Florida Statistically Better Than Tide

It is not often a team the caliber of unbeaten Alabama is overmatched statistically, But that's the case this week for the Southeastern Conference Championship Game. As good as Bama has been through 12 games, statistically the Florida Gators have been better in most cases.

Alabama and Florida meet at 4 p.m. EST (3 p.m. central time) Saturday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for the SEC Championship and the right to play for the national title. CBS will televise the game.

In the most important statistic, the teams are even. Both have played and won 12 games.

Florida ranks second in the SEC and 10th in the nation in scoring, 36.5 points per game. Bama is fourth in the league and 25th nationally, 31.7 points. In scoring defense, Florida (9.9 points per game) and Alabama (10.8 points per game) rank first and second--in the SEC and in the nation.

Florida leads the SEC and is sixth in the nation in rushing with 236.7 yards per game. Bama is fourth in the league and 13th nationally at 212.9 per game. In rushing defense, Bama is the league leader and second in the nation allowing 77.1 yards per game. The Gators rank second in the league and eighth in the nation, giving up 89.9 yards per game.

Florida ranks sixth in the league and 64th in the nation in passing offense, 214.7 yards per game. The Tide is eighth in the conference, 89th nationally, 194.5. Both teams are more efficient than he yardage numbers. Florida ranks first in the SEC and third in the nation and Alabama is fourth in the SEC and 36th in the nation in pass efficiency.

In pass defense, Florida is first in the league and in the nation, permitting just 143.2 yards per game. Alabama is second in the SEC and fifth nationally, giving up 156.8 yards. In pass defense efficiency, Alabama is first in the nation, the Gators second.

Florida leads the league and is 12th in the nation in total offense, 451.3 yards per game, and the Tide is fourth in the conference, 40th in the nation, 407.4.

In total defense, the Gators lead the SEC and the nation, allowing 233.1 yards per game. Alabama is second in the league, third nationally, giving up 233.9.

Alabama is best in the SEC in turnover margin and is fifth in the nation at plus 15 (six fumbles recovered, 19 interceptions against six fumbles lost and four interceptions). Florida ranks third in the SEC and 17th nationally at plus 8 (3 fumbles recovered, 20 interceptions against four fumbles lost and 15 interceptions).

The Gators are best in the league on third downs, both offensively and defensively. Florida has converted 77-154 for 50 per cent, allowed just 43-164 for 26.2 per cent. Bama is ninth in the league in third down conversions (63-167 for 37.7 per cent) and second against opponents on third downs (48-166 for 28.9 per cent).

Florida has made 34 quarterback sacks, given up 28. Bama has made 31 sacks, allowed 14.

In the Red Zone, neither teams appears to be particularly strong on offense. Alabama ranks sixth, scoring on 42 of 48 opportunities (21 touchdowns, 21-23 field goals) for 87.5 per cent when the Tide has the ball inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Florida is 10th in the league at 44-56 for 78.6 per cent (28 touchdowns, 16-19 field goals).

It's a different story on defense in the Red Zone. Alabama ranks first, allowing 14-20 for 70 per cent (8 touchdowns, 6-7 field goals), and Florida ranks third, allowing 17-23 for 73.9 per cent (7 touchdowns, 10-12 field goals).

Alabama is fourth in the league in penalties, 46.2 yards per game, Florida seventh, 49.5.

Alabama is first in time of possession, 33 minutes per game, Florida third, 31:28.

The only Florida player to lead the league in an individual statistic is Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, who is first in pass efficiency (Bama's Greg McElroy is fourth).

Javier Arenas leads the lead in kickoff returns (29.5 yards per return), but has fallen to second in punt returns (16.6). Mark Ingram, the leader in rushing much of the season, has also fallen to second at 119.1 yards per game. Alabama's Mark Barron leads the SEC in interceptions with seven (ranking fourth in the nation) and Leigh Tiffin leads the conference in scoring (9.9 points per game) and in field goals and field goal percentage (27-31 for 87.1 per cent). He leads the nation in field goals made.

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