A Smart Man’s Top Ten (Ever)

When establishing a list, there are some unwritten rules. I am taking the time to write mine out. First, You have to win at least one AACS title. Being the best team four years in a row and losing AACS all four years may in fact be a great team, but alas I will not consider them a dynasty.

Where are the cutoffs? Well, If any quizzer was eligible for both teams, it counts as part of the same dynasty. This means if you win a title after 1991, take two years off, and win another title, it is considered part of the same dynasty. If you win a title before 1991 and take two years off, none of those same quizzers are eligible and it would be considered a different dynasty. It is possible for a dynasty to cover more than a quizzer’s eligibilty. For example, you may have a team that wins AACS two years in a row, loses a year, then wins two more years. Obviously, noone was eligible for all five years, but I still consdier that one group.

#1 Illinois 1996-2002
This is really two separate dynasties, but how can one really separate the two? From 1996-98, Illinois won AACS three straight years. This came on the heels of a great Florida dynasty, and it really seemed to be the best team from one to five, ever. This team’s domination led many to believe attending SCQANIT might not be a good idea when trying to win AACS. Then, over the next four years (1999-2002), Illinois won twice and lost to an undefeated champion twice, where they got 3rd and 6th, respectively. Because I was a quizzer during most of the second leg of the dynasty and was not allowed to watch them until the Finals, I don’t have the intimate details that I would like to have about this team, but the raw numbers mandate that they are #1.

#2 Florida 1993-1996
When purusing the stats, many may say that the 1992 Florida team got 2nd place at AACS and should included in this group. However, that was a different school from the same state. The 1997 5th place finish could be included, but with a new coach and an entirely new team, I choose not to put them as part of this dynasty. This team lost in 1993 in the finals, then won twice as undefeated champions (the only team to win back to back undefeated titles that I know about). 1993 was also the first year of SCQANIT and this team won the first three years and had the highest quizzer (Jenni West) all four of these years.

#3 Tennessee 1979-1982
This is THE dynasty. All others are merely trying to match this one. A third place in the first ever AACS Bible Quiz competition seems pedestrian enough in the dynasty category. Nevertheless, it must be considered part of this incredible start. The next three years were marked by Tennessee championships. Very little is remembered by those who saw this dynasty, other than the fact that it was a dynasty. Me, remember? Phew, I wasn’t even alive yet. Three consecutive AACS titles has only been equaled once, and I have my suspicions that it may never happen again.

#4 South Carolina 1987-1994
This is virtually three dynasties in one. And by my rules, anything past 1993 should not be considered at all. BUT, in 1993 this team quit coming to AACS, so I allow myself the freedom to stretch this dynasty slightly. In 1993, they beat the AACS champion handily earlier in the week at SCQANIT. While they never won SCQANIT, they did prove to be a more formidable foe than anyone else for the #2 dynasty.

#5 Colorado 1983-1985
Wanna know how dominant this team was? Sure, we could look at the fact that they won two titles, had a hall of fame captain, and took the baton that Tennesse begrudgingly handed off. The real factor that I consider is this–this Colorado was so good that when South Sheridan finally knocked this team off in state, they won AACS. You see, at that time there was only one tournament a year (some might call AACS two tournaments since you have to win state, but you get the point). We know that even today where there are lots of tournaments, it usually takes a year or two of seeing the top teams before you can compete with them.

#6 Colorado 1986-1988
A team of superlatives. Amazing! Never before and never since has there been a team to win AACS in their first try. Two hall of famers graduating in the same year. A hall of fame coach. How can I put them below the other Colorado team that they had to beat. This team also had a better placement in their non-champinship year (2nd vs. 5th) of the three year run. In addition, quizzers are getting better all the time and so this later team MUST be better? Well, it just seems that they merely equaled the earlier standard. And if I really believed that teams were getting better all the time, then most of these teams wouldn’t even be listed.

#7 Florida 1988-1991
Because this is from my home state around the time that I started watching Bible Quiz, this is a team that I always remember fondly. They had two thirds sandwiching two firsts. Many remember that they barely got the first championship against Southside. I guess this is the dynasty that came closest to not winning either championship, but they came also as close to winning all four. That is why they are smack in the middle of dynasties.

#8 Michigan 1998-2002
The dynasty with only one championship. Matt Fenton just came on the scene and led a great team to top five finish after top five finish. They were never QUITE good enough, except for 1999, when they cruised through AACS with nary a loss. Why can I call it a dynasty? Well, for one, we don’t have that much history, so dynasty evaluations in about 20 years may exclude this team. But secondly, this was during the #1 dynasty ever and winning once is worth more. Third, they always seemed to be real good. And finally, the had the whole AACS rebellion thing which kind of mucks the water.

#9 Colorado 2001-2004
Call it the John Borkert dynasty. This is the weirdest of dynasties. Two championships at AACS sandwiching two miserable finishes. Colorado is often the hardest team to evaluate for many reasons. Since about 1980, they have had multiple teams worth of people. They have tryouts for big events, which seems to make their team different for each event. Continuity from year to year (at least at AACS) is not always something we see. Nevertheless, the two championship teams were immeasurably different with the Borkert exception. Even the coaches were different, so while I don’t think John was the best quizzer on either team, he was the one common thread.

#10 Florida 2004-2006
If FBCCF continues this magical run, they could easily move up the list. The second best team in the country twice while being the best team in the middle year. Maybe historical context will one day allow us to move this ahead of Michigan’s #8. However, this was a very strange run that saw very different teams at major events with many different results. They had a few quizzers defect to other churches, schools, and programs throughout the run. And, most importantly, the AACS eligible part of the run was incredibly short. Florida’s tremendous competition will make it nearly impossible for FBCCF to win more than once or twice more than the three in a row they have already claimed. The record for consecutive FACCS championships is four and both teams who did that are on this list.

Teams worth at least mentioning

Georgia 1993-1995
The big double one (11). If they could have at least beaten Southside at SCQANIT, they would have probably been top ten material. But to this writer, they look like the third best team in the coutry year after year who lucked into one championship. Nevertheless, I was tempted to switch them and my number 10 team. But that team just seemed better.

Whoever won in 1979
Winning the first event ever is nice, but narrowly defeating the eventual three-time champs makes you seem like more of a place holder than anything else. At any rate, noone seems to know who won.

Georgia 2003
Dynasty? How about a one-year wonder. I credit this as a dynasty only if I can add the one year where Poston actually wrote articles instead of just keeping his name on the website while waxing poetic about Clemson football. Callaway and Poston are the most well-known one hit wonder in Bible Quiz. Sure, they quizzed in other years, but they were really good just one year. And while they did not win their own New Year’s tournament that year, they were the best team there.

Pennsylvania 1985
Winning an AACS title is impressive. Nevertheless, Pennsylvania was very erratic in the early to mid 1980’s. They would high win against the eventual #1 and #2 finishers, then get eliminated in a quiz against eventual #10 and #11. They had tremendous potential, but this was the only year they actually achieved that potential.

Additionally, it seems that late in 1984 was the introduction of the two letter postal codes. Now, I don’t know about everyone, but I am told that at least some people always abbreviated Pennsylvania with the four letter “Penn” before this. Then Pennsylvanians took great pride in referring to themselves as “PA” (pronouncing each letter). Seems like an endearing story that may sway me, had I only been older than 3 and able to appreciate it.

Texas 1999-2002 & Pennsylvania 2003-2005
For seven years in a row, these teams made the second day at AACS and in at least six of those years, they were clearly the favorite. But read requirement #1. They never won. Too bad Pennsylvania’s 1985 championship can’t be counted, because if you look at what Old Paths did over four years, they might be a top five team with that AACS championship.

Kentucky 2005-Present
Already this team should be a potential top ten. Nevertheless, I have difficulty evaluating anyone who is in the midst of accomplishment. And to this point, they have not equaled FBCCF. But, if they do what we are pretty sure they will (do well througout the next 3 years), then they should be a top ten dynasty, no doubt. If they do what some hope they will do and win two more national titles, they are clearly #2. If they do what only Tex Poston can dream and win three more titles with Autumn, then reload for 2-3 more, they could overtake Illinois as #1.

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