Orange Watch: ACC still in play for rare conference football-basketball national title sweep

acc

The ACC has a chance to win both the national football and basketball championships for the 2016-17 sports seasons.

Item: Coming off the 2015-16 college sports season in which the ACC finished runner-up for the CFP title and NCAA Final Four crown, and following Clemson’s literally last second national football title game victory over Alabama in January, with North Carolina’s wild finish to oust Kentucky from March Madness Sunday to make a record 20th Final Four this weekend, the Tar Heels are once again carrying the conference banner eyeing a sixth national championship. 

Only twice before in the 63 history of the ACC has a team from the conference won both the football and basketball national championships in the same academic sports calendar encompassing the football and basketball seasons.

The first occurrence was in 1981-82 when Clemson won its other football national title defeating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, followed by North Carolina winning Dean Smith’s first championship defeating Georgetown at New Orleans.

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A decade later Georgia Tech was co-national champions in football (with Colorado) for the 1990 season, while a couple of months later Duke won the first of its five national championships under Mike Krzyzewski by beating Kansas-coached Roy Williams.

This weekend the Williams-coached Tar Heels will be determined to take their season one more step from last year’s Final Four semi-final win over Syracuse and the  last second loss to Villanova in the memorable championship game.  UNC will first have to get by Oregon then awaiting either Gonzaga or South Carolina.

Three conferences have accomplished the football-basketball sweep three times, the Big Ten, SEC, and Pac 12 (Pac 10 at the time), while the ACC has its two double-titles.

Here is the complete record of the 11 football-basketball sweeps with the football winner listed first:

1940-41 Minnesota and Wisconsin – Big Ten

1950-51 Tennessee and Kentucky – SEC

1952-53 Michigan State and Indiana – Big Ten

1967-68 USC and UCLA – Pac 10

1972-73 USC and UCLA – Pac 10

1973-74 USC (co-winner) and UCLA – Pac 10

1975-76 Ohio State and Indiana – Big Ten

1981-82 Clemson and North Carolina – ACC

1990-91 Georgia Tech (co-winner) and Duke – ACC

2006-07 Florida both – SEC

2011-12 Alabama and Kentucky – SEC

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Brad Bierman

About Brad Bierman

Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.
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