Dec 4, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain pose with the SEC trophy between the SEC coaches press conference at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama and Florida have played each other seven times in the SEC Championship Game before today, let’s take a look at the history of these great schools in this great
Alabama football faces the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship game for the eighth time.
When Arkansas and South Carolina joined the SEC and the league established divisions and a conference championship game, it was groundbreaking. Critics said that the league office was jeopardizing the success of their teams by pitting them against each other the last week of the season.
Instead, commissioner Roy Kramer revolutionized college football.
In the 23 years of the conference title game, no two teams have met more often than Alabama and Florida’s eight meetings. The Gators (11) have the most appearances of all teams in the Eastern division and the Tide (10) have the most appearances of SEC West teams.
1992 – Alabama 28, Florida 21
The inaugural SEC Championship Game was between Alabama and Florida. The 8-3 Gators had nothing to gain but a conference title, while the 11-0 Crimson Tide hoped for a trip to the Sugar Bowl to play for the national championship on the line.
Florida quarterback Shane Matthews led the best offense in the SEC, while Alabama’s defense was one of the best in the country. As the saying goes, defense wins championships.
The Gators scored first but Alabama responded with 21 unanswered points and led 21-7 in the third quarter. Florida wasn’t done yet and scored twice to tie the game. Then Antonio Langham intercepted Shane Matthews for the game-winning touchdown.
The game (and Langham’s pick-6) were recently the feature of an episode of SEC Storied, “The Play That Changed College Football.” National championship contender Alabama was able to win a game over a quality opponent, which proved that the 12-team conference with a championship game was a valid format for major college football.