Preview: Alabama vs. Florida
CFP Staff with contributions from SECsports.com
Florida and Alabama meet in the SEC Championship Game for the second year in a row and the seventh time since the game was instituted in 1992. Florida has won four of those previous six encounters.
Florida completed its first 12-0 regular season in school history. The Gators previously went 11-0 through the 1995 regular season, eventually running their record to 12-0 with a win in the SEC Championship Game.
The Gators have won a nation’s-best and school-record 22 consecutive games, the fourth-best winning streak in SEC history. It marks the longest streak in the SEC in the past 15 years and third-longest in the nation this decade.
Alabama has 12 straight wins overall and 24 consecutive regular season victories. The strings are separated by losses in last season's SEC title game (31-20 to Florida) and Sugar Bowl (31-17 to Utah).
This will be the 36th meeting between the two schools in a series that dates back to 1904. The game is scheduled for a 4 p.m. (EST) kickoff at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., and will be televised by CBS.
The Crimson Tide has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in an astonishing 32 games, dating back to Oct. 13, 2007, when Mississippi’s BenJarvus Green-Ellis went for 131 yards. That is the longest streak in the nation, 10 games more than second-place Ohio State.
Sophomore running back Mark Ingram has been at his best against the best in 2009. He has rolled up 1,675 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns while averaging 119.08 yards per game on the ground with 12 rushing touchdowns.
Junior quarterback Greg McElroy has been impressive in his first season as the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback, completing 60.81 percent (180 of 296) of his passes for 2,211 yards and 16 touchdowns with only four interceptions.
Florida head coach Urban Meyer isn't short on praise for Alabama. "I put them in the great category and I don't do that often; their offense, defense and they have a dynamic returner. Their return units are also highly ranked. We'll have to do a great job covering the football. Javier Arenas is as good of a player that there is. He'll be a great player at the next level too. Defensively and offensively they are in the top statistical categories along with us."
Florida has not thrown an interception since the Mississippi State game on Oct. 24, an interception-free streak spanning 130 pass attempts (112 by Tim Tebow, 18 by John Brantley).
Tim Tebow has rushed for 13 touchdowns this season, bringing him to 56 for his career. Against Georgia, Tebow broke the the SEC rushing touchdown record that was held by Herschel Walker (Georgia, 1980-82).
Florida suspended DE Carlos Dunlap, the MVP of last year's BCS title game, after he was arrested on DUI charges early Tuesday morning in Gainesville. This year, Dunlap's seven sacks tie him for the team lead.
The winner of this game will undoubtedly advance to the BCS title game, marking the 4th consecutive year that the conference has placed a team in the holy grail event of college football. Florida won the title in 2006 and 2008, and LSU captured the crown in 2007.