Number 18 Florida meets up with number 2 Alabama for the 2015 SEC Championship Game. If the Crimson Tide win this game, they’ll be in the College Football Playoff. If the Gators end up pulling the upset, it still might not be enough for them.
That’s how the CFP work. Although they might pull surprises and they want conference champions in their playoff, Florida were ranked 18 for a reason. They have “only” two losses, but one of them came to an eventually disappointing LSU team and the other was against Florida State while scoring just two points. They have only three games this season with 30 points or more on offense, two of them against weak non conference opponents. They just don’t have the resume to impress among the other contenders, even if they beat Alabama.
The Tide, #2 in the rankings, have done well to erase their home loss against Ole Miss, including four wins over ranked teams (at the time) and only once (their win over Tennessee) looking like they’re struggling to beat a team. Derrick Henry looks like the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy along with Deshaun Watson of Clemson and Jake Coker might not be the quarterback coaches dream of, but he gets the job done with less and less mistakes. Florida are still waiting for Treon Harris to complete more than 50% of his passes in a game.
Florida don’t usually allow too many yards, but Dalvin Cook looked great against them as the Seminoles won 27-2 in Gainesville to end Florida’s hopes about making the playoff. Henry is probably going to put big numbers against them too. There’s not a certain game plan that can give Florida the edge; their offense is simply inferior in every possible way and matchup. Forcing turnovers and turning them into points might be the only way.
Now for the history part of this encounter: This will be the 40th game between Florida and Alabama, with the Crimson Tide winning 25 and the Gators winning 14. Alabama have won the last four games, including the 2009 SEC championship game, a year after Florida beat them for the last time in the 2008 SEC championship game. It’s the 8th time these two teams have met in the conference title game, with Florida holding a 4-3 edge, mostly thanks to their dominance in the 1990’s.
Prediction: Florida are fifth in the nation by allowing just 15.5 points per game, but their offense has looked less than impressive all season long and especially in the last couple of months. Against an Alabama team that has won nine in a row and scores 34 per game, it’s just not going to be enough.