Bluff 24 32,480 WR Willie Young, Arkansas–Pine Bluff [33]
2013 Jackson State 27 Southern 34 38,985 QB Dray Joseph & DB Anthony Balancier, Southern [34]
2014 Alcorn State 38 Southern 24 38,969 QB John Gibbs, Jr. [35]
Totals 4 Wins 345 12 Wins 437

† Texas Southern vacated its 2010 Championship victory, along with all its 2006 to 2010 wins, to avoid the NCAA imposing an athletics Death Penalty.[36]

Results by team[edit]

Appearances School Wins Losses Pct
7 Grambling State 6 1 .857
6 Alabama A&M 1 5 .167
5 Southern 3 2 .600
5 Jackson State 1 4 .200
4 Alabama State 1 3 .250
2 Arkansas–Pine Bluff 1 1 .500
1 Prairie View A&M 1 0 1.000
1 Alcorn State 1 0 1.000
1 Texas Southern 0† 0 N/A†
0 Mississippi Valley State 0 0 N/A

† Texas Southern vacated its 2010 Championship victory.[36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Crenshaw, Jr., Solomon (December 4, 1998). "SWAC will split into divisions, add championship game". The Birmingham News. p. 1D. 
  2. ^ a b c AP Reporters (December 3, 1998). "SWAC will split into two divisions". The Associated Press State & Local Wire. 
  3. ^ a b AP Reporters (February 8, 1999). "Conference presidents approve SWAC championship game". The Associated Press State & Local Wire. 
  4. ^ a b Crenshaw, Jr., Solomon (May 4, 1999). "SWAC expected to announce it's moving to Birmingham". The Birmingham News. p. 1A. 
  5. ^ Robinson, Fred (May 5, 1999). "N.O. lets SWAC leave town; League heading to Birmingham". The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA). p. D1. 
  6. ^ a b Schiefelbein, Joseph (December 12, 1999). "Big-play champs: Jaguars capture third straight SWAC crown". The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). p. 1C. 
  7. ^ Staff Reporters (January 19, 2000). "Richardson unfazed by Heritage Bowl change". The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). p. 1D. 
  8. ^ Staff Reporters (February 11, 2000). "Heritage Bowl discontinued". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. 9D. 
  9. ^ a b Grant, Jr., Thomas (July 29, 2010). "Commissioner: Legacy Bowl 'no-brainer' for SWAC". The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, SC). Retrieved January 10, 2011. 
  10. ^ Grant, Jr., Thomas (August 31, 2010). "Legacy Bowl decision off until spring". The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, SC). Retrieved January 10, 2011. 
  11. ^ Birdsong, Nick (May 30, 2013). "SWAC football, basketball championships headed to Houston". AL.com. Retrieved December 1, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Schiefelbein, Joseph (August 18, 1999). "SWAC format for title game changes". The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). p. 7D. 
  13. ^ Guilbeau, Glenn (August 22, 1999). "SWAC division plan good one". The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). p. 1C. 
  14. ^ Schiefelbein, Joseph (December 12, 1999). "SWAC alters format to include all league games". The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). p. 11C. 
  15. ^ Norris, Toraine (December 3, 2000). "Trick play backfires on A&M, Lifts Grambling to SWAC title". The Birmingham News. 
  16. ^ Segrest, Doug (December 2, 2001). "Grambling overtakes Hornets in the second half". The Birmingham News. 
  17. ^ Schiefelbein, Joseph (December 2, 2001). "Defense bounces back: Grambling defenders turn tide with fumble recoveries". The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). p. 10C. 
  18. ^ Schiefelbein, Joseph (December 15, 2002). "Grambling wins, with defense: Tigers capture third straight SWAC Championship Game trophy with help from big stop". The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). p. 10C. 
  19. ^ Perrin, Mike (December 14, 2003). "Mistakes sting ASU: Hornets can't overcome costly penalties in SWAC title game". The Birmingham News. 
  20. ^ Schiefelbein, Joseph (December 14, 2003). "Back in business: Jaguars win SWAC title with grit". The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). p. 1C. 
  21. ^ Perrin, Mike (December 12, 2004). "Hornets finish off second SWAC title". The Birmingham News. p. 1C. 
  22. ^ Schiefelbein, Joseph (December 12, 2004). "Fast and loose; Williams gets untracked as Hornets win scorefest for SWAC title over Jaguars". The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). p. 1C. 
  23. ^ Benson, Reggie (December 11, 2005). "A SWAC smack". The Huntsville Times. p. 1C. 
  24. ^ Schiefelbein, Joseph (December 11, 2005). "Eugene leads Grambling to SWAC championship". The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). p. 1C. 
  25. ^ Perrin, Mike (December 17, 2006). "To the rescue Rookie QB, swarming defense spark A&M to first title". The Birmingham News. p. 1B. 
  26. ^ Cross, Beck (December 17, 2006). "SWAC Championship; UAPB's hopes wilt in 2nd half". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock, AR). p. 1C. 
  27. ^ Jones, James (December 16, 2007). "Comegy's Tigers earn SWAC championship; Team rebuilt in less time than expected". Sun Herald (Biloxi, MS). p. C1. 
  28. ^ SWAC, p. 91
  29. ^ Solomon, Jerome (December 12, 2009). "A long time coming: Panthers dodge game-ending scare, hoist first title trophy in 45 years". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  30. ^ Solomon, Jerome (December 12, 2010). "TSU beats Alabama State 11–6 to claim SWAC crown". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  31. ^ Segrest, Doug (December 11, 2010). "Big defense, backup QB deliver Texas Southern victory against Alabama State". The Birmingham News. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  32. ^ Benson, Reggie (December 10, 2011). "Bulldogs come up short again against Tigers". The Huntsville Times. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  33. ^ Birdsong, Nick (December 8, 2012). "SWAC Championship: 95-yard TD pass helps lift UAPB to 24-21 win against Jackson State". AL.com. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Southern defeats Jackson St, 34–27 in 2 OT". ESPN.com. Associated Press. December 7, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Alcorn State beats Southern 38–24 for SWAC title". ESPN.com. Associated Press. December 6, 2014. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  36. ^ a b Eder, Steve (October 9, 2012). "Texas Southern is penalized by the NCAA". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]