By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – When Alabama defeated Notre Dame on Monday night to secure its third BCS Championship in the past four years, it also marked an historic feat for the Southeastern Conference.
The Crimson Tide’s national title marked the seventh consecutive for an SEC team, an impressive streak that began in January 2007 and includes crowns by four different league squads.
Here’s a look back at the road to seven, which concluded on Monday in Miami Gardens:
2007 – Florida 41, Ohio State 14 (Glendale, Ariz.)
In his second year as head coach at the University of Florida, Urban Meyer led the No. 2 Gators to their second-ever national title with a 41-14 win against No. 1 Ohio State at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The Gators posted a 13-1 record on the year with their lone loss coming on the road at Auburn in midseason. Meyer’s two-quarterback system consisted of starter Chris Leak and youngster Tim Tebow. Leak was named the game’s offensive Most Valuable Player, completing 25-of-36 passes for 213 yards with a touchdown. Tebow threw for a touchdown and ran for another, finishing with 10 carries for 39 yards rushing. Florida jumped out to a 34-14 lead at halftime and held the Buckeyes scoreless in the game’s final half.
2008 – LSU 38, Ohio State 24 (New Orleans, La.)
For the second consecutive year, an SEC team knocked off top-ranked Ohio State for the BCS Championship. This time it was No. 2 LSU posting a 38-24 victory over the Buckeyes in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. A 6-0 start to the year positioned the Tigers in the nation’s No. 1 spot before a three-overtime loss at Kentucky in week seven. LSU also lost to Arkansas in the regular-season finale before topping No. 15 Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game. LSU quarterback Matt Flynn, the game’s offensive Most Valuable Player, passed for 174 yards with four touchdown passes to lead the Tigers, who responded from a 10-0 deficit to take a 24-10 edge at halftime.
2009 – Florida 24, Oklahoma 14 (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Behind do-everything quarterback Tim Tebow and his famous motivational speech, the No. 2 Florida Gators rallied from an early-season home loss to Ole Miss to defeat top-ranked Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and earn a spot in the BCS Championship. At Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., the Gators defeated top-ranked Oklahoma 24-14. Tebow threw for 231 yards with two touchdown passes and also ran 22 times for 109 yards to lead Florida. Running back Percy Harvin also had nine carries for 122 yards. The game was tied 7-7 at intermission, before the Gators out-scored the Sooners 17-7 in the game’s final period.
2010 – Alabama 37, Texas 21 (Pasadena, Calif.)
In his third year in Tuscaloosa, Coach Nick Saban completed his turnaround of the Alabama football team by leading the top-ranked Crimson Tide to a 14-0 record and a BCS Championship with a 37-21 win against No. 2 Texas at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena. After getting down 6-0 early, the Crimson Tide poured on 24 points in the second quarter to take a 24-7 edge into the locker room at halftime. Mark Ingram, the Heisman Trophy winner, rushed for 116 yards with two touchdowns. Fellow running back Trent Richardson had a pair of touchdowns and totaled 109 yards on the ground.
2011 – Auburn 22, Oregon 19 (Glendale, Ariz.)
Quarterback Cam Newton was the catalyst behind No. 1 Auburn’s 14-0 season, including a 22-19 win against No. 2 Oregon in the BCS Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Newton was 20-of-34 for 265 yards with a pair of scoring strikes. The game was tied at 19-all after Oregon’s LaMichael James caught a two-yard touchdown pass with 2:33 left. Auburn kicker Wes Byrun knocked in a 19-yard game-winning field goal as time expired to give the Tigers the national title. Auburn’s Michael Dyer ran the ball 22 times for 143 yards, while Newton also gained 64 yards on the ground. It marked Auburn’s first national title since 1957.
2012 – Alabama 21, LSU 0 (New Orleans, La.)
For the first time in the history of the BCS, two teams from the same conference would square off for the national title. It would be a re-match of what was dubbed during the regular season as “The Game of the Century,” which LSU won 9-6 over Alabama. But at the Mercedez-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, it was the No. 2 Crimson Tide defeating No. 1 LSU 21-0 for the BCS crown. It marked the first championship game shutout in the BCS era. The Crimson Tide won in large part due to five field goals from kicker Jeremy Shelley before Trent Richardson ran in a 34-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The Tigers had won the SEC Championship, defeating SEC Eastern Division Champion Georgia in Atlanta a month prior.
2013 – Alabama 42, Notre Dame 14 (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
The No. 2 Crimson Tide won their second consecutive BCS Championship and became just the third team in college football history to win three national titles in a four-year span, defeating top-ranked Notre Dame 42-14 at Miami Gardens, Fla. Alabama raced to a 28-0 lead by intermission and controlled all phases of the game from the beginning, scoring touchdowns on each of its first three possessions. Tide quarterback AJ McCarron completed 20-of-28 passes for 264 passes with four touchdown tosses. Running backs Eddie Lacy (140 yards) and T.J. Yeldon (108) yards each rushed for better than 100 yards, while wide receiver Amari Cooper caught six passes for 105 yards with two touchdowns.