Alabama football: Top 5 best Alabama-Florida games"> Top 5 Alabama Vs. Florida Football Games
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Alabama football: Top 5 best Alabama-Florida games

Photo by Cedric Mason/TDAL Magazine

Stephen “Steve” Spurrier made the Alabama-Florida matchups competitive when he was the Gators head coach, but both programs have faced each other 37 times since 1916.

Alabama and Florida were neck and neck in the 1920s and 1930s.

Coach Paul Bryant, who arrived at Alabama in 1958, defeated Florida in seven of eight meetings. The series became intense when Spurrier came to Gainesville, Fla., in 1990.

The Gators went 6-3 in nine meetings against the Crimson Tide. A Southeastern Conference championship has been the prize in seven of the 37 meetings between both institutions.

Listed below is a breakdown of the top five best Alabama-Florida matchups in series history.

 

5. 2005—The upset at Bryant-Denny Stadium

  • Coaches: Mike Shula vs. Urban Meyer
  • Venue: Bryant-Denny Stadium (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
  • Final Score: Alabama 31, Florida 3

Summary: Alabama fans were starting to believe again, despite two sub-par seasons from head coach Mike Shula in 2003 and 2004. The Crimson Tide were 4-0 in 2005, prior to its matchup with No.5-ranked Florida on Oct. 1, 2005.

Alabama’s quarterback Brodie Croyle was stellar. He threw for 283 passing yards with three touchdowns, including two to wide receiver Tyrone Prothro. Prothro totaled 134 yards on five receptions, while running back Kenneth Darby pounded Florida for 101 yards on 15 carries.

Florida’s offense could establish any momentum. Its quarterback, Chris Leak, was pressured numerous times and looked out of sync on the field. The Gators generated three points, however, Alabama got the win 31-3. It would end the 2005 season with a 10-2 record.

 

4. 2008—Tim Tebow delivers (SEC Championship Game)

  • Coaches: Nick Saban vs. Urban Meyer
  • Venue: Georgia Dome (Atlanta, Ga,)
  • Final Score: Florida 31, Alabama 20

Summary: Tim Tebow did not repeat as a Heisman winner in 2008, yet he did guide the Gators to an SEC Championship Game matchup against No.1-ranked Alabama.

Tebow accounted for 273 yards and three touchdowns. Florida converted 7 of 13 third downs, and its defense forced a turnover. It outgained Alabama in total yards by 35 (358-323).

Running backs Glenn Coffee and Mark Ingram both recorded a touchdown for Alabama, and quarterback John Parker Wilson managed the game well, but Tebow proved to be too much.

Florida defeated Alabama 31-20, and move on to win its third national title in program history.

 

3. 1999—Shaun Alexander hurts Florida twice

  • Coaches: Mike DuBose vs. Steve Spurrier
  • Venue: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium/Georgia Dome
  • Final Score(s): Alabama 40, Florida 39/Alabama 34, Florida 7

Summary: Mike DuBose, like Shula, had a plan for success in his third season at Alabama.

The Crimson Tide squared off against Florida twice in 1999, with the first meeting on October 2 in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (Gainesville, Fla.). Kentucky native and Alabama running back Shaun Alexander was unstoppable, accounting for 106 rushing yards, 94 receiving yards and four total touchdowns. The Crimson Tide rendered “The Swamp” speechless in its 40-39 win.

Both schools were ranked in the top 10 nationally heading into its second meeting, the 1999 SEC title game. Florida’s offense failed to produce in the Georgia Dome, and Alexander made its defense pay. He tallied 97 rushing yards and a touchdown on 30 carries.

Alabama’s quarterback Andrew Zow connected on 10 of 17 pass attempts for 134 passing yards and touchdown. The Crimson Tide defeated Florida 34-7, to capture a conference championship.

 

2. 1992—Antonio Langham saves college football

  • Coaches: Eugene “Gene” Stallings vs. Steve Spurrier
  • Venue: Legion Field (Birmingham, Ala.)
  • Final Score: Alabama 28, Florida 21

Summary: The vision of former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer almost became an utter disaster for Alabama and college football in 1992. The Crimson Tide bolted a tenacious defense entering the inaugural SEC Championship Game against Florida.

Alabama led 21-7 in the third quarter, until Florida tied the game with touchdowns from running back Errict Rhett and wide receiver Willie Jackson. The Gators had all the momentum, but with 3:16 left in regulation, Alabama’s cornerback Antonio Langham would save college football.

His 27-yard interception return for a touchdown off Florida’s quarterback Shane Matthews would be the difference maker. Alabama won the game 28-21, and would capture its first national title under head coach Gene Stallings. The game propelled the SEC into a dominant conference, and convinced others to develop a conference championship game.

 

1. 2009—Alabama gets revenge (SEC Championship Game)

  • Coaches: Nick Saban vs. Urban Meyer
  • Venue: Georgia Dome
  • Final Score: Alabama 32, Florida 13

Summary: Alabama’s nemeses was Florida under Saban in 2009. It had a sour taste in its mouth after losing to the Gators in the 2008 SEC title game. The Crimson Tide ripped off an undefeated regular season, forcing a rematch against head coach Urban Meyer and Florida.

Alabama’s defense was ready for Tebow this time. It forced an interception and held Florida to 13 points. Running back Mark Ingram ran through the Gators defense, totaling 113 yards and three touchdowns. Greg McElroy completed 12 of 18 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown.

Alabama beat Florida 32-13, securing its first conference title since the 1992 season.

It would go on to defeat Texas 37-21 in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game.

 

2009 SEC Championship Alabama vs. Florida

Stephen M. Smith is a staff writer and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine, Pick Six Previews and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

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