2008 SEC Championship Game: Alabama vs. Florida

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

Nov. 30, 2008

 

• ALABAMA vs. FLORIDA •
Saturday, Dec. 6 • 4 p.m. ET
Atlanta, Ga. • CBS Sports
Georgia Dome (71,500)

THE TEAMS:  Alabama (12-0, 8-0) is the Western Division Champion and the visiting team.  Florida (11-1, 7-1 SEC) is the Eastern Division Champion and the home team. 

NATIONAL RANKINGS:  Alabama comes into the game ranked 1st in the Associated Press, USA Today and Harris Interactive Polls.  The Tide are also first in the latest BCS standings.  Florida comes into the game ranked 2nd in the AP and Harris Interactive Polls and fourth in the USA Today poll.  The Gators are fourth in the latest BCS standings.

SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:  The game, which started in 1992, is in its 17th year.  It was a result of conference expansion, which saw Arkansas and South Carolina become the first members added in SEC history.   Almost 1.2 million fans have witnessed the pageantry of the game first-hand, with 14 sellouts in its history.  The first two games were played at Legion Field in Birmingham and the game has been played at the Georgia Dome ever since (1994).

SEC CHAMPIONS:  Alabama will be vying for its league-high 22nd SEC Championship and first since 1999.  Florida will attempt to win its eighth SEC title and first since 2006.  UA’s Nick Saban has won two SEC titles while Florida’s Urban Meyer is going after his second conference crown.

TELEVISION:  CBS Sports will televise the game nationally for the eighth straight year (VERNE LUNDQUIST, Play-by-Play; GARY DANIELSON, Analyst; TRACY WOLFSON, Sidelines).

RADIO:  Managed by Host Communications, the SEC Radio Network will broadcast the game to the 9-state SEC region and around the nation on the Westwood One Radio Network (SEC Radio Network:  DAVE NEAL, Play-by-Play; DAVE ARCHER, Analyst; DAVE BAKER, Sidelines / Westwood One Radio:  KEVIN KUGLER, Play-by-Play; TERRY BOWDEN, Analyst).

SERIES:  Alabama leads the series, 21-13.  This will mark the sixth time that these two teams have met in the SEC Championship Game (UF won in 1993, 1994, 1996; UA won in 1992, 1999).  The schools first played in 1916, with Alabama winning, 16-0 in Gainesville.  In the last meeting of the schools, Florida took a 28-13 decision in Gainesville in 2006.

IN THE SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:  This marks Alabama’s sixth appearance in the contest while Florida is in the game for the ninth time.  The Tide are 2-3 in its previous visits to Atlanta while Florida is 6-2.  All of Alabama’s appearances in the game have been against Florida while the Gators have met Arkansas (1995, 2006) and Auburn (2000).

LAST MEETING:  Sept. 30, 2006 in Gainesville, Florida defeats Alabama, 28-13.  Chris Leak threw a pair of touchdown passes leading the fifth-ranked Gators to the win.  Leak was 14-of-20 for 174 yards while fellow signal-caller Tim Tebow rushed for 28 yards and a TD for Florida.  Dallas Baker and Andre Caldwell each had a receiving touchdown, while Reggie Nelson had a 70-yard interception return for a score to help the Gators overcome an early 10-point deficit.  John Parker Wilson was 21-of-40 for 240 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions for the Crimson Tide.  Kenneth Darby led the rushing attack with 76 yards on 14 carries. D.J. Hall had six catches for 117 yards.

BOWLING:  The winner of the SEC Championship Game receives the conference’s automatic berth in the Bowl Championship Series.  Alabama will be looking to get into a BCS bowl for the first time since the 2000 Orange Bowl (loss to Michigan, 34-35, OT).  Alabama is 31-21-3 in bowl games and has been to a bowl in four straight seasons.  Florida will be looking to get into a BCS bowl for the first time since the 2007 BCS National Championship Game (defeated Ohio State, 41-14).  Florida is 16-19 in bowl games and has been to bowl games in 17 straight seasons.

ORIGINS:  The game is a result of conference expansion, which saw Arkansas and South Carolina become the first members added in SEC history.  Under NCAA regulations, a conference with 12 members may play a 12th football game to determine its champion, provided the regular season is played in divisions.  The participants of the game are determined each year during the eight-game regular-season conference schedule as the teams with the best overall SEC winning percentage in each division.  The 1994 SEC Championship Game earned a 10.5 rating and a 26 share, the highest rated SEC  Championship Game in history.  

ATTENDANCE:  The SEC Championship Game has also drawn capacity crowds in its short history.  1,194,668 fans have witnessed first-hand the pageantry of SEC Football at the 16 previous Championship Games.  Attendance at the 16 previous championship games has been 102.4 percent of stadium capacity, including 13 sellouts.

PREVIOUS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME RESULTS

            1992 - Alabama 28, Florida 21 (83,091 at Birmingham, Ala.)

            1993 - Florida 28, Alabama 13 (76,345 at Birmingham, Ala.)

            1994 - Florida 24, Alabama 23 (74,751 at Atlanta, Ga.)

            1995 - Florida 34, Arkansas 3 (71,325 at Atlanta, Ga.)

            1996 - Florida 45, Alabama 30 (74,132 at Atlanta, Ga.)

            1997 - Tennessee 30, Auburn 29 (74,896 at Atlanta, Ga.)

            1998 - Tennessee 24, Miss. State 14 (74,795 at Atlanta, Ga.)       

            1999 - Alabama 34, Florida 7 (71,500 at Atlanta, Ga.)

            2000 - Florida 28, Auburn 6 (73,427 at Atlanta, Ga.)

            2001 - LSU 31, Tennessee 20 (74,843 at Atlanta, Ga.)

            2002 - Georgia 30, Arkansas 3 (74,835 at Atlanta, Ga.)

            2003 - LSU 34, Georgia 13 (74,913 at Atlanta, Ga.)

            2004 - Auburn 38, Tennessee 28 (74,892 at Atlanta, Ga.)

            2005 - Georgia 34, LSU 14 (73,717 at Atlanta, Ga.)

            2006 - Florida 38, Arkansas 28 (73,374 at Atlanta, Ga.)

            2007 - LSU 21, Tennessee 14 (73,832 at Atlanta, Ga.)

Most Valuable Players:   1992 - DB Antonio Langham (Alabama)

                                    1993 - QB Terry Dean (Florida)

                                    1994 - DT Ellis Johnson (Florida)

                                    1995 - QB Danny Wuerffel (Florida)

                                    1996 - QB Danny Wuerffel (Florida)

                                    1997 - QB Peyton Manning (Tennessee)

                                    1998 - WR Peerless Price (Tennessee)

                                    1999 - WR Freddie Milons (Alabama)

                                    2000 - QB Rex Grossman (Florida)

                                    2001 - QB Matt Mauck (LSU)

                                    2002 - QB David Greene (Georgia)

                                    2003 - RB Justin Vincent (LSU)

                                    2004 - QB Jason Campbell (Auburn)

                                    2005 - QB D.J. Shockley (Georgia)

                                    2006 - WR Percy Harvin (Florida)

                                    2007 - QB Ryan Perrilloux (LSU)

NO. 1 VERSUS NO. 2 SAME CONFERENCE: The 2008 SEC Championship Game marks the sixth time that teams from the same conference have played each other when ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the AP poll. The last time it occurred was Nov. 18, 2006 when No. 1 Ohio State defeated No. 2 Michigan 42-39 in Columbus.  The top-ranked team is 4-2 in the previous six No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups. The Alabama-Florida game marks the first time in SEC history that teams have played one another when ranked No. 1 and No.2 in the AP poll.

ASSOCIATED PRESS ALL-TIME NO. 1 VERSUS NO. 2 MATCHUPS (Same Conference)

Date                           Result

Dec. 6, 1969           No. 1 Texas def. No. 2 Arkansas 15-14 

Nov. 25, 1971        No. 1 Nebraska def. No. 2 Oklahoma 35-31 

Oct. 19, 1985         No. 1 Iowa def. No. 2 Michigan 12-10 

Nov. 21, 1987        No. 2 Oklahoma def. No. 1 Nebraska 17-7 

Nov. 18, 2006        No. 1 Ohio State def. No. 2 Michigan 42-39 

NO. 1 VERSUS NO. 2 MATCHUPS:  The 2008 SEC Championship Game will mark the 40th time since the inception of the Associated Press football poll that the No. 1 and No.2 ranked teams have met. Alabama is ranked No. 1 in the latest AP poll, while Florida is ranked No. 2.  The two teams have met 22 times during the regular season and 16 times in bowl games. The Alabama-Florida game will be the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in a conference championship game.  The No. 1 ranked team owns a 23-15-1 all-time record in these matchups. A listing of all-time AP 1-2 matchups is below:

ASSOCIATED PRESS ALL-TIME NO. 1 VERSUS NO. 2 MATCHUPS

Date                           Result

Oct. 9, 1943           No. 1 Notre Dame def. No. 2 Michigan 35-12 

Nov. 20, 1943        No. 1 Notre Dame def. No. 2 Iowa Pre-Flight 14-13 

Dec. 2, 1944           No. 1 Army def. No. 2 Navy 23-7 

Nov. 10, 1945        No. 1 Army def. No. 2 Notre Dame 48-0 

Dec. 1, 1945           No. 1 Army def. No. 2 Navy 32-13 

Nov. 9, 1946          No. 1 Army tied No. 2 Notre Dame 0-0 

Jan. 1, 1963           No. 1 USC def. No. 2 Wisconsin 42-37 (Rose Bowl) 

Oct. 12, 1963         No. 2 Texas def. No. 1 Oklahoma 28-7 

Jan. 1, 1964           No. 1 Texas def. No. 2 Navy 28-6 (Cotton Bowl) 

Nov. 19, 1966        No. 1 Notre Dame tied No. 2 Michigan State 0-0 

Sept. 28, 1968        No. 1 Purdue def. No. 2 Notre Dame 37-22 

Jan. 1, 1969           No. 1 Ohio State def. No. 2 USC 27-16 (Rose Bowl)

Dec. 6, 1969           No. 1 Texas def. No. 2 Arkansas 15-14 

Nov. 25, 1971        No. 1 Nebraska def. No. 2 Oklahoma 35-31 

Jan. 1, 1972              No. 1 Nebraska def. No. 2 Alabama 37-6 (Orange Bowl)

Jan. 1, 1979              No. 2 Alabama def. No. 1 Penn State 14-7 (Sugar Bowl)

Sept. 26, 1981        No. 1 USC def. No. 2 Oklahoma 38-24 

Jan. 1, 1983           No. 2 Penn State def. No. 1 Georgia 27-23 (Sugar Bowl)

Oct. 19, 1985         No. 1 Iowa def. No. 2 Michigan 12-10 

Sept. 27, 1986        No. 2 Miami (Fla.) def. No. 1 Oklahoma 28-16 

Jan. 2, 1987           No. 2 Penn State def. No. 1 Miami (Fla.) 14-10 (Fiesta Bowl)

Nov. 21, 1987        No. 2 Oklahoma def. No. 1 Nebraska 17-7 

Jan. 1, 1988           No. 2 Miami (Fla.) def. No. 1 Oklahoma 20-16 (Orange Bowl)

Nov. 26, 1988        No. 1 Notre Dame def. No. 2 USC 27-10 

Sept. 16, 1989        No. 1 Notre Dame def. No. 2 Michigan 24-19 

Nov. 16, 1991        No. 2 Miami (Fla.) def. No. 1 Florida State 17-16 

Jan. 1, 1993             No. 2 Alabama def. No. 1 Miami (Fla.) 34-13 (Sugar Bowl)

Nov. 13, 1993        No. 2 Notre Dame def. No. 1 Florida State 31-24 

Jan. 1, 1994           No. 1 Florida State def. No. 2 Nebraska 18-16 (Orange Bowl)

Jan. 2, 1996           No. 1 Nebraska def. No. 2 Florida 62-24 (Fiesta Bowl)

Nov. 30, 1996         No. 2 Florida State def. No. 1 Florida 24-21 

Jan. 4, 1999           No. 1 Tennessee def. No. 2 Florida State 23-16 (Fiesta Bowl)

Jan. 3, 2003           No. 2 Ohio State def. No. 1 Miami (Fla.) 31-24 (2OT) (Fiesta Bowl)

Jan. 4, 2005           No. 1 USC def. No. 2 Oklahoma 55-19 (Orange Bowl)

Jan. 4, 2006           No. 2 Texas def. No. 1 Southern Cal 41-38 (Rose Bowl)

Sept. 9, 2006          No. 1 Ohio State def. No. 2 Texas 24-7 

Nov. 18, 2006         No. 1 Ohio State def. No. 2 Michigan 42-39 

Jan. 8, 2007           No. 2 Florida def. No. 1 Ohio State 41-14 (BCS Championship Game)

Jan. 7, 2008           No. 2 LSU def. No. 1 Ohio State 38-24 (BCS Championship Game)