Ranking the Alabama-Florida SEC Championship meetingsBy Matthew Speakman | 12/02/2016 11:52am
The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Florida Gators 29-15 in last year's SEC Championship. CW File
1) Alabama vs. Florida, Dec. 3, 1994.
Result: Florida defeats Alabama, 24-23
In the first year that the SEC Championship was moved to Georgia Dome, fans of the SEC got one of the best conference title games. Alabama was undefeated at 11-0 coming into a matchup with the 9-1-1 Florida Gators, because people in the early 90s thought it was a good idea to let teams tie in football games. The NCAA already had a problem deciding who would be the national champion (which is why Alabama claims 65 games), so to make things even more complicated, they let teams tie.
Anyway, this game was an absolute barnburner and featured a great comeback by Florida in the fourth quarter. When former Alabama linebacker Dwayne Rudd intercepted Danny Wuerffel, whose greatest accomplishment is easily leading the Rhein Fire to an NFL Europe Championship in 2000, Alabama took a 23-17 lead with under seven minutes left to play. Then, Wuerffel, champion of an entire continent, broke Alabama’s heart by finding Chris Doering on a slant pass from two yards out. So basically, Florida scored in the way the Seahawks wanted to in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago against the Patriots.
2) Alabama vs. Florida, Dec. 5, 1992.
Result: Alabama defeats Florida, 28-21.
The first two years of the SEC Championship, everyone thought it would be a good idea to host the games at Legion Field. Which makes sense in a way, because Birmingham is one of the biggest college football markets in the country, but doesn’t make sense when you think about how Legion Field is made of legos. Regardless, Legion Field was really the best option back in the early 90s, since the Georgia Dome had not been opened. This was a home game for Alabama.The team used to play a lot of games at Legion Field, so Alabama had that upper-hand. The Crimson Tide had rattled off 11 wins in a row, and entered the game No. 2 in the country.
Like the game two years later, this one came down to the fourth quarter. Tied at 21, Florida had the ball and all of the momentum. Then, Antonio Langham intercepted a pass from Shane Matthews and took it to the house, sealing Alabama’s win in the first ever SEC Championship.
3) Alabama vs. Florida, Dec. 6, 2008
Result: Florida defeats Alabama 31-20.
No.1 Alabama finished 12-0 in the regular season for the first time under Nick Saban heading into its match up with No. 2 Florida, who just so happened to have a religious figure playing quarterback. Tim Tebow was in the middle of one of the better careers in college football history. It was one that included him parting the red sea and winning the Heisman trophy the season before. Tebow was everything in college football, and with him at quarterback, Florida seemed unstoppable. The Gator’s one loss came against Ole Miss, and Tebow, in all of his glory, shed tears after the game that probably could’ve healed deadly diseases.
Both teams had immense talent, but Saban was still playing with many of Mike Shula’s recruits. So when it came down to crunch time, Alabama seemed to fall apart. The Crimson Tide entered the fourth quarter with a 20-17 lead, but all of that was wiped away by Tim Tebow. The Gators scored 14 unanswered to beat Alabama and advance to the National Championship.
4) Alabama vs. Florida, Dec. 5, 2009.
Result: Alabama defeats Florida 32-13.
The revenge game. Tebow had beaten Alabama the year before and taken the Crimson Tide’s shot at its first national championship in 16 years away. The next year was a different story. Alabama had one of the most talented teams in the country. The running back duo of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson took lives all season. Julio Jones reached full cyborg status and proved that he was a star. Alabama had it all, but, there was still a lot to be worried about. Tebow still was in a Gator uniform, and Florida also had talent at every single position.
So, what happened? Well a passing of the SEC torch happened. Alabama looked like the way better team from the start. The Crimson Tide had only a six-point lead heading into halftime, but the team felt comfortable with its play. Alabama then dominated in the second half to win 32-13. This game was basically the coming-out party for the Alabama dynasty. They had a good season in 2008, but the 2009 season really declared Alabama as a team that would be great for many years.
5) Alabama vs. Florida, Dec. 7, 2015
Alabama defeats Florida, 29-15
Now, listen, a lot of Alabama-Florida SEC Championships have ended in blowouts. Like a lot of them. One year Alabama would kill Florida, and the next year, Florida would dominate. Outside of the first couple of games, that is just the way it was. So, I picked this game to be included for many reasons. First off, it featured Saban against his old offensive coordinator, Jim McElwain. McElwain was in his first season at Florida, and he had done a lot of very weird things, including comparing his team to a bunch of dead fish.
Next, this game is so great, because Florida tried to play Treon Harris at quarterback again. The Gators lost Will Grier to suspension, and Harris was their only option. It was wonderful to watch Harris play quarterback again. He is basically so bad that its like if you took an athletic quarterback and cut all of his fingers off and then told him to try and throw a football. I love Harris. Every time he throws the ball it looks like he’s trying to throw a piece of paper 20 yards. Have you ever tried to throw a piece of paper? There is no controlling it. That is Harris throwing a football. Regardless, Alabama won 29-15 and went onto the College Football Playoff.