With some of the most powerful and historic college football programs located in the southeastern part of the United States, it isn’t uncommon for SEC teams to host the No. 1 team in the country.
In fact, all but three SEC schools have hosted a No. 1 team in the past five seasons.
Four SEC schools hosted the No. 1 team last season. That team was, of course, Alabama, which held the top spot in the AP Poll throughout the regular season. Only one team in the conference has never hosted a No. 1 team. Can you guess which one it is?
Let’s see how every SEC team fared the last time it met the top team in the nation.
Date: Nov. 15, 2014
Opponent: Mississippi State
Score: Alabama 25, Mississippi State 20
Mississippi State was undefeated and vaulted to No. 1 in the AP Poll behind Dak Prescott and a stingy defense.
The Bulldogs held the top spot in the poll for five weeks before being upended in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide went on to make an appearance in the first College Football Playoff.
Date: Oct. 8, 2016
Score: Alabama 49, Arkansas 30
Despite riddling Alabama’s secondary with 400 yards through the air, Arkansas still never really stood a chance on its home turf. Alabama stayed in control by forcing five turnovers in Fayetteville.
Date: Nov. 30, 2013
Score: Auburn 34, Alabama 28
Ah, the “Kick Six.” Who could forget? The Iron Bowl was tied at 28 in the closing seconds when Alabama elected to try a 57-yard field goal instead of settling for overtime.
The worst thing that could possibly happen for Alabama would be if Auburn returned a short kick for a touchdown to end the game. And that’s exactly what happened. Chris Davis took it back 109 yards and Auburn capped one of the most historic finishes in SEC football history.
Date: Sept. 7, 2002
Score: Miami 41, Florida 16
Florida is one of just three SEC teams that hasn’t hosted a No. 1 opponent in the past five seasons. The last time the Gators hosted No. 1, it was a non-conference bout with in-state rival Miami in 2002.
That was a time when the talent-rich Hurricanes were sweeping through the college football landscape with relative ease. Miami had won a national championship the year before and followed it up with another appearance in 2002 – losing to Ohio State in double overtime after a controversial pass interference call on fourth down gave the Buckeyes a second chance in the first overtime.
That’s right, the ’Dawgs have never had the chance to take down the No. 1 team in the country at Sanford Stadium.
Georgia did play No. 1 LSU in the 2011 SEC Championship, and that game occurred in the state of Georgia, so it was sort of like a home game, but it wasn’t in Athens.
Date: Oct. 25, 2014
Opponent: Mississippi State
Score: Mississippi State 45, Kentucky 31
The Wildcats had the pleasure of hosting Dan Mullen’s top-ranked Mississippi State squad in Lexington in 2014. Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles threw for 390 yards and kept the ’Cats in the game late in the fourth quarter, but a late kick return by Christian Holmes sealed the win for State.
Date: Nov. 5, 2016
Score: Alabama 10, LSU 0
Throughout the Nick Saban era at Alabama, LSU has been one of the few teams with a realistic shot at consistently challenging the Crimson Tide. The case was no different last season.
While LSU gave the Tide all it could handle in a Death Valley night game – once again –Alabama found a way to prevail. Bama scored one touchdown — on a Jalen Hurts run — but its defense never budged, holding Leonard Fournette to 35 yards on 17 carries.
Date: Nov. 16, 2013
Score: Alabama 20, Mississippi State 7
Nick Saban told reporters that Alabama typically struggles in Starkville, and did so again. He credited the Bulldogs for controlling the line of scrimmage. They held Alabama to its lowest point total of the season.
Still, it wasn’t enough. State trailed 10-7 in the third quarter but Alabama eventually pulled away.
Date: Oct. 13, 2012
Score: Alabama 42, Missouri 10
When Mizzou joined the SEC in 2012, it didn’t get much of a warmup in terms of the SEC schedule. The Tigers got handled by talented Georgia and South Carolina teams before being blasted by the Crimson Tide.
Alabama went on to win its third national title under Saban that season, but the Tigers eventually recovered from the loss. Mizzou won back-to-back SEC East titles in 2013 and 2014.
Date: Sept. 17, 2016
Score: Alabama 48, Ole Miss 43
The Rebels had been Alabama’s Achilles’ heel for two years, upsetting the Crimson Tide in 2014 and 2015. A three-peat against a Saban-coached team would be unheard of.
It appeared Ole Miss might run away with the game when it jumped to a 24-3 lead in the second quarter. But Eddie Jackson’s 85-yard punt return for a touchdown saved the Tide and was part of a decisive 31-3 run.
Date: Nov. 28, 2015
Score: Clemson 37, South Carolina 32
Clemson rolled through the second half of its schedule in 2015. Few people thought the championship-bound Tigers would have much difficulty in Columbia against a team coming off a loss to The Citadel and still reeling from Steve Spurrier’s mid-season resignation.
However, South Carolina managed to put a scare into its rival. The Gamecocks trailed 28-25 in the fourth quarter, but four touchdown passes from Deshaun Watson ended up making the difference.
Date: Oct. 15, 2016
Score: Alabama 49, Tennessee 10
The first half of the 2016 season was exhilarating for Tennessee. The Vols ended an 11-game losing streak against Florida, beat Georgia on a Hail Mary and lost a wild overtime thriller to Texas A&M.
When Alabama came to town, Tennessee was ranked No. 9 and thought it had a chance against the Crimson Tide. Soon after kickoff, Alabama began to take Tennessee’s soul. The Vols lost 49-10 — and lost to South Carolina two weeks later.
Date: Sept. 14, 2013
Score: Alabama 49, Texas A&M 42
In one of the most hyped games in recent memory, Alabama edged the Aggies in a shootout one year after Johnny Manziel shined in an upset in Tuscaloosa.
The Crimson Tide avenged the loss that put Manziel on the national stage for the first time. Still, “Johnny Football” was unstoppable, finishing with 562 total yards and five touchdowns.
Date: Nov. 28, 1998
Score: Tennessee 41, Vanderbilt 0
It’s been a while since Vanderbilt hosted college football’s No. 1 team. The Vols stopped by Nashville with a 10-0 record in 1998 and remained unbeaten when they left.
Tennessee went on to win the national championship in the first year of the BCS era and Vanderbilt finished 2-9.
Vanderbilt hosts Alabama this season. If the Tide get past Florida State in the opener, they likely will be No. 1 when they roll into Nashville on Sept. 23.