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Southeastern Conference Digest: November 30, 2016 (via Crimson Magazine)

2016 SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:

No. 1 Alabama (Visiting team) vs. No. 15 Florida (Home team)
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 • 4 p.m. ET (3 p.m. CT)
Atlanta, Ga. • Georgia Dome (71,500) • CBS  Sports

THE  TEAMS:
Alabama (12-0, 8-0 SEC) is the Western Division Champion and the visiting team, while
Florida (8-3, 6-2 SEC) is the Eastern Division Champion and the home team.

NATIONAL  RANKINGS:
Alabama comes into the game as the No. 1-ranked team in the nation in the Associated Press and USA Today polls. Florida is the No. 15th and 16th-ranked team in the nation, respectfully.  

SEC  CHAMPIONSHIP  GAME:
The game, which started in 1992, is in its 25th year.  It was a result of conference expansion, which saw Arkansas and South Carolina become the first members added in SEC history.   Nearly 1.8 million fans have witnessed the pageantry of the game first-hand, with 22 sellouts in its history.  (Only 1993 and 1995 were not). The first two games were played at Legion Field in Birmingham and the game has been played at the Georgia Dome since (1994). This will mark the final SEC Championship Game played at The Georgia Dome.

SEC  CHAMPIONS:
Alabama will be vying for its 26th SEC Championship and third consecutive SEC Championship. Florida is aiming for its ninth SEC Championship and first since 2008. Alabama will be looking to win its fifth SEC Championship under Nick Saban. Jim McElwain is the first coach in SEC history to guide his team to the SEC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons. Alabama is the first undefeated team to play in the SEC Championship Game since LSU in 2011.

TELEVISION COVERAGE:
CBS Sports will televise the game nationally for the 12th  straight year (VERNE LUNDQUIST, Play-by-Play; GARY DANIELSON, Analyst; ALLIE LAFORCE, Sidelines; CRAIG SILVER, Producer).  CBS has aired the game nationally since 2001.  ABC Sports televised the game from 1992-2000.

BIG CROWDS:
The previous 24 SEC Football Championship Games have a total accumulated attendance of 1,791,493.  The 22 games in The Georgia Dome have attracted 1,637,057 fans.  The 74,412 average is over 104 percent of capacity in the 71,500-seat stadium.  Twenty-two of the 24 games have been sold out, including the last 20 consecutive contests. This will be the 23rd consecutive, and final, game in The Georgia Dome. The SEC Championship Game will move to the newly constructed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, located adjacent to The Georgia Dome, in 2017.



SERIES:
Alabama and Florida are meeting for the 40th time in the history of the two schools with Alabama leading the all-time series 25-14. The Crimson Tide won last season’s SEC Championship Game 29-15.

IN  THE  SEC  CHAMPIONSHIP  GAME:
Florida and Alabama are the most common matchup in SEC Championship Game history, meeting eight times prior to this season, with the two programs tied at four wins each. Florida leads the SEC with 12 appearances in the championship game, while Alabama is second with 11. Prior to last season, the two last met in SEC Championship Game in 2009– a No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle of 12-0 teams (won by Alabama). Alabama’s last SEC Championship Game loss was to Florida in 2008, also a meeting of nationally ranked No. 1 vs. No. 2 teams.


ALABAMA  CRIMSON  TIDE  (12-0,  8-0  SEC)
Head Coach: Nick Saban (Kent State, ‘73)
Overall/Years: 203-60-1 (.771) / 21st Season
Alabama/Years: 112-18 (.862) / 10th Season
vs. SEC (regular season): 93-24 (.732) / 15th Season (at Alabama / LSU)
In SEC Championship Games: 5-2 (at Alabama / LSU)
National Rankings: AP (1st); Coaches (1st)
SEC Championships:
24 (1933, 1934, 1937, 1945, 1953, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1971, 1972, 1973,
1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1989, 1992, 1999, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015)
All-Time in SEC Championship Games:
6-4 (1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015)
Current Winning Streak: Won 24

FLORIDA  GATORS  (8-3,  6-2  SEC)
Head Coach: Jim McElwain (Eastern Washington, ‘84)
Overall/Years: 40-23 (.635) / 5th season
Florida/Years: 18-7 (.720) / 2nd season
vs. SEC (regular season): 13-3 (.813)
In SEC Championship Games: 0-1
National Rankings: AP (15th); Coaches (16th)
SEC Championships:
8 (1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2006, 2008)
All-Time in SEC Championship Games:
7-4 (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2006, 2008)
Current Winning Streak:  Lost 1

SERIES/GAME  NOTES:
Record:  UA leads 25-14  •  Last: Alabama 29, Florida 15 (December 5, 2015 in Atlanta, Ga.)
SERIES:  Alabama and Florida are meeting for the 40th time in the history of the two schools with Alabama leading 25-14 ... The Crimson Tide have won the last five meetings between the two teams, including a 29-15 win in the 2015 SEC  Championship Game ... The two squads first met in the 1916, a 16-0 Alabama victory.
LAST  MEETING: Derrick Henry rushed for 189 bruising yards and second-ranked Alabama defeated No. 18 Florida 29-15 in the 2015 Southeastern Conference Championship Game. The Crimson Tide held the Gators to just three yards of offense in the second and third quarters, assuring itself of a spot in the College Football Playoff semifinals. Henry finished with a staggering 44 carries against one of the nation’s top defenses to earn MVP honors. He put Alabama ahead to stay on a 2-yard run late in the first half.
GAME  NOTES:
Alabama is making its 11th all-time appearance in the SEC Championship Game while
Florida is making its 12th showing ... Alabama is looking for its third straight SEC title, while Florida is looking for its first since 2008 ... This is the ninth time the two teams have met in the SEC  Championship Game, with each school winning four of those matchups. The two teams squared off in the first SEC Championship Game in 1992, played at Birmingham’s Legion Field. They also played in the first SEC Championship Game that was held at the Georgia Dome in 1994.

SEC  CHAMPIONSHIP  GAME  NOTES  AND  FIGURES:
Here are some notes and figures on the SEC Championship Game:
• In 24 games, the average winning margin has been 16.67 points.
• Five of the 24 games have been decided by a touchdown or less (1992, 1994,  1997, 2007 and 2012).
• In 24 games, the two participating teams average 52.42 points per game, while the winning team scores 34.33 points per contest.
• Eleven national champions have come from the SEC Championship Game.  Alabama won the national title in 1992, 2009, 2012 and 2015, Auburn won the title in 2011, Florida won the crown in 1996, 2006 and 2008,  Tennessee claimed the honor in 1998 and LSU in 2003 and 2007.
• There have been no shutouts in the history of the game.  In 2002, Arkansas was the first team in SEC Championship Game history to be shutout in the first half.
• The winning team has led at halftime in 19 of the 24 previous games.  In 1997, Tennessee came back to win (30-29) after trailing Auburn at halftime (10-20) and in 2002, LSU trailed 17-10 at halftime before defeating Tennessee, 31-20.  LSU trailed Tennessee, 7-6, at the half of the 2007 game before taking 21-14 win.  In 2011, Georgia led LSU, 10-7, before falling 42-10.
• The team that has scored first in the SEC Championship Game is 13-11, having won seven straight before falling in 2007.  The team that scored first lost the first five games and won three in a row before falling three of the past five seasons.
• The 75,892 attendance at the 2008 Alabama-Florida SEC Championship Game is the largest in the 22 games at the Georgia Dome. 
• The team that comes into the SEC Championship Game with the better ranking (AP/USAToday), holds a 18-6 advantage in the game’s history. 
• In the history of the SEC Championship Game, the most combined losses for the participating teams is five (2007). 
• Eleven times previously, an undefeated team has come into the SEC Championship Game. Those teams are 7-4 in the SEC Championship Game.

RECAP OF PREVIOUS SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES:
1992  Alabama 28, Florida 21, Attendance: 83,091, MVP: Antonio Langham, Alabama
1993  Florida 28, Alabama 13,  76,345, Terry Dean, Florida
1994  Florida 24, Alabama 23, 74,751, Ellis Johnson, Florida
1995  Florida 34, Arkansas 3, 71,325, Danny Wuerffel, Florida
1996  Florida 45, Alabama 30, 74,132, Danny Wuerffel, Florida
1997  Tennessee 30, Auburn 29, 74,896, Peyton Manning, Tennessee
1998  Tennessee 24, Miss. State 14, 74,795, Peerless Price, Tennessee
1999  Alabama 34, Florida 7, 71,500, Freddie Milons, Alabama
2000  Florida 28, Auburn 6, 73,427, Rex Grossman, Florida
2001  LSU 31, Tennessee 20, 74,843, Matt Mauck, LSU
2002  Georgia 30, Arkansas 3, 74,835, David Greene, Georgia
2003  LSU 34, Georgia 13, 74,913, Justin Vincent, LSU
2004  Auburn 38, Tennessee 28, 74,892, Jason Campbell, Auburn
2005  Georgia 34, LSU 14, 73,717, D.J. Shockley, Georgia
2006  Florida 38, Arkansas 28, 73,374, Percy Harvin, Florida
2007  LSU 21, Tennessee 14, 73,832, Ryan Perrilloux, LSU
2008  Florida 31, Alabama 20, 75,892, Tim Tebow, Florida
2009  Alabama 32, Florida 13, 75,514, Greg McElroy, Alabama
2010  Auburn 56, S. Carolina 17, 75,802, Cam Newton, Auburn
2011  LSU 42, Georgia 10, 74,515, Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
2012  Alabama 32, Georgia 28, 75,624, Eddie Lacy, Alabama
2013  Auburn 59, Missouri 42, 75,632, Tre Mason, Auburn
2014  Alabama 42, Missouri 14, 73,526, Blake Sims, Alabama
2015  Alabama 29, Florida 15, 75,320, Derrick Henry, Alabama

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