Since 1992, the Southeastern Conference has held its annual championship in the beginning of December. And since 1994, it has taken place at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The two divisions of the SEC send their top team to the championship game to decide who ultimately rules the conference in the given year.
After 2016, the SEC Championship game will move across the street to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which will also host the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. Here’s a look back at some of the greatest SEC Championship moments in recent memory.
1. 2012 – #2 ALABAMA 32 – #3 GEORGIA 28
This SEC Championship was one of the closer matches we’ve seen in recent years. Down 32-28 with little time remaining, Georgia led a valiant drive down the field all the way to Alabama’s 5-yard line. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the clock ran out and Alabama narrowly escaped and went to the BCS National Championship. If you are a Georgia supporter (or just don’t like seeing Alabama win), this game probably left you with a sour taste in your mouth. Essentially, Georgia came within 5 yards of a National Championship game and they haven’t been that close since.
2. 2009 – #1 FLORIDA 13 – #2 ALABAMA 31
Following Florida’s win over the top-ranked Crimson Tide the previous SEC Championship, Nick Saban got his revenge in blowout style. Guiding the Tide back to the BCS National Championship Game for the first time in 17 years, Saban would knock off Texas and take home his first championship (of several to follow).
3. 1997 – #3 TENNESSEE 30 – #11 AUBURN 29
In 1997, Peyton Manning’s Tennessee Volunteers were down 29-23 entering the fourth quarter. However, a Volunteer touchdown in the final frame proved to be the difference. Tennessee wouldn’t win the title that year due to their loss in their bowl game. The following year, the Vols would come out on top, not only as back-to-back SEC Champions, but as National Champions.
4. 2005 – #13 GEORGIA 34 – #3 LSU 14
The Georgia Bulldogs got revenge in a big way on the LSU Tigers, who had knocked them off two years prior in the SEC Championship game. In fact, the scores were practically reversed (34-13 LSU in 2003). This was the last time Georgia would win the SEC Championship to date, having captured their only other SEC title in 2002 over Arkansas.
5. 1994 – #6 FLORIDA 24 – #3 ALABAMA 23
In the first game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, the Gators walked away with a one-point win over the third-ranked Crimson Tide. Spurrier was at the helm of the Florida program, but the Gators would fall in their bowl game to in-state rival Florida State.