Alabama vs. Florida: Ranking the Best BCS Championship Teams Since 2005
For the past decade or so, the letters S.E.C might as well have stood for “college football domination”—teams from this conference have won seven of the last nine BCS national championships, and each of the last six.
The non-conference W-L records of Southeastern Conference teams over this span are equally impressive and prove that SEC football is simply on a different level than their competitors.
Because facts like these back the idea of SEC football being dominant, it is easy to see why I get annoyed when the recurring “Which conference is the best?” debate takes place.
So today, instead of comparing conferences (and eventually crowning the SEC king once again), I will countdown and rank the last six national champions—all of which have come from the nation’s best conference.
6. 2007 LSU Tigers
The ’07 national champs began the season with an uphill battle, as they were presented with the nation’s third toughest schedule.
They navigated through 15 games in a particularly competitive season of college football—represented by the fact that this group is the only two-loss team to ever win the BCS national championship.
Both of LSU’s losses that season came in triple OT—one against No. 18 Kentucky, and another against an Arkansas team that featured Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, and Peyton Hillis.
In addition to these two losses, this LSU team—seemingly filled with role players—won four games by less than seven points apiece.
Familiar Names: Matt Flynn, Glenn Dorsey, and Ricky Jean-Francois
National Championship: LSU 38 Ohio State 24
5. 2006 Florida Gators
The 2006 season was a season of firsts for Florida. They became the first FBS team to achieve real success using the “quarterback by committee” method, and the first school to win both football and men’s basketball national championships in the same season.
The Gators opened this season strong winning their first six games (five of which were played in The Swamp) before falling to a motivated Auburn team on national television. After the Week 7 loss, Florida went on to win seven games in a row—including a championship blowout in Glendale, AZ.
Familiar Names: Reggie Nelson, Chris Leak, Jarvis Moss, Tim Tebow
National Championship: Florida 41 Ohio State 14
4. 2010 Auburn Tigers
Unfortunately for Auburn players and fans, the Tigers are usually considered one of the “little brothers” of the SEC big boys.
In 2010, however, Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, Lombardi award winner Nick Fairley and others teamed up with second year coach Gene Chizik to produce a magical season on the Plains.
Led by their hurry-up, no-huddle offense, Auburn outscored opponents 577-337 and led the SEC in rushing, scoring and first downs during this championship run.
This season was capped off by a game-changing run late in the fourth quarter of the National Championship game. When almost everyone in the stadium thought Auburn RB Michael Dyer was tackled, he stood up and scampered for another 20+ yards. This play fueled the game/championship-winning drive.
Familiar Names: Cam Newton, Nick Fairley, Michael Dyer
National Championship: Auburn 22 Oregon 19
3. 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide
The 2011 Crimson Tide team was a strong defensive unit that featured four players who were drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. With an average margin of victory of 29 points, Alabama did not struggle much this season—aside from a 6-9 November loss to top ranked LSU.
Controversy sparked when the BCS selected Alabama and LSU to compete in a January rematch for the national championship. The Crimson Tide won the rematch and became the only team to pitch a shutout in a BCS championship game.
Familiar Names: Trent Richardson, Dont’a Hightower, Mark Barron
National Championship: Alabama 21 LSU 0
2. 2008 Florida Gators
“The Promise.” To some, these two words carry little significance. To fans of the Gators, those two words—much less hearing all 41 seconds of Tim Tebow’s postgame speech—can bring chills to the skin.
After blowing out three early opponents, all looked well in the ’08 version of Gator Nation. This comfortable feeling all but evaporated after the Gators, who were favored by 22 points, lost to a young Ole Miss team in Gainesville.
This early season loss was enough for the team’s leader and QB Tim Tebow to make his, now famous, post-game promise.
After issuing “The Promise,” Tebow led the Gators to their second title in three years and 10 straight victories in which only No. 1 Alabama, and No. 1 Oklahoma even came within 28 points of this team on a mission.
Familiar Names: Tim Tebow, Brandon Spikes, Percy Harvin
National Championship: Florida 24 Oklahoma 14
1. 2009 Alabama Crimson Tide
Boasting six All-Americans, the nation’s top linebacker (Rolando McClain), the nation’s top assistant coach (Kirby Smart) and the Heisman Trophy winner (Mark Ingram), the 2009 Crimson Tide seemed destined to bring home the crystal football.
Similar to the 2011 Alabama team, this squad fielded a dominating defense—holding 10 of their 14 opponents to less than 15 total points, and holding six of those opponents to seven points or less.
This defense, combined with offensive standouts Mark Ingram, Greg McElroy and Julio Jones, made Alabama a balanced, dominating team both offensively and defensively.
This balance on both sides of the ball allowed the Tide to amass an average margin of victory of about 20 points even though their schedule featured six teams ranked in the nation’s top 25.
Familiar Names: Julio Jones, Terrance Cody, Dont’a Hightower
National Championship: Alabama 37 Texas 21