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Alabama vs. Florida: A Game That Makes Champions

December 5th 1992 a day that many Alabama fans can remember as if it were yesterday. It was a day that would go on to shape not only a conference but all of college football. On that cold December day in Birmingham the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators played in the first ever SEC title game. This game had a lot at stake and was not without controversy. For the Alabama Crimson Tide this game was the only thing standing between them and an appearance in the national title game against the team of the decade the Miami Hurricanes. This was a game that many people including some of the head coaches of the conference, thought should not happen. Many people said that a championship game in the SEC would help with the “Cannibalism of the SEC”. None the less it was decided that the game was needed to help make the conference even better.

The Florida Gators entered this game now out of the National Title picture but now with only 1 goal on their minds, to win the first ever SEC Championship game. The game was hard fought for all four quarters the entire game but it was a now famous interception by then sophomore Antonio Langham late in the fourth quarter that sealed the game for the Crimson Tide 28-21. The Crimson Tide would go on to win the national championship later that season. Thus proving that although risky, the SEC Title game was more helpful than hurtful. This might not might not have been the first meeting between these teams, it was clearly the most important to date.

Although this was a crushing loss for the Florida Gators, this was not the last time that we would see the Gators in a SEC Championship game. The Gators would go on to win four strait SEC Championships defeating the Crimson Tide in three of those games. These teams were clearly improving and were ahead of the pack in the SEC to this point. Believe it or not it did seem like these teams were feeding off each other and if one of them was taking steps forward then the other would surely not be far behind. These teams would go on to only face each other two times from 2000-2007 with each team splitting the series.

It was not until the 2008 season that this rivalry would come back to life. In 2008 the Crimson Tide and the Gators would once again meet in the SEC Championship Game. This game not only had National Championship game implications, but it was also the introduction for an all new generation into this rivalry. This game was a star studded affair with many future NFL stars playing on both side of the ball for both teams. This was yet another had fought game that was 20-17 in favor of Alabama entering the fourth quarter until the Gators put up 14 points in the 4th quarter to win the game 31-20. The Gators would go on to win the National Championship that year and the Crimson Tide would go on to lose the Sugar Bowl.

The next season the Crimson Tide would come back more motivated than ever and would go on to an undefeated regular season and win the SEC West and earn another appearance in the SEC Championship game. The Gators would also go undefeated in the regular season, and this set up a #1 vs #2 in the SEC Championship with a birth in the national title game. This game was different than any other SEC Championship game that these two teams had played in before. This game was close at halftime with Alabama up 19-13, but it was the second half of the game that would be the determining factor of the game in which Alabama shut out the Florida Gators to win the game 32-13, and just as the many times before the winner would go on to win the National Championship.

So say what you want about this game that it’s not a true rivalry game, but the fact is that although these teams do not face off every year you know that when this game happened that it would have major implications, and that both teams would be up and ready for each other. These two teams built their programs off the fact that they knew that the other was working just as hard as they were.

 

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