Alabama vs. Florida has emerged as not only the premier rivalry in Southeastern Conference gymnastics, but also among the most prominent in the nation. Tonight the Crimson Tide and Gators go head-to-head in Gainesville. The SEC Network will televise No. 1 Florida vs. No. 5 Alabama beginning at 6 p.m. CST.
Alabama and Florida have combined to win the last five NCAA championships (Alabama 2011 and 2012, Florida 2013, 2014, and 2015) and the last seven SEC titles (Alabama 2009, 2011, 2014, 2015; Florida 2010, 2012, 2013).
The matchup between the conference’s top ranked teams will be Alabama’s fifth meet of the season and third away from Tuscaloosa. It will be the Gators’ fourth meet this season and second in the O’Connell Center.
“This is a wonderful rivalry and there’s nothing like an away meet when you know it’s going to be an intense environment and that you’re going up against the best,” Alabama Coach Dana Duckworth said. “Our goal is to be the best and this gives us an opportunity to see where we stand.”
The home venue has been very good in this rivalry. The two teams traded regular season wins from 2003 to 2014, with the home team picking up the victory each time. Last season, due to a quirk in SEC scheduling that came about with the addition of Missouri to the conference lineup, Florida made its second consecutive trip to Tuscaloosa and Alabama came away with back-to-back wins in the series for the first time since 2001 and 2002.
That same scheduling quirk means that seniors Lauren Beers and Carley Sims are the only members of this year’s Crimson Tide roster who have been to a meet in Gainesville.
Florida comes into the meet sporting a 3-0-0 record including a win over Auburn in the Gators’ SEC opener last Friday. Alabama is 2-2-0 overall and looking to bounce back from a three-fall balance beam performance last Friday against Arkansas.
After facing the Gators, Alabama returns home on Feb. 5 to take on Kentucky in the Crimson Tide’s 12th annual Power of Pink meet. Tickets are available online at RollTide.com or through the Alabama Ticket Office at (205) 348-2262 and located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum.