Kevin C. Cox
As of this morning, an Alabama record that stood for more than four decades fell as the Southeastern Conference now includes a team with a winning record against the Crimson Tide. With the arrival of Missouri to the SEC fold, there is once again a team in the conference who has won more games against Alabama than they have lost.
The Tigers from Columbia have met the Tide just three times and have been victorious on two of those occasions.
Alabama first faced off against Missouri in the 1968 Gator Bowl and was downed 35-10. The two teams first regular season meeting was on Sept. 2, 1975 when the unranked Tigers shocked the No. 2 Tide 20-7 at home. (You can find recaps of these two games at SB Nation's Missouri site, Rock M Nation.) Alabama extracted a bit of revenge with a 38-20 victory in Columbia three years later that turned out to be a heck of a lot closer than the final score might suggest.
Similarly, the Tide's limited number of games against SEC newcomer Texas A&M makes the record with the Aggies a tight one -- 3-1-0. Alabama's one loss in the series was the 1968 Cotton Bowl that pitted Paul W. Bryant against his former protegee and future Tide head coach, Gene Stallings. That 20-16 loss evened the series and Alabama would have to wait 17 years to meet the Aggies again and regain the lead.
Prior to Missouri's entrance into the conference today, the last SEC team to hold a winning record against Alabama was arch-rival Tennessee. With a 32-15 demolishing of the Volunteers in Legion Field on Oct. 15, 1971, the Tide eclipsed the last of its SEC rivals. Moreover, the victory was early in a run of 11 straight against Tennessee, which made the possibility of the Vols ever regaining the lead very remote indeed.
With the expansion of the SEC in 1991, Alabama's winning record against conference foes was secure as the Tide's record against newcomer's Arkansas and South Carolina had never fallen below .500. Moreover, when Georgia Tech, Tulane and Sewanee chose to depart the SEC (in 1964, 1966 and 1940, respectively) the each held losing records to Alabama.
Here is a list of Alabama's all-time record against Southeastern Conference foes, past and present. For teams Alabama has never had a losing record against, the date indicated is the first meeting
|Team||Record||Led since||Last meeting|
|SEC Teams as of 2012|
||1-2-0||Never Led||Sept. 16, 1978|
||3-1-0||1985||Dec. 1, 1988|
SEC Teams as of 1992
||12-8-0||1961*||Sept. 24, 2011|
||10-4-0||1937*||Oct. 9, 2010|
SEC Teams as of 1932
||47-38-7||1971||Oct. 22, 2011|
||41-34-1||1965||Nov. 26, 2011|
||59-19-4||1936||Oct. 8, 2011|
||36-25-4||1934||Sept. 27, 2008|
||22-14-0||1925†||Oct. 1, 2011|
||46-25-5||1919||Jan. 9, 2012|
||35-2-1||1917*||Oct. 3, 2009|
||45-9-2||1900||Oct. 15, 2011|
||74-18-3||1896*||Nov. 12, 2011|
Former SEC Teams
||28-21-3||1958||Sept. 15, 1984|
||17-10-3||1928||Oct. 22, 1938|
||27-11-3||1910||Sept. 6, 2008|
* Teams Alabama has never had a losing record against
†Reflects Alabama's tally of the series. See first comment below .
In most of these cases, Alabama's record in the first half century of the programs existence was mediocre at best -- particularly against old-school southern powerhouses like Sewanee, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech. With the arrival of Wallace Wade, the records began to swing more in favor of the Tide and under Frank Thomas, almost all of them turned in Alabama's favor.
Thus the almost complete dominance Bryant's squads held over the conference finshed up the final few holdouts and the almost insurmountable lead Alabama enjoys over the rest of the SEC was established. The only current SEC teams that have a hope of catching up with the Tide in the all-time win/loss column are the four conference newcomers.
To get a sense of just how long the winning records have stood, here is a graph showing the number of years the Crimson Tide has had a winning record against SEC foes. Again, for teams that have never held a winning record against Alabama, the chart is dated from the first meeting.
Lastly, if you are curious about which teams have a winning record against Alabama you should check out this fanpost by RBR regular Darth Saban. Basically, of the 24 teams that can make this boast only two have played the Tide more than five times -- Notre Dame and Texas -- and none have done so more than ten.