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Alabama-Florida rivalry tops the decade

11/19/2010

Picking out one rivalry in the SEC that stands alone during the decade of 2000-09 is tricky.

Alabama and LSU played several memorable games, and Nick Saban’s switching sides during the decade certainly qualifies that rivalry for consideration. The Florida-Georgia rivalry was spiced up considerably in 2007 thanks to the Bulldogs’ end zone celebration following their first touchdown en route to a 42-30 win. Then Florida’s Urban Meyer calling two timeouts in the final seconds the next year to make sure the Bulldogs felt the full effect of a 49-10 rout.

There’s never a time that the Alabama-Auburn rivalry isn’t big, and Auburn and LSU had their share of thrilling finishes when they clashed last decade.

But the Alabama-Florida rivalry separated itself toward the end of the decade with the two epic No. 1 versus No. 2 meetings in the SEC championship game. Both times, the winner went on to win a national championship, and the two teams dominated the league in 2008 and 2009.

Florida’s Tim Tebow made one clutch play after another in the second half of the 2008 game to lead the Gators to a 31-20 win over the previously unbeaten and No. 1 Crimson Tide. That next season, the Crimson Tide made it their mission to get back to Atlanta and get another shot at the Gators. They did just that, winning 32-13 over the previously unbeaten and No. 1 Gators on their way to a perfect 14-0 season.