2008 SEC Championship Game
|2008 SEC Championship Game|
2008 SEC Championship logo.
|Date||December 6, 2008|
|MVP||QB Tim Tebow, Florida|
|Favorite||Florida by 10|
|National anthem||Million Dollar Band
The Pride of the Sunshine
|Halftime show||Million Dollar Band
The Pride of the Sunshine
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers:||Verne Lundquist play-by-play
Gary Danielson color
Tracy Wolfson sideline
|Nielsen ratings||10.4 |
|SEC Championship Game
|2008 SEC football standings|
|#1 Florida x†||7||–||1||13||–||1|
|#6 Alabama x‡||8||–||0||12||–||2|
|#14 Ole Miss||5||–||3||9||–||4|
|Championship: Florida 31, Alabama 20|
|† – BCS representative as champion
‡ – BCS at-large representative
x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
The 2008 Dr Pepper SEC Championship Game was played on December 6, 2008 in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia to determine the 2008 football champion of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The game featured the Florida Gators and the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Gators were classified as the home team. Before this game was played, the designated "home team", chosen on an alternating basis, was 10–6 (11-6 after Florida's win in this game) in SEC Championship Games. The SEC East is 10–6 in SEC Championship games (11-6 after Florida's win), with the Florida Gators accounting for six of the 10 victories. (seven after this game) Before this game, Alabama had represented the SEC West five times in the conference championship game with a 2–3 record.
The SEC Championship Game matches up the winner of the Eastern and Western divisions of the Southeastern Conference. The game was first played in 1992, when the conference expanded from 10 to 12 teams with the addition of Arkansas and South Carolina. The SEC was the first conference in college football to have a conference championship game. Four other conferences currently have conference championship games (Big 12, ACC, CUSA, and MAC).
Alabama entered Nick Saban's second year as head coach with an AP preseason ranking of 24. After finishing the 2007 season 7–6, including a win in the Independence Bowl, the Crimson Tide brought in one of the nation's top recruiting classes and was expected to improve in 2008. The team started off strong in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff with a convincing 34-10 win over #9 Clemson. Four weeks later they shocked the nation by defeating #3 Georgia 41–30 in Athens after building a 31–0 halftime lead. The rest of the season included a 27–21 overtime victory over #16 LSU in Nick Saban's first game in Baton Rouge against his old team, as well as a 36–0 shutout of Auburn to end Alabama's 6-game losing streak to their in-state rival. The Crimson Tide finished the regular season with a 12–0 record and a #1 ranking in the BCS, AP, and Coaches' Polls.
Only two years removed from a national championship, Florida entered the season with high hopes and an AP preseason ranking of 5. The Gators went 9–4 in 2007, and they had many key players returning, including Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. After a 3-0 start, the team suffered a devastating home loss to Ole Miss. However, this loss was later seen as a turning point for Florida. In their last 8 games, the Gators scored no less than 38 points and had an average margin of victory of 39.6. Key victories included #4 LSU (51–21), #6 Georgia (49–10), #25 South Carolina (56–6), and #20 Florida State (45–15). Florida finished the regular season with an 11–1 record and a #2 ranking in the AP Poll.
Game hype and difference in style
After the match-up between Alabama and Florida was set on November 8, when Alabama defeated LSU and Florida defeated Vanderbilt, the game began to receive a lot of hype in sports media. Many college football analysts called the game a "play-in game" for the BCS National Championship, easily making it one of the most anticipated games of the year.
Analyst cited the differences in the teams' styles as a major point of interest. Florida's style of football came directly from Urban Meyer's offensive-minded philosophy of a fast-paced offense and defense, generally using smaller, quicker players. They run a form of the spread offense, using speed to spread the field, which results in quick drives and higher scoring games. The Gators use a basic 4-3 defense and again use speedy players to try to gain an advantage on their opponent.
Alabama on the other hand run an almost complete opposite style of football, led by Nick Saban's defensive-minded philosophy of physical domination on both sides of the ball, generally using bigger, more physical players. The Tide run a smash mouth offensive scheme utilizing a physical offensive line and power running backs to control the line of scrimmage, which results in slower drives, an advantage in time of possession and lower scoring games. On defense the team runs out of a base 3-4 defense, utilizing quick and physical linebackers to allow more flexibility in stopping multiple offensive formations and schemes.
|This section requires expansion. (December 2008)|
|1||8:17||9 plays, 59 yards||4:28||Florida||Carl Moore 3–yard reception from Tim Tebow, Jonathan Phillips kick good||0||7|
|7:23||2 plays, 82 yards||0:54||Alabama||Glen Coffee 11–yard rush, Leigh Tiffin kick good||7||7|
|3:28||5 plays, 12 yards||2:15||Alabama||Leigh Tiffin 30–yard field goal||10||7|
|2||8:59||8 plays, 67 yards||3:51||Florida||Jonathan Phillips 19–yard field goal||10||10|
|2:59||9 plays, 57 yards||4:20||Florida||David Nelson 5–yard reception from Tim Tebow, Jonathan Phillips kick good||10||17|
|3||6:20||15 plays, 91 yards||6:53||Alabama||Mark Ingram 2–yard rush, Leigh Tiffin kick good||17||17|
|0:08||10 plays, 65 yards||3:40||Alabama||Leigh Tiffin 27–yard field goal||20||17|
|4||9:21||11 plays, 62 yards||5:47||Florida||Jeff Demps 1–yard rush, Jonathan Phillips kick good||20||24|
|2:50||8 plays, 65 yards||4:37||Florida||Riley Cooper 5–yard reception from Tim Tebow, Jonathan Phillips kick good||20||31|
- SEC '08 Football Championship from SECSports.com
- al.com:Alabama-Florida on CBS earns best ever rating for an SEC championship game
- "Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida Gators Box Score". ESPN. 2008-12-06. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-06.