Alabama Adds To Legacy With Title

Not many are thinking about the Southeastern Conference championship with the national championship dead ahead. But when Alabama won the SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, it preserved a remarkable record for the Crimson Tide.

The SEC was formed in 1933 and Alabama won the first conference championship. The league has had football in eight different decades and the Crimson Tide is the only team to have won at least one title in each of those decades. This was Bama's last chance for the 2000-2009 period.

Alabama has now won 22 SEC championships, far more than any others.

Alabama was playing in its seventh SEC Championship Game, all against Florida. The win pulled the Tide to within a win of being even with the Gators. Florida has won four, Bama three.

Alabama is now 13-0, matching the Crimson Tide record for victories in a season. A 14th win in the Bowl Championship Series in Pasadena on January 7 would be the new Bama standard. Alabama went 13-0 in the 1992 national championship year, the first year of the SEC Championship Game.

The 2009 squad is the fifth in school history to win at least 12 games, joining the 1979, 1992, 1994 and 2008 squads.

Alabama is now 22-14 against Florida. Gators Coach Urban Meyer is now 2-2 vs. Alabama. Nick Saban is 1-1 vs. the Gators at Alabama.

Alabama's BCS Championship Game will be played in the Rose Bowl stadium, although it is not the Rose Bowl. Alabama has played in six Rose Bowl games with a 4-1-1 record. The first Rose Bowl was the 1925 team and the last the 1945 team. Bama also played against UCLA in a regular season game in the Rose Bowl stadium in the 2000 season opener.

Alabama is expected to meet Texas in the BCS title game. Bama has never beaten the Longhorns, a Tide record of 0-7-1.

Alabama is 2-0 in the Georgia Dome this year. Bama opened the season with a 34-24 win over Virginia Tech in Atlanta. Alabama is 31-28-3 all-time in games played in the state of Georgia, including a 4-1 mark the last two seasons. The Crimson Tide owns an 18-16-3 record in the city of Atlanta and has won eight of its last 11 games played there. Alabama is 13-10 in games played in Athens and 0-2 in Columbus.

Alabama is 8-2 against the Associated Press Top 25 since the start of the 2008 season. The Crimson Tide's victory over Florida was Bama's fifth win over a top 10 team dating back to the start of the 2008 season. Alabama is 5-0 against the AP Top 25 in the 2009 season. Alabama wins over ranked teams this year have been against Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Ole Miss, LSU and Florida.

Sophomore running back Mark Ingram rushed for 113 yards on 28 carries against Florida, giving him 1,542 rushing yards this season, moving him into first place on the Alabama single-season rushing list. He moved ahead of Bobby Humphrey, who had 1,471 in 1986. Ingram had his seventh 100-yard rushing game of this season Saturday.

Alabama had a 19-13 halftime lead. Teams leading at the half have now won 14 of the 18 SEC Championship games.

Alabama has lost only one game under Coach Nick Saban when leading at the half. The Tide has won 28 times when leading at the half.

Alabama and Florida will play each other next season in regular season play in Tuscaloosa.

Each year during the SEC Championship Game, a former player representing each school is honored as a legend. Bama's representative this year was former All-America cornerback Antonio Langham, the most valuable player in the first SEC Championship Game. Langham's interception and return for a touchdown was the game-winner in the Crimson Tide's 28-21 win over Florida in the 1992 SEC Championship Game. Bama went from there to the national championship.

Captains for Alabama were tight end Colin Peek, offensive guard Mike Johnson, linebacker Rolando McClain, and cornerback/return specialist Javier Arenas.

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