Alabama Football: Nick Saban is correct, SEC Championship still a big deal

Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football: SEC Championship is more than a play-in game for the Playoffs. Don’t think so, ask Nick Saban.

In a time when immediacy rules, an Alabama football SEC Championship is almost trivial to some fans. Long before the locker room emptied after Saturday night’s game, the focus of fans was on the College Football Playoff. A few individuals who love the Alabama Crimson Tide feel differently. One of them is Nick Saban.

Going back to at least 2012 (and probably before) Nick Saban has often said how much SEC Championships mean to him. Nick knows it is no small achievement. He talks with sincere deference about the honor of being an SEC Champion.

On Saturday night, talked about what the Championship meant to him.

"Winning the SEC is really, really a significant thing for me. Always has been."

Way before the SEC Championship game became the spectacle it is today, winning an SEC Championship was the milestone of a successful season. A National Championship, in the most fortunate of seasons, was of course a bigger deal than winning the conference. But being the best team in the SEC in a given season did not lose its luster until the CFB Playoff began. Now, being in the final four is, to many, more important than winning a conference championship.

Nick Saban won his ninth SEC Championship Saturday night. His first two came at LSU in 2001 and 2003. Alabama football fans can probably remember the other seven clearly. Saban’s first Crimson Tide one was huge in 2009, knocking Florida off the top of the SEC mountain. Only five seasons since has an Alabama football team failed to win an SEC Championship. The Crimson Tide was conference champion in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and now 2020.

The Alabama Crimson Tide is the king of SEC Football Champions. Five current SEC schools have never won an SEC Championship. Counting shared championships, there have been 99 SEC Champions. It would be an even 100, but the 1984 Florida SEC Championship was vacated.

The 28 SEC Championships Alabama Football has won cast a deep shade over the rest of the SEC. The schools closest to the Crimson Tide are Georgia and Tennessee. Combined, their SEC Championships total 26, two less than the Crimson Tide. Only three other current SEC schools have won more than two. Combine those three, Florida, Auburn and Ole Miss and the total is 16 and 12 less than the Crimson Tide.

Another interesting fact is Georgia Tech won five SEC Championships. The Yellow Jackets left the SEC in 1952. SEC charter members, Auburn and Florida have won only three more SEC Championships than Georgia Tech.

Next. Takeaways from the SEC Championship. dark

One more point about the 99 SEC Football Champions. Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant’s teams won 13 in Tuscaloosa, plus one at Kentucky. Nick Saban has some catching up to do.