Should No. 1 LSU win out through the BCS national championship game on Jan. 7 in New Orleans, the Tigers will go down as the longest No. 1 ranked national champion in Southeastern Conference history.
It would be the closest thing to a
wire-to-wire champion that the league will have ever had. Should the Tigers win
out to finish 14-0 and thus retain their Associated Press No. 1 ranking as of
Sept. 30, it will be the longest consecutive-weeks run at No. 1 of the 16
recognized national champions from the SEC. LSU went to No. 1 in the USA Today,
Coaches, and Harris polls on Oct. 7 after beating No. 9 Florida 28-24 on Oct.
There has never been an SEC team
No. 1 without interruption in the months of September, October, November,
December and January. LSU (6-0) is "just" eight wins away from
No, Alabama was never No. 1 that long through a
national championship claim. The longest run at No. 1 by a Crimson Tide national
championship team was in 1979. Bear Bryant's team went to No. 1 following a 40-0
win at Florida
on Oct. 13 and won its next six regular season games, including a 3-0 win at
LSU, to finish 11-0. But it fell to No. 2 in the final regular season poll
before going into the Sugar Bowl against No. 6 Arkansas. Alabama won 24-9 and
captured the AP and United Press International (Coaches) national
The 1978 Alabama team went into
the season at No. 1 and beat No. 10 Nebraska and No. 11 Missouri only to fall to
No. 7 USC. The Tide got as high as No. 2 before beating No. 1 Penn State 14-7 in
the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1979, for the AP national championship.
Alabama's 1973 UPI national championship team
did not get to No. 1 until it beat No. 7 LSU when the Tide was No. 2 by a 21-7
score on Nov. 22, 1973. No. 1 Alabama beat Auburn 35-0 in its next game before falling 24-23 to No. 3
Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. The UPI Coaches poll retained Bama No. 1.
Most of the SEC national champions
did not get to No. 1 for good until late in the season or until winning the bowl
game to claim the national championship.
No. 1. Florida, for example, was not No.
1 through all of last season until beating Ohio State in the BCS national championship
LSU was not No. 1 in a poll in the
2003 season until winning the BCS national championship over BCS No. 1 Oklahoma
on Jan. 4, 2004. Alabama was not No. 1 in the 1992 season until
it beat No. 1 Miami in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1993.
In 1998, Tennessee became No. 1 after beating UAB 37-13 on Nov. 7
and stayed there for the rest of the season, wrapping up its BCS national
championship with a 23-16 win over Florida State.
In 1996, Florida went to No. 1
after beating No. 2 Tennessee 35-29 on Sept. 21, but the No. 1 Gators lost 24-21
to No. 2 Florida State on Nov. 30 and fell to No. 3. Then the No. 3 Gators beat
the No. 1 Seminoles 42-20 in the Sugar Bowl for the national
In 1980, Georgia became No. 1
following the 92-yard, "Run, Lindsay, Run" touchdown by wide receiver Lindsay
Scott to beat Florida 26-21 on Nov. 10 and remained through its 17-10 win over
Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl for the national championship.
Alabama won national championships in 1961,
1964 and 1965 without getting to No. 1 until late or at the end of the
Ole Miss was ranked No. 1 following
a 42-0 win over Houston on Sept. 17, 1960, and stayed at No. 1
or No. 2 through late October, but a 6-6 tie at unranked LSU on Oct. 29 dropped
the Rebels to No. 6. They won their next three and rose to No. 2 before beating
Rice 14-6 in the Sugar Bowl and were awarded the Football Writers Association of
America national championship.
Auburn won the Associated Press national
championship in 1957 after not getting to No. 1 until the last week of the
regular season. It was on probation and not eligible for a bowl. Tennessee
opened the 1951 season at No. 1 but dropped to No. 3 and No. 2 at various times
during the season without losing before staying at No. 1 beginning in late
The current longest No. 1 run by a
national champion was by guess who? It was in 1958 by LSU, which moved into the
No. 1 position following a 10-7 win over Florida on Oct 25 and stayed there through its
7-0 win over No. 12 Clemson in the Sugar Bowl.
LSU opened the 1959 season at No. 1
and stayed there until a 14-13 loss at Tennessee on Nov. 7, 1959. It was never No. 1
again in the regular season until Sept. 30, 2007.