Much Is Made Of One Tide Loss

Nick Saban

As Alabama and Georgia prepare for Saturday's Southeastern Conference Championship Game in Atlanta, for some reason, much more has been made of Alabama's one loss than has been made of Georgia being beaten once this season. In fact, there has been more talk about the Crimson Tide's one loss in 2011 than about the defeat suffered by the Bulldogs.



Alabama and Georgia are both 11-1 overall and 7-1 in SEC games, and, thus, the representatives of the West and East in the SEC Championship Game. The Crimson Tide, ranked second in the nation, and Bulldogs, third in the nation, will meet at 4 p.m. EST (3 p.m. central time) in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta with CBS televising the game. The winner goes to the BCS National Championship Game to face undefeated Notre Dame.

The Tide's loss this year was to Texas A&M, currently ranked eighth in the nation in the Coaches Poll and 10th in the Associated Press poll and featuring Heisman Trophy candidate Johnny Manziel. The Aggies took a 29-24 decision as Bama blew a late touchdown chance with first and goal at the A&M 6.

Georgia's loss was to South Carolina, currently ranked 10th in the Coaches Poll and 11th in the AP. It wasn't very close. The Gamecocks romped, 35-7.

There has also been talk of Alabama's 2011 loss. Bama's lone setback last season was a 9-6 overtime loss to an LSU team that was ranked first in the nation. Coach Nick Saban's Tide avenged that defeat on a much bigger stage later in the season with a 21-0 win over LSU in the national championship game.

Why the attention to Alabama football losses?

Because they are so rare.

The Tide is on an incredible run under Saban. After a 7-6 season in his first year, 2007, Alabama has won 59 games in the ensuing five campaigns, including 11 so far this year. That is more than any team in the nation. There have been only 7 losses in the 66 games played over that time. In Saban's six-years at the helm of the Tide, the record is 66-13.

Bama was 12-2 in 2008, national champion and 14-0 in 2009, slipped to 10-3 in 2010, national champion and 12-1 in 2011, and 11-1 to date this year.

The Tide is 21-7 against the AP top 25 over the last five seasons and 12-4 against AP top 10 teams. Bama is 3-1 against ranked teams in 2012 with wins over number eight Michigan, number 13 Mississippi State, and number six LSU, and the loss to Texas A&M. Alabama has won seven of the last nine match-ups against ranked teams.

Alabama is making its eighth appearance in the SEC Championship Game, the most of any team from the Western Division and second to Florida, which has 10. This will be the Tide's first SEC title game against any team other than Florida. Georgia is making its fifth appearance. Bama is 3-4 in SEC Championship Games and the Bulldogs are 2-2.

This is the first meeting between the Tide and Bulldogs since 2008, when Georgia had a blackout game, players in black jerseys, fans dressed in black. Bama ruined the affect, going out to a 31-0 halftime lead and coasting to a 41-30 victory.

Although charter members of the SEC since 1933, Alabama and Georgia meet only occasionally. Alabama leads the series 36-25-4.

The original 2012 SEC schedule rotation called for Georgia to play at Alabama this season, but when Texas A&M and Missouri were added to the conference, the league schedule was re-worked and the Georgia-Bama game was a victim.

Bama has 22 SEC championships. Georgia is third in the league with 12, one behind Tennessee.

This will be Alabama's second game of the season in a domed stadium. The Tide opened the year in the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Dallas with a 41-14 victory over Michigan. Alabama is 13-5-1 all-time in domed stadiums and 4-3 in the Georgia Dome (though 2-3 in SEC Championship Games in Atlanta).

Alabama is scheduled to begin the next two seasons in Georgia Dome games, against Virginia Tech in 2013 and West Virginia in 2014.

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