Classic SEC Football: Alabama Tops Florida in the 1992 SEC Championship Game

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterApril 20, 2012

Alabama DB Antonio Langham celebrates the game-winning touchdown / Photo credit: Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale
Alabama DB Antonio Langham celebrates the game-winning touchdown / Photo credit: Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale

The 1992 SEC Championship Game will go down as one of the most influential college football games in modern college football history. Not because of the outcome, but for what it did to the landscape of the game.

At the time, opinions were divided on whether having conference championship games would be good for conferences. Roy Kramer, who was the commissioner of the SEC and the man behind the experiment, rolled the dice and changed college football forever.

Detractors said that the game would be bad for conferences in the national title hunt. As luck—or fate—would have it, the Alabama Crimson Tide rolled into Birmingham on December 5, 1992 with an 11-0 record and a No. 2 ranking. Florida entered the season as defending SEC Champions, but sputtered to a disappointing 8-3 record.

Alabama jumped out to a 21-7 lead midway through the third quarter, but touchdowns by Willie Jackson late in the third and Errict Rhett midway through the fourth would tie the game at 21. With just over three minutes to play in the game, Florida had the ball with a chance to win. 

Kramer's worst fears were coming true. The inaugural SEC Championship Game could cost a team in his conference a shot at the national championship.

On the first play from scrimmage, Antonio Langham picked off Shane Matthews and took it the other way for a 21-yard pick-six to give the Tide the 28-21 victory. 

Alabama would go on to beat Miami in the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 1993 to claim the 1992 National Championship.

The outcome of the 1992 SEC Championship Game not only vaulted Alabama to a national championship, but it solidified a place for conference championship games in the landscape of college football.

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