After rolling over Kentucky on Saturday, by a score of 49-21 Alabama Football will be back in Atlanta in December. It will be the 10th SEC Championship Game for the Crimson Tide in the Nick Saban Era and under Saban’s leadership Alabama is 8-1 in SEC Championship games.
Going back to Saban’s first Alabama SEC Championship win in 2009, the Crimson Tide’s eight wins surpass the total of all other winning teams. The ‘other’ winners with two each are Auburn (2010 and 2013), LSU (2011 and 2019), and Georgia (2017 and 2022).
Kirby Smart has taken the Georgia Bulldogs to five SEC Championship games and achieved a 2-3 record.
A Kirby Smart Georgia team has never beaten Alabama Football in an SEC Championship game. Another bizarre and almost meaningless fact is that in addition to the Crimson Tide having a five-game winning streak over the Bulldogs in Atlanta, Georgia has not beaten Alabama in Atlanta since 1942.
The 2023 edition will be huge. Every indication at this point is the 2023 SEC Championship Game will be an elimination game for the CFB Playoff final four field. Going into week 11 games ESPN’s FPI projected the Crimson Tide as the favorite to win the SEC Championship again.
How Alabama Football Got Here
The ‘here’ referenced above is a couple of practice games (Chattanooga and Auburn) and a win from making the Playoff field. After the Crimson Tide muddled through a win over lowly USF to reach a 2-1 record, only the staunchest of Alabama football fans were talking about the Crimson Tide as a national championship contender.
Almost all of the national college football media wrote off the Tide and Nick Saban as done and dead.
Even Crimson Tide fans had strong doubts that Alabama had a quarterback who could lead the Tide to even a nine-win season. At the time most of the little optimism about the quarterback position was contingent upon Ty Simpson being the starter.
Where the Alabama football team was on Sept. 16, compared to where it is today is stunning. It can be fairly claimed the 2023 season is Nick Saban’s best performance in his career. Jalen Milroe has blossomed into an explosive player now mentioned as a Heisman contender.
The Crimson Tide offensive line has gone from dismal to dependable, and one of many team strengths. Under Kevin Steele and Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide’s defense is outstanding. Special Teams play (minus some Kool-Aid hiccups) is tremendous.
National college football pundits are stating Alabama has the nation’s most talented team. Saturday’s performance against Kentucky reinforced Urban Meyer’s recent statement that the Crimson Tide is one of college football’s top three teams.
Beating Georgia in Atlanta should propel a 1-loss Crimson Tide into the Playoffs. Some rankings help along the way might also be needed.