Countdown to Kickoff
No. 2 Alabama Meets No. 1 Florida for SEC Championship



Nov. 30, 2009

GAME 13: ALABAMA (12-0, 8-0 SEC)
VS.  FLORIDA  (12-0, 8-0 SEC)

2009 Alabama Game Notes (vs. Florida) Get Acrobat Reader

THE GAME: The No. 2/3 University of Alabama football team makes its second straight trip to the Southeastern Conference Championship Game to face the top-ranked Florida Gators on Saturday, December 5, 2009. It will be the 36th meeting between the two schools in a series that dates back to 1904. The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. (CST) kickoff at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., and will be televised by CBS with Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tracy Wolfson calling the action. Eli Gold, Phil Savage and Barry Krauss will have the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network.

HEAD COACH Nick Saban: Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) is in his third season with the Crimson Tide. He was named the school's 27th head coach on January 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 122-50-1 (.708) record as a collegiate head coach with a 31-8 (.795) mark at Alabama that includes a 12-0 record this year with a perfect 8-0 mark in the SEC. Saban has now won 10 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in his career. He captured his 100th career win and coached his 150th game as a collegiate head coach during the 2008 campaign. In 2003, Saban led LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship. Overall, Saban has coached three conference championship teams (1990 Mid-American, 2001 SEC and 2003 SEC) and nine of his 12 teams have played in post-season bowl games with Alabama already bowl eligible this season. Saban is one of two (Bob Stoops) current Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to coach for at least 10 years and not suffer a losing season.

RANKINGS: The Crimson Tide is ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll, No. 2 in the BCS standings, No. 3 in the Harris Poll and No. 3 in the USA Today Coaches' poll this week following a 26-21 win at Auburn. Alabama has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the AP poll and No. 2 in the coaches' poll this season. UA garnered seven first-place votes in the AP poll and three in the coaches' poll this week. Alabama was ranked fifth in both the AP and USA Today Coaches' preseason polls, the highest preseason ranking for the Tide since the 2000 season when Alabama opened at No. 3.

ALABAMA IN THE BCS RANKINGS: Alabama is ranked second in this week's Bowl Championship Series standings released on Sunday, November 29. The Crimson Tide (.9513) trails No. 1 Florida (.9868) by a margin of just .0355 with Texas in third at .9282. The Tide is ranked No. 3 in the Harris Interactive poll and the USA Today Coaches poll but is tied at No. 1 with Florida in the average of all six computer rankings, while third-place Texas is fourth in the computers. TCU is fourth in the BCS with an average of 0.8689 with Cincinnati fifth (.8096).

SABAN AMONG THE BEST: Head coach Nick Saban's arrival in Tuscaloosa has seen his Crimson Tide vault up the national rankings. That success in such a short period of time has quickly impacted the Tide's record book. Saban produced the largest win increase from year one to year two in school history as Alabama went from seven wins in 2007 to 12 wins in 2008. He is one of two coaches (Bob Stoops, Oklahoma) in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football to have coached 10 years and never suffered through a losing season. Saban achieved another first in 2009 with back-to-back 10-win seasons. He also ranks fifth in winning percentage (70.8 percent) among active coaches who have coached at least 10 years of FBS football.

BEATING THE BEST: Alabama is 7-2 against the Associated Press Top 25 over the 2008 and 2009 seasons. The Crimson Tide's 24-15 win over No. 9 LSU on November 7 was the Tide's fourth win over a top-10 team dating back to the start of the 2008 season. Alabama is 4-0 against the AP Top 25 in the 2009 season.

PERFECT RECORD: Alabama ran the table in the 2009 regular season and finished the season with a perfect 8-0 record in SEC play. Since the league split into a divisional format in 1992, nine SEC teams have navigated their way through the conference with a perfect 8-0 mark. Alabama has done it four times (1992, 1994, 2008 and 2009) while Florida has run the table three times (1995, 1996 and 2009). Tennessee went 8-0 in 1998 and Auburn was 8-0 in 2004.

BACK-TO-BACK 8-0 MARKS: With its win over Auburn, Alabama has completed back-to-back perfect seasons in SEC play. With 8-0 records in each of the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide joins the 1995-96 Florida Gators as the only two SEC teams to post consecutive 8-0 seasons since the league expanded to 12 teams in 1992.

16-GAME SEC WINNING STREAK: Alabama's win over Auburn extends the Crimson Tide's conference regular-season winning streak to 16 games after successive 8-0 seasons in 2008 and 2009. Alabama's last loss in an SEC regular season game came in a 17-10 loss at Auburn on Nov. 24, 2007. The current 16-game regular-season SEC winning streak is the longest by an Alabama team since the Tide reeled off 17 straight SEC wins from 1991-93, which included an 8-0 season in 1992. The current 16-game winning streak is the fourth-longest streak in school history. The Tide won an SEC record 27 straight SEC games from 1976-80 and added a 20-game winning streak from 1973-75.

ALABAMA SEEKS 22ND SEC CHAMPIONSHIP: Alabama seeks its SEC-leading 22nd conference football championship when the Crimson Tide meets Florida in the 2009 SEC Championship Game. The Crimson Tide has more SEC Championships than any other school but is seeking its first league title since 1999. Alabama won the first SEC Championship during the 1933 season as coach Frank Thomas led the Crimson Tide to 5-0-1 conference record. Thomas led Alabama to four SEC Championships. Paul Bryant directed the Crimson Tide to six national championships and 13 SEC titles during his 25-year run in Tuscaloosa. Alabama won five straight SEC Championships from 1971-75 and captured eight of the 10 SEC Championships from 1970-79. In addition to Thomas and Bryant, Alabama has had four other coaches win SEC Championships, including Harold "Red" Drew (1953), Bill Curry (1989), Gene Stallings (1992) and Mike DuBose (1999). In addition to its 21 SEC Championships, Alabama has also won four Southern Conference titles (1924, 1925, 1926 and 1930), giving the school 25 conference football championships.

ALABAMA MAKES 7TH SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME APPEARANCE: Alabama will be playing in its seventh SEC Championship Game as the 2009 SEC Western Division champion. The Crimson Tide won the SEC Western Division title with a perfect 8-0 league record. Alabama also won the 2008 SEC Western Division championship with a perfect 8-0 record. Alabama won SEC Western Division Championships in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1999. Florida has been Alabama's opponent in all five of the Tide's previous SEC Championship Game appearances. In 1992, Alabama defeated Florida, 28-21, in the inaugural SEC Championship Game at Birmingham's Legion Field. Alabama lost to Florida in 1993, 1994, 1996 and 2008 with the last three games played in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. In 1999, Alabama earned a 34-7 win over the Gators.

ALABAMA LEADS SEC WEST IN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME APPEARANCES: With its seventh SEC Championship Game appearance, Alabama has played in more title games than any Western Division team. LSU is second with four appearances, followed by Arkansas and Auburn with three and Mississippi State with one. Alabama's seven appearances rank second to Florida, which is making its 10th appearance at this year's game. Alabama and Florida have accounted for 17 of the 38 championship game appearances. Tennessee ranks third in appearances with five. Georgia has three appearances and is the only other SEC Eastern Division school to play in the game.

ALABAMA-FLORIDA SERIES: Alabama holds a 21-14 series lead over Florida in a series that dates back in the Alabama record books to the 1904 season. Florida does not recognize the 1904 game, claiming their team was a "club" team that season. The Crimson Tide and Gators will be meeting for the 36th time in the 2009 SEC Championship Game. Alabama and Florida will be meeting for the seventh time in the SEC Championship game and the Gators hold a 4-2 lead in the previous six meetings. Alabama earned SEC Championships with wins over Florida in 1992 and 1999. Florida beat Alabama in 1993, 1994, 1996 and 2008 for the SEC Championship. Prior to last year's SEC Championship Game meeting, the Crimson Tide and Gators have not played since the 2006 season when Florida posted a 28-13 win at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville. Alabama won the first meeting 29-0 during the 1904 season. Florida's first series win was a 9-2 victory in Tuscaloosa in 1921.

UA PLAYERS FROM SUNSHINE STATE: The 2009 Alabama roster contains 12 players from the state of Florida. The list includes Javier Arenas (Tampa), Terrance Cody (Fort Myers), P.J. Fitzgerald (Coral Springs), Star Jackson (Lake Worth), Marquis Johnson (Sarasota), Mike Johnson (Pensacola), Colin Peek (Jacksonville), Trent Richardson (Pensacola), Chris Rogers (Lakeland), Ed Stinson (Lakeland), Roy Upchurch (Tallahassee) and Nick Williams (Fort Lauderdale).

SABAN VERSUS FLORIDA: Alabama head coach Nick Saban has a 2-4 record in his career against Florida, with five of the six meetings coming while he was the head coach at LSU. He compiled a 2-1 record against the Gators in Gainesville and a 0-2 record in Baton Rouge.

SABAN HAS BROUGHT TWO TEAMS TO ATLANTA: Alabama head coach Nick Saban is the only coach in SEC history to bring two teams to the SEC Championship Game. In addition to his appearances with Alabama the last two seasons, Saban brought LSU in 2001 and 2003. He is 2-1 in SEC Championship Games, leading LSU to wins over Tennessee, 31-20, in 2001, and Georgia, 34-13, in 2003. Saban is the third Alabama coach to lead the Crimson Tide into the SEC Championship Game, joining Gene Stallings (1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996) and Mike DuBose (1999). Florida (Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer) and LSU (Saban and Les Miles) are the only other schools to have more than one coach win the SEC Championship Game.

SABAN LOOKS TO JOIN ELITE COMPANY: Alabama head coach Nick Saban looks to join Paul "Bear" Bryant as the only coaches in history to win an SEC Championship at two different schools. Bryant won 14 SEC championships during his 33-year SEC career, first at Kentucky (1946-53) in 1951 before winning 13 at Alabama (1958-82). Saban has two SEC Championships, leading LSU to the league title in 2001 and 2003. He is one of 12 coaches in SEC history to work at two different SEC schools, joining Mississippi's Houston Nutt and South Carolina's Steve Spurrier as the active SEC coaches on that list.

NO. 1 VERSUS NO. 2 MATCHUPS: The 2008 SEC Championship Game will mark the 41st time since the inception of the Associated Press football poll in 1936 that the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams have met. Florida is ranked No. 1 in the latest AP poll, while Alabama is ranked No. 2. It is the second straight No. 1 vs. No.2 matchup in SEC Championship Game. Last year, Alabama was the No. 1 team entering the SEC Championship, while Florida was ranked No. 2. The top two teams have met 22 times during the regular season and 18 times in conference championship game or bowl games. The No. 1 ranked team owns a 24-15-1 all-time record in these matchups. Alabama is playing in its fifth No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. Alabama is 2-2 in its previous four games matching No. 1 vs. No. 2 with wins over Penn State (1979 Sugar Bowl) and Miami (1993 Sugar Bowl) and losses to Nebraska (1972 Orange Bowl) and Florida (2008 SEC Championship Game).

NO. 1 VERSUS NO. 2 SAME CONFERENCE: The 2009SEC Championship Game marks the seventh time that teams from the same conference have played each other when ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the AP poll. This is the second straight year that No. 1 and No. 2 have met in the SEC Championship Game. Prior to that, the last time it occurred was Nov. 18, 2006, when No. 1 Ohio State defeated No. 2 Michigan 42-39 in Columbus, Ohio. The top-ranked team is 4-2 in the previous six No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups. The Alabama-Florida game is just the second time in SEC history that teams have played one another when ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the AP poll.

TWO GAMES, SAME STADIUM: The 2009 SEC Championship Game will mark the Tide's second game in the Georgia Dome this season. Alabama opened the season on September 5 with a 34-24 win over No. 7 Virginia Tech in the 2009 Chick-fil-A College Kickoff and returns to Atlanta this weekend for the SEC Championship Game. The two Georgia Dome appearances mark the eighth time in school history that Alabama has played two games in the same stadium in the same season. Alabama has also played two games in the same season at Grant Field (1942), Tulane Stadium (1947), the Orange Bowl (1952), the Astrodome (1970), Mississippi Memorial Stadium (1982), the Superdome (1992) and the Georgia Dome (2008 and 2009).

DOME SWEET DOME: Alabama is 10-5-1 all-time in domed stadiums. The 2009 SEC Championship Game is the Tide's second game in a domed stadium this season and its fifth in the last two seasons. In addition to the SEC Championship Game, Alabama opened the season with a 34-24 win over No. 7 Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A College Classic at the Georgia Dome on Sept. 5. The Crimson Tide played three games in dome stadiums last season, including the 2008 Chick-fil-A College Classic (Clemson), the SEC Championship Game (Florida) and the Allstate Sugar Bowl (Utah). Alabama is 1-3 in SEC Championship Games played in the Georgia Dome, playing Florida in 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2008. Alabama is 6-1 (.857) in games played at the Louisiana Superdome, including a 5-1 (.833) mark in Sugar Bowl games.