Most rankings of successful SEC teams come down to record. There’s Bear Bryant’s 1961 Crimson Tide, then the 1980 Bulldogs team when Herschel Walker put out an unforgettable season. There’s Florida in ’96 or Auburn in ’57.
As one of the most competitive and storied conferences in college football, the SEC regularly features some of the greatest rosters in the NCAA. Head coaches aren’t far behind, from the days of Shug Jordan to today’s Nick Saban.
As such, football fans love to mull over which teams were the greatest. Though the NCAA puts out an All-SEC roster each year, fans will be waiting a little while longer before they see any action from an SEC ‘All-Star’ team.
Despite the popularity of the All-Star games of the big leagues, the NCAA would face serious challenges in selecting players, organizing games, and setting up a major event. The annual Bowls are the consolation—and they’re good ones, at that.
Aside from buying out Bowl tickets, NCAA fans take advantage of betting offers like these when the season comes to an end and division elites face off in the annual championship games. After all, all NCAA stars get their shot at an All-Star game… in the NFL, that is.
Looking back throughout the SEC’s history, here are a few of the greatest Dream Teams that have ever existed—and not just those that ended up posting an incredible regular season record.
Kentucky Wildcats (1898)
Over a century ago, football looked a lot different. Though the rules may have been similar, the uniforms and playbooks certainly weren’t. Still, that didn’t stop the Kentucky Wildcats from putting on one of the greatest shows in SEC history… even if no one seems to remember it.
The 1898 squad went undefeated. In fact, the team was so strong that they didn’t cede a single point to another team. After notching a perfect 7-0 record, the Wildcats roster gained notoriety throughout the South. Some even called them ‘The Immortals’.
Many like to point out the differences on the gridiron that may have contributed to this illustrious run—players clocked in at around 150 pounds rather than 250. Still, with opponents weighing around the same, it doesn’t make a season with zero points conceded any less impressive.
Florida Gators (2008)
Before Urban Meyers headed north to overhaul Clemson’s football program, then headed back south to try to flip the Jaguars into a winning team, he created one of the most unforgettable teams in SEC history with the Gators. But in the 2008 season’s first battle, it didn’t look that way.
In fact, Old Miss’s early win against the Gators seemed to seal the team’s fate; they’d have an accordingly rocky season based off that early performance. However, Tim Tebow wasn’t having it—immediately after the loss, he roused his squad with a heartfelt speech during the post-game press conference.
What came next were major wins not common in a competitive conference. The Gators beat LSU by 30 points, the Bulldogs by 39 points, and the Gamecocks by 50 points. One last battle in the SEC saw the Gators defeat the Crimson Tide with a fourth-quarter comeback.
But the icing on the cake was the final faceoff between the Gators and the Sooners, when Tebow led the team to a 24-14 win for another Championship title. It was the Gators’ second win in three years during a time period many remember as the SEC’s Golden Years.
Alabama Crimson Tide (2009)
What’s even better than Urban Meyers’ Tebow-led Gators crushing the Crimson Tide in a late comeback in 2008? How personally Nick Saban took the loss, and how seriously he took the next season.
Not only did Saban push the Crimson Tide to an undefeated season (the only one attributed to his name), but he did it by getting the very best out of a passionate, talented roster. In the back, Rolando McClain and Terrence Cody led a masterclass in defense, while Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram led the offense like a well-oiled machine.
Despite a few hiccups against the Volunteers and Auburn, the Crimson Tide put on a show when it mattered most: their rematch against the Gators. Ingram threw for 189 yards and three touchdowns, silencing any hopes that Urban Meyers and Tebow would repeat their previous SEC finish.
Like the Gators from the year before, the Crimson Tide went on to bring home a National Championship after a decisive win against the Longhorns with a 37-21 win. This was also Saban’s first championship with Alabama.