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Who is the Greatest SEC Football Team?
When the Crimson Tide defeats the Texas Longhorns in the BCS National Championship game on Thursday night; Alabama will be playing for its 19th SEC football championship. Or 36. Or 53. Or whatever you want. It depends on how we define “national championship” what the total might be.
Something that is positive is that if the Crimson Tide beats Texas, SEC football can win at least 2 of the 4 major “national championship” trophies for the fourth straight season. The winner of the game was legally promised the AFCA National Championship trophy and the National Football Foundation’s MacArthur Bowl. The winner will almost certainly win the AP Paul “Bear” Bryant Trophy and the FVAA Grantland Rice Award, as well.
Following are the SEC football colleges that were named the final No. 1 in the three major polls. (The AP poll began in ’36, the coaches in ’50, and the FVAA in ’54.)
University of Tennessee Volunteers, 1951: The University of Tennessee opened as the number one team in the AP preseason poll, even though they were not the absolute winners of SEC football.
Auburn University, ’51- Auburn University finished 10-0 outscoring its opponents 207-28 as SEC Football’s Jimmy Phillips anchored the nation’s No. 1 defense.
Louisiana State University Tigers, 58: The LSU Fighting Tigers posted a 13-3 win over the University of Alabama in Mobile, Alabama in the second game of their 10-0 regular season.
Rebels, 1960 – Backed by All-American quarterback Jake Gibbs, the University of Mississippi Rebels finished 10-0-1 by defeating the Rice University Owls 14-6 in the Sugar Bowl.
Alabama, 1961 – The first of six SEC football teams, coached by Paul “Bear” Bryant, Alabama was ranked No. 1 in the final AP poll, outscoring its opponents 287-22 in its senior year and finishing in first in all-around defense and tied for the same spot in the final AP and coaches polls.
Crimson Tide, ’64: Alabama’s 10-0 regular season campaign included a 36-6 victory over the Tulane Green Wave in Mobile, AL.
University of Alabama Crimson Tide, ’65: The University of Alabama finished the SEC football regular season 8-1-1, losing the season opener by 1 point to The UGA Bulldogs and tying the University of Tennessee Volunteers on the 3rd Saturday in October.
University of Alabama, ’73: The highest-scoring team in Crimson Tide history and the most productive rushing team in SEC football history raced through eleven regular-season games to reach the final No. 1 in the coaches’ poll.
Crimson Tide, 78: The University of Alabama led the first three AP polls of the year, then failed to regain the top spot until the last one — becoming No. 1 by topping the previously unbeaten Penn State Nittany Lions 14-7 in Sugar Bowl with the famous goal line play.
the Crimson Tide, 79: The Alabama Crimson Tide became the No. 1 SEC football team to be ranked number one in each of the three major polls.
University of Georgia, 1980 – The University of Georgia defeated the University of Notre Dame 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl behind the genius of SEC football freshman Herschel Walker.
University of Alabama, ’92: The Alabama Crimson Tide were crowned in all three terminal polls, but not until they topped the favored and previously undefeated Miami Hurricanes 34-13 in the Sugar Bowl.
University of Florida, 1996 – The championship ambitions of the Florida Gators appeared to be gone when they lost the final game of the SEC football regular season 24-21 to Florida State.
Tennessee, 98: The University of Tennessee Volunteers won the first BCS title game, which was played as the Fiesta Bowl and introduced the two-team “playoff” that is still used today to choose the national champion.
LSU Bayou Bengals, 2003 – Led by current Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban, the Louisiana State University Fighting Tigers defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 21-14 in the BCS championship game, which was also the Sugar Bowl.
Florida Gators, 06-12-1 Florida picked up three No. 1 rankings by defeating Ohio State 41-14 in the first BCS national championship game that also wasn’t an existing bowl game.
Louisiana State University Tigers, ’07- LSU followed the Florida Gators recipe to the top by defeating Ohio State in the BCS National Championship game.
Florida, 08: The University of Florida Gators bounced back from a one-point loss in September to The Ole Miss Rebels to finish 13-1, handing the Crimson Tide its first loss in a huge SEC football championship game and downing The Sooners 24-14 in the championship game BHS.
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