SEC Championship Game
The SEC Championship Game is an annual American football game that has determined the Southeastern Conference's season champion since 1992. The championship game pits the SEC West Division regular season champion against the East Division regular season champion. Since 2007, the game has typically been played on the first Saturday of December, and the game has been held in Atlanta since 1994, first at the Georgia Dome, and at Mercedes-Benz Stadium since 2017.
|SEC Football Championship Game|
|Conference Football Championship|
SEC Championship Game Logo
|Current stadium||Mercedes-Benz Stadium|
|Current location||Atlanta, Georgia|
|Most championships||Alabama (8)|
|Official website||SECSports.com - Football|
|Dr Pepper (1992–present)|
|Legion Field (1992–1993)|
Georgia Dome (1994–2016)
Mercedes-Benz Stadium (2017–present)
|Birmingham, Alabama (1992–1993)|
Atlanta, Georgia (1994–present)
Ten of the fourteen current SEC members have played in the SEC Championship Game. Kentucky and Vanderbilt have yet to reach the game from the East, while Ole Miss and Texas A&M have yet to reach the game from the West. The overall series is led by the Western Division, 16–12.
While ten SEC members have played in the game, only six have won: Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee of the East Division, and Alabama, Auburn, and LSU of the West Division. Each of these teams has won the championship multiple times. LSU is the reigning SEC champion.
The SEC was the first NCAA conference in any division to hold a football championship game that was exempt from NCAA limits on regular-season contests. Such a game was made possible by two separate developments. The first came in 1987, when the NCAA membership approved a proposal sponsored by the Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association that allowed any conference with 12 football members to split into divisions and stage a championship game between the divisional winners. The SEC took advantage of this rule by adding the University of Arkansas and the University of South Carolina in 1992, bringing the conference membership to 12, and splitting into two football divisions. The format has since been adopted by other conferences to decide their football champion (the first being the Big 12 in 1996).
The first two SEC Championship Games were held at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. From 1994 until 2016 the game was played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. With the Georgia Dome scheduled to be demolished after the 2016 season, the SEC chose to keep the title game in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome's replacement, Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The game will be played at the new stadium through at least 2027.
In 2016, Alabama and Florida met in the SEC Championship Game for the ninth time in the first 25 years of the game; the record for the most times any two teams have faced each other in the championship game. At least one of those two teams has qualified for the game in 15 of 27 seasons. The only other matchup in the SEC Championship played more than twice is Georgia and LSU, who have met there four times (most recently in 2019). Alabama has faced Florida in nine of its 12 SEC Championship Game appearances. In addition, the 2009 game marked the second consecutive year that the No. 1 (Florida) and No. 2 (Alabama) ranked teams in the AP Poll met in the SEC Championship game. 2009 was the first time any conference championship game had featured two undefeated teams. Alabama won 32–13 and earned a berth in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, which it went on to win as well.
Auburn and Missouri met in the 2013 SEC Championship Game (in Missouri's 2nd year in the SEC). Auburn won the game 59–42, breaking the previous record of 56 points for most points scored by a single team in the SEC Championship Game (previously set by Auburn in 2010).
In the final years of the Bowl Championship Series, the game was nicknamed the "national semifinal" for college football. The 2008, 2009, and 2012 games were essentially national semifinal games, as both participating teams were virtually guaranteed a berth in the BCS national championship game with a win. The 2013 game, the last held in the BCS era, was not thought of as such at the time of the game, but results of other games later that day meant that it effectively was such a semifinal.
Between 2006 and 2013 the winner of the SEC Championship Game went on to play in the BCS National Championship Game eight straight years, posting a 6–2 record in the game. Since 2014, the SEC Championship Game winner has gone on to appear in the College Football Playoff every season, posting a 5–1 record in the national semifinal and a 2–3 record in the national championship game.
SEC Championship Game Results by teamEdit
|Appearances||School||Division||Wins||Losses||Win %||Year(s) Won||Year(s) Lost|
|12||Alabama||West||8||4||.667||1992, 1999, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018||1993, 1994, 1996, 2008|
|12||Florida||East||7||5||.583||1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2006, 2008||1992, 1999, 2009, 2015, 2016|
|8||Georgia||East||3||5||.375||2002, 2005, 2017||2003, 2011, 2012, 2018, 2019|
|6||LSU||West||5||1||.833||2001, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2019||2005|
|6||Auburn||West||3||3||.500||2004, 2010, 2013||1997, 2000, 2017|
|5||Tennessee||East||2||3||.400||1997, 1998||2001, 2004, 2007|
|3||Arkansas||West||0||3||.000||1995, 2002, 2006|
- Kentucky, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt have yet to make an appearance in an SEC Championship Game.
The team designated as the "home" team alternates between division champions. The designation goes to the East champion in even-numbered years and the West champion in odd-numbered years.
After the 2019 contest, the designated "home" team is 16–12 overall in SEC championship games.
In 2009, the West champion, Alabama, was the home team, ending a streak where the SEC West team had worn white jerseys in nine consecutive SEC Championship Games (2000–2008). This was because LSU had represented the West in the previous four seasons that the West Division champion was the "home" team, and LSU traditionally chooses to wear white jerseys for home games. Additionally, for the next three years (2010–2012), the East Division representative wore their home jerseys because in 2011, LSU again represented the West.
While SEC schools play every other member of their own division, they do not play every member of the opposite division; thus, the SEC Championship Game is not guaranteed to be a rematch of a regular season game. The SEC Championship game has featured a rematch of a regular season game a total of seven times (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2017). The team which won the regular season game is 5–2 in the rematches, the exceptions being 2001 and 2017.
Matchups that have occurred more than once:
|# of Times||Eastern Division||Western Division||Record||Years Played|
|9||Florida||Alabama||Alabama 5–4||1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2008, 2009, 2015, 2016|
|4||Georgia||LSU||LSU 3–1||2003, 2005, 2011, 2019|
|2||Georgia||Alabama||Alabama 2–0||2012, 2018|
|2||Florida||Arkansas||Florida 2–0||1995, 2006|
|2||Tennessee||Auburn||Tied 1–1||1997, 2004|
|2||Tennessee||LSU||LSU 2–0||2001, 2007|
Division standings are based on each team's overall conference record. The SEC Commissioner's Regulations requires each football team play all eight conference games in a season in order to be eligible to compete for a divisional title and play in the SEC Championship Game. Often, two or more teams tie for the best record in their division and each team is recognized as a divisional co-champion. However, tiebreakers are used to determine who will represent the division in the championship game.
Two-team tie-breaker procedureEdit
- Head-to-head competition between the two tied teams.
- Records of the tied teams within the division.
- Records against the team within the division with the best overall (divisional and non-divisional) conference record and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division will be broken from first to last.
- Complete record vs. all non-divisional opponents.
- Complete record vs. all common non-divisional teams if there be any.
- Record vs. common non-divisional opponent (if there be any) with the best overall conference (divisional and non-divisional) record and proceeding through other common non-divisional teams based on their order of finish within their division.
- Best cumulative conference winning percentage of non-divisional opponents
- Coin flip of the tied teams
NOTE: Although all division rivals meet during the season and NCAA overtime is played, the SEC has provisions in case a game ends in a tie, which is possible under NCAA Rule 3-3-3 (c.2) and (d), Suspending the Game, and Commissioner's Regulations (including a tie game after the end of three periods, at the point the game is suspended in the fourth period, or end of regulation, or if one team had played their overtime period but the opponent had not played, when the game reaches the conference curfew of 1:30 a.m. local time), or if the two tied teams did not play an official game because of weather (including a game that ends before the end of three periods), which is possible because numerous conference teams have had games affected by hurricanes but also lightning. As such, SEC rules, written before overtime was implemented in regular season play, still contain the remaining procedures if those circumstances were to happen.
Three or more-team procedureEdit
(Once the tie has been reduced to two teams, go to the two-team tie-breaker format.)
- Combined head-to-head record among the tied teams.
- Record of the tied teams within the division.
- Records against the team within the division with the best overall (divisional and non-divisional) Conference record and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division will be broken from first to last.
- Complete record vs. non-division teams.
- Complete record vs. all common non-divisional teams.
- Record vs. common non-divisional team with the best overall Conference (divisional and non-divisional) record and proceeding through other common non-divisional teams based on their order of finish within their division.
- Best cumulative Conference winning percentage of non-divisional opponents (Note: If two teams' non-divisional opponents have the same cumulative record, then the two-team tiebreaker procedures apply. If four teams are tied, and three teams' non-divisional opponents have the same cumulative record, the three-team tiebreaker procedures will be used beginning with #1
- Coin flip of the tied teams with the team with the odd result being the representative (Example: If there are two teams with tails and one team with heads, the team with heads is the representative)
Winner's bowl performanceEdit
Currently the SEC champion plays in the Sugar Bowl unless it has been selected to play in a College Football Playoff semifinal bowl, or if the Sugar Bowl is hosting a CFP semifinal and the SEC champion either does not qualify for the CFP or has a seeding that prevents it from appearing in the Sugar Bowl. In the SEC Championship Game era, eleven winners of the game have gone on to win the national title (outright or shared), with thirteen SEC teams winning national titles overall, including seven consecutive titles from the 2006–2012 seasons. There are two occasions when the SEC champion advanced to the BCS or CFP but lost to another SEC team which won the national championship: In 2011 LSU won the SEC Championship Game and advanced to the BCS National Championship Game which they lost 21–0 to fellow SEC member Alabama, and in 2017 Georgia won the SEC Championship Game and advanced to the College Football Playoff, defeating Oklahoma in the semifinal and advancing to the CFP final game, which they lost 26–23 in overtime to SEC member Alabama.
Rankings are from the AP Poll at the time the game was played.
Runner-up's bowl performanceEdit
Rankings are from the AP Poll at the time the game was played.
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|Team||Performance vs. opponent||Year|
|Most points scored||59, Auburn vs. Missouri||2013|
|Most points scored (losing team)||42, Missouri vs. Auburn||2013|
|Most points scored (both teams)||101, Auburn vs. Missouri||2013|
|Most points scored in a half||35, LSU vs Georgia - 2nd half||2011|
|Most points scored in a half (both teams)||55, Auburn (28) vs Missouri (27) - 1st half||2013|
|Fewest points scored||3, Arkansas vs. Florida
3, Arkansas vs. Georgia
|Largest margin of victory||39, Auburn vs. South Carolina||2010|
|First downs||31, Auburn vs. Tennessee||2004|
|Rushing yards||545, Auburn vs. Missouri||2013|
|Passing yards||401, Florida vs. Alabama||1996|
|Total yards||677, Auburn vs. Missouri||2013|
|Individual||Performance, team vs. opponent||Year|
|Total offense||431, Jason Campbell (374 pass, 57 rush) (Auburn vs. Tennessee)||2004|
|Touchdowns||6, Danny Wuerffel (Florida vs. Alabama)
6, Cam Newton (Auburn vs. South Carolina)
|Rushing Yards||304, Tre Mason (Auburn vs. Missouri)||2013|
|Rushing TDs||4, Tre Mason (Auburn vs. Missouri)||2013|
|Passing yards||401, Danny Wuerffel (Florida vs. Alabama)||1996|
|Receiving yards||217, Darvin Adams (Auburn vs. South Carolina)||2010|
|Tackles||18, Omar Gaither (Tennessee vs. Auburn)||2004|
|Sacks||2.0, done eight times
Last by Rueben Foster (Alabama vs. Florida)
|Interceptions||2, Michael Gilmore (Florida vs. Alabama)
2, Tommy Johnson (Alabama vs. Florida)
2, Marcus Spencer (Alabama vs. Florida)
2, Lito Sheppard (Florida vs. Auburn)
2, Derek Stingley Jr. (LSU vs. Georgia)
|Field Goals Made|
|Long plays||Performance, team vs. opponent||Year|
|Touchdown run||87 yards, Justin Vincent (LSU vs. Georgia)||2003|
|Touchdown pass||94 yards, Freddie Kitchens to Michael Vaughn (Alabama vs. Florida)||1996|
|Kickoff return||50 yards, Lennon Creer (Tennessee vs. LSU)||2007|
|Punt return||85 yards, Antonio Callaway (Florida vs. Alabama)||2015|
|Interception return||77 yards, Jayson Bray (Auburn vs. Tennessee)||1997|
|Fumble return||95 yards, Ben Hanks (Florida vs. Arkansas)||1995|
|Punt||67 yards, Brad Wing (LSU vs. Georgia)||2011|
|Field goal||52 yards, Cody Parkey (Auburn vs. Missouri)||2013|
- Staples, Andy (May 16, 2014). "Should NCAA alter title game requirements? Look at the rule's origin". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
- "Southeastern Conference". www.secsports.com. Archived from the original on 2009-03-17.
- "SEC Championship Game to remain in Atlanta until 2027". ESPN.com. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- "Southeastern Conference". secsports.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-26.
- "CFB Week 14 Overnights: SEC Championship Top Game of Season - Sports Media Watch". 6 December 2015.
- "Overnight Ratings Huge For SEC Championship - Sports Media Watch". www.sportsmediawatch.com. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
- "Southeastern Conference". www.secdigitalnetwork.com.
- "nokiasugarbowl.com". www.nokiasugarbowl.com.
- Bowl Coalition (1992-1994) or Bowl Alliance (1995-1997) Championship Game
- Nebraska shared the 1997 NCAA title with Michigan
- BCS National Championship Game
- Alabama took the spot of ACC champion Florida State in the Orange Bowl, as the Seminoles were selected to play in the BCS national championship game in the Sugar Bowl.
- "Maisel: Power to the people". ESPN.com. 14 July 2004.
- Southern California won the BCS Championship but the title was vacated following an investigation into improper payments to various players. USC retained its AP National Championship.