Bama Once Again Plays Top Game

When you are the number one team, there are opportunities to be playing in the nation's top game. Last week Alabama defeated No. 10 Arkansas, 24-20, in Fayetteville, in college football's feature match. This week the Crimson Tide hosts Florida, ranked seventh in the nation, which will be the top game in the country.



 The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators will kick off shortly after 7 p.m. CDT in a game that CBS selected for prime time telecast from Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Florida was the 2008 national championship team, while Alabama went undefeated and won the crown in 2009. The Gators defeated Bama in the 2008 Southeastern Conference Championship Game, while the Tide topped Florida in last year's SEC title game contest.

The SEC expanded to 12 teams in 1992 and began its championship game at the end of that season--with Alabama defeating Florida, 28-21, in that contest.

This is the eighth rematch of an SEC Championship Game in the immediate next season and the fifth in a regular season SEC game.  In the rematches, the team that won the SEC title game is 3-4 in the following game.  These include:

1992 SEC Championship Game – Alabama 28, Florida 21 (rematch: 1993 SEC Championship Game – Florida 28, Alabama 13)

1993 SEC Championship Game – Florida 28, Alabama 13 (rematch: 1994 SEC Championship Game – Florida 24, Alabama 23)

1995 SEC Championship Game – Florida 34, Arkansas 3 (rematch: 1996 – Florida 42, at Arkansas 7)

1997 SEC Championship Game – Tennessee 30, Auburn 29 (rematch: 1998 – Tennessee 17, at Auburn 9)

2000 SEC Championship Game – Florida 28, Auburn 6 (rematch: 2001 – at Auburn 23, Florida 20)

2003 SEC Championship Game – LSU 34, Georgia 13 (rematch: 2004 – at Georgia 45, LSU 16)

2008 SEC Championship Game – Florida 31, Alabama 20 (rematch: 2009 SEC Championship Game – Alabama 32, Florida 13)

2009 SEC Championship Game – Alabama 32, Florida 13 (rematch: 2010 at Tuscaloosa)

The game is a pairing of two of the top three winningest teams in the SEC since 2006.  Since 2006, Florida has the SEC's best overall mark at 51-7 (87.9 per cent) while Alabama is third at 42-15 (73.7 per cent).

The game is a pairing of two of the most successful SEC head coaches in league history.  Currently, Florida coach Urban Meyer has the league's best win percentage in all games at SEC schools (85.7, 60-10) and in SEC vs. SEC games win percentage (80.0, 36-9) while Alabama's Nick Saban is seventh in win percentage in all games at SEC schools (77.88, 84-24) and fifth in SEC vs. SEC games win percentage (75.0, 51-17).

Starting quarterbacks for both teams are a combined 21-0.  Alabama's Greg McElroy is 17-0 as a starting quarterback while Florida's John Brantley is 4-0 as a starter.

McElroy was the MVP of the SEC Championship Game at the end of last season.

Alabama and Florida are number one and number two in the SEC in scoring offense (UA – 39.5; UF – 37.8); number two and number three in total defense (UA – 295.2; UF – 295.5) and number one and number three in scoring defense (UA – 9.8; UF – 14.2).  Florida and Alabama have given up just one rushing TD each this season.

Alabama extended its nation's best record of not allowing an opposing rusher to run for 100 yards to 38 when it held the Razorbacks to a total of 64 rushing yards Saturday.

Alabama's game against the Razorbacks was the SEC season-opener for the Crimson Tide and marked the 17th straight year Alabama has won the first conference game of the year. Bama has now won 17 consecutive SEC games, 18 consecutive games, and 28 consecutive regular season games. Going back to the start of the 2008 season, Alabama is 30-2.

In addition to Alabama being ranked number one and Florida number seven in both the Associated Press and the USA Today Coaches' polls, four other SEC teams are ranked this week. Auburn is 10th in the AP and 11th in the Coaches, LSU is 12th in the AP and 10th in the Coaches, Arkansas is 15th in both, and South Carolina is 19th in the AP, 22nd in the Coaches.

Both the SEC and Big 10 have six teams ranked in polls this week.

 The SEC has had a least five teams ranked in at least one AP poll every year since expansion (1992).  Since 1992, the SEC has had a least five teams ranked in the AP Top 25 a total of 218 times, an average of 11.4 times per year.  Since 1992, the SEC has had a least five teams ranked for at least 10 weeks in 15 of the last 18 (not including 2010). 

Here are notes from the SEC this week:  

In 47 games this season, SEC teams have allowed just 48 rushing touchdowns.  In all, SEC teams have allowed 108 total touchdowns, of which 101 have been from opposing offenses. 

SEC teams were 3-0 against non-conference foes during the fourth weekend of the season.  For the season, the SEC is 22-3 (.880) against non-conference competition.   The SEC currently has the nation's top non-conference winning percentage (.880).  The Big 12 (34-6, ..850) and Big Ten (34-8, .810) follow closely behind.

After four weeks and 31 games at SEC stadiums, games have drawn 2,409,015 fans, an average of 77,710 fans per game.  Stadiums have been filled to an average 97.97 percent capacity with 15 sellouts.

Two of the SEC's four intra-conference games this past weekend were decided by eight points or less.  Since 2004, the SEC has had 49.5 percent of its games (151 of 305 total games) decided by 10 points or less.  That figure is third of all FBS conferences (ACC – 54.8 percent; Sun Belt – 52.2 percent). 

The LSU-Tennessee series is the second most competitive of all SEC series (min. 4 games played) since 2000.  In six games, the average margin is 6.67 points per game. 

For the 10th straight year, the Southeastern Conference has le the nation in total number of former players on NFL opening weekend rosters.  The SEC has 272 of its former players on opening weekend NFL rosters followed by the ACC at 228.  The Big Ten is third at 217, Big 12 fourth at 184 and the Pac-10 fifth at 180.  Among SEC schools, LSU led with 35 (fourth nationally) followed by Florida, Georgia and Tennessee with 33 each (tied for sixth nationally). 

Leading Statistical Performances from Week 4

Rushing

228 yards (19 carries, 2 TDs) – Brandon Bolden, Ole Miss vs. Fresno State

176 yards (25 carries, 3 TDs) – Cameron Newton, Auburn vs. South Carolina

157 yards (24 carries, 2 TDs) – Mark Ingram, Alabama vs. Arkansas

116 yards (20 carries, 1 TD) – Stevan Ridley, LSU vs. West Virginia

103 yards (23 carries) – Derrick Locke, Kentucky vs. Florida

100 yards (23 carries) – Michael Dyer, Auburn vs. South Carolina

Passing

357 yards (25-of-38, 1 TD, 3 INTs) – Ryan Mallett, Arkansas vs. Alabama

274 yards (18-of-31, 1 TD, 0 INT) – Aaron Murray, Georgia vs. Mississippi State

248 yards (24-of-35, 1 TD, 1 INT) – John Brantley, Florida vs. Kentucky

245 yards (19-of-34, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) – Matt Simms, Tennessee vs. UAB

242 yards (21-of-39, 1 TD, 2 INTs) – Mike Hartline, Kentucky vs. Florida

235 yards (15-of-21, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) – Stephen Garcia, South Carolina vs. Auburn

 Receiving

8 catches (192 yards, 2 TDs) – Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina vs. Auburn

7 catches (67 yards) – Randall Cobb, Kentucky vs. Florida

6 catches (114 yards, 2 TDs) – Chris Matthews, Kentucky vs. Florida

6 catches (131 yards) – Jarius Wright, Arkansas vs. Alabama

5 catches (55 yards) – Julio Jones, Alabama vs. Arkansas

5 catches (63 yards) – D.J. Williams, Arkansas vs. Alabama

5 catches (68 yards, 2 TDs) – Denarius Moore, Tennessee vs. UAB

5 catches (86 yards) – Deonte Thompson, Florida vs. Kentucky

5 catches (37 yards, 1 TD) – Trey Burton, Florida vs. Kentucky

 Defense

12 tackles (7-5) (2.5 TFL -4) – Jonathan Cornell, Ole Miss vs. Fresno State

11 tackles (9-2) – Jerry Franklin, Arkansas vs. Alabama

11 tackles (5-6) – Kelvin Sheppard, LSU vs. West Virginia

10 tackles (7-3) (1 TFL – 1; 1 PBU) – Chris Mitchell, Mississippi State vs. Georgia

10 tackles (8-2) – Akeem Dent, Georgia vs. Mississippi State

10 tackles (7-3) (2.5 TFL -8; 1 FF; 1 BLK; 2.0 sacks -7) – Allen Walker, Ole Miss vs. Fresno State 

All-Purpose Yards

243 yards (228 rush/15 rec.) – Brandon Bolden, Ole Miss vs. Fresno State

227 yards (85 rush/25 rec./117 kickoff) – Trent Richardson, Alabama vs. Arkansas

193 yards (103 rush/10 rec./80 kickoff) – Derrick Locke, Kentucky vs. Florida

192 yards (192 rec.) – Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina vs. Auburn

184 yards (157 rush/27 rec.) – Mark Ingram, Alabama vs. Arkansas

176 yards (176 rush) – Cameron Newton, Auburn vs. South Carolina

 Total Offensive Yards

350 yards (357 pass/-7 rush) – Ryan Mallett, Arkansas vs. Alabama

334 yards (158 pass/176 rush) – Cameron Newton, Auburn vs. South Carolina

256 yards (235 pass/21 rush) – Stephen Garcia, South Carolina vs. Auburn

249 yards (248 pass/1 rush) – John Brantley, Florida vs. Kentucky

237 yards (242 pass/-5 rush) – Mike Hartline, Kentucky vs. Florida

228 yards (228 rush) – Brandon Bolden, Ole Miss vs. Fresno State

Schedule of Games for Oct. 2

Louisiana-Monroe (1-2) at Auburn (4-0, 2-0) (11 a.m. CT) (ESPNU)

Alcorn State (3-0) at Mississippi State (2-2, 1-2) (11 a.m. CT) (FSN & ESPN3.com)

Vanderbilt (1-2, 1-1) at Connecticut (2-2) (Noon ET) (Big East Network)

Kentucky (3-1, 0-1) at Ole Miss (2-2, 0-1) (11: 21 a.m. CT) (SEC Network & ESPN3.com)

Tennessee (2-2, 0-1) at LSU (4-0, 2-0) (2:30 p.m. CT) (CBS & CBSSports.com)

Georgia (1-3, 0-3) at Colorado (2-1) (7 p.m. ET) (FSN)

Florida (4-0, 2-0) at Alabama (4-0, 1-0) (7 p.m. CT) (CBS & CBS Sports.com) 

Results from Sept. 25

Tennessee 32, UAB 29 (2OT) (95,183 at Knoxville, Tenn.)

Alabama 24, Arkansas 20 (76,808 at Fayetteville, Ark.)

Florida 48, Kentucky 14 (90,547 at Gainesville, Fla.)

Mississippi State 24, Georgia 12 (56,721 at Starkville, Miss.)

Auburn 35, South Carolina 27 (87,237 at Auburn, Ala.)

Ole Miss 55, Fresno State 38 (55,267 at Oxford, Miss.)

LSU 20, West Virginia 14 (92,575 at Baton Rouge, La.)

BamaMag Top Stories