Alabama Football: 30 Greatest Games in Crimson Tide History

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
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Alabama Football
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Alabama Football Greatest Game

December 5, 2009 – SEC Championship vs. Florida

This game will forever be known for Tim Tebow’s tears late in the game. It was also the definitive statement that Nick Saban had quickly built college football’s most dominant team.

Urban Meyer’s Gators were ranked No. 1 and the Crimson Tide was right behind them at No. 2. The last Alabama Football SEC Championship had also come against Florida, in a 1999 upset. Florida had won three SEC Championships and two National Championships since then.

The subsequent irony of this game centers on Florida’s ‘All-Everything’ poster boy, Tebow. Had Mike Shula been successful in adding Tebow in the Tide’s 2006 signing class, Nick Saban might have never come to Tuscaloosa. Tebow could have made enough difference to extend Shula’s Tide tenure into the 2007 season, and maybe beyond.

The Gators could not have been shocked by the challenge offered by the Crimson Tide. The previous season, in another SEC Championship Game, the Tide led the Gators 20-17 at the end of the third quarter. Two fourth-quarter Florida touchdowns took the game to a 31-20 Gator victory.

As we wrote in 25 Greatest Games of the Saban Era,

"The Alabama football team remembered well the disappointment of the 2008 loss to Florida. The Gators, ranked No. 2 in 2008 outlasted the then No. 1 ranked Tide, 30-21. Long before Nick Saban voiced the mantra “never waste a failure,” the Tide had been dreaming of redemption throughout the spring, summer and fall."

The 2009 game was much different than the 2008 contest. The Gators struggled to run on the Tide. Florida runners could only add 25 yards to the 63 yards on the ground produced by Tebow. The Tide never trailed in the game, but Florida did narrow the Tide lead to two points, four and a half minutes before halftime. Less than a minute later, a Mark Ingram rushing TD and the PAT, pushed the Tide lead to nine points.

The Crimson Tide D shut out Florida in the second half, with the Gators only able to generate 8:48 of possession. Tebow accounted for 313 of Florida’s 335 yards, but it was not enough as the Crimson Tide, with 13 second-half points, won going away.

Final Score – Alabama Crimson Tide 32 – Florida Gators 13