For a brief moment, it seemed as if the Florida Gators might stand a chance against the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship game - they did strike first, after all, taking a quick 7-0 lead against the seemingly impenetrable Alabama defense. But that lead would serve as the highlight of a coronation of the Crimson Tide as SEC champions, as Alabama won 54-16 on Saturday afternoon.

The game

After jumping to the 7-0 lead, Alabama quickly answered Florida with a field goal. Then, all hell broke lose, as Crimson Tide defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick picked off Gators quarterback Austin Appleby and returned it 44 yards for the score, giving Alabama a lead they would never surrender.

Later in the quarter, Joshua Jacobs would recover a blocked punt for another Alabama score (although Florida would stop the PAT attempt and return it to the end zone for two points of their own).

Jacobs would find a different way to score in the second quarter, running the ball in to give Alabama a 33-9 lead. Florida would tack on another touchdown before the end of the half, but the game was already over for all intents and purposes. The Crimson Tide would have three more touchdowns in the second half, while Appleby failed to get anything going for Florida.

Almost any stat would show the sheer domination of Alabama in the SEC title game, but the most definitive one stems from the running game: while Alabama had three different players rush for a touchdown, Florida didn't record a single rushing yard in the game despite 30 attempts on the ground.

Postseason implications

While the season didn't end well, Florida still made big strides in Jim McElwain's second season and should play in either the Citrus Bowl or the Outback Bowl. Meanwhile, Alabama took home their third straight SEC title, and went to the College Football Playoff the last two times - this year won't be any different after finishing the season as the only unbeaten team in one of the Power 5 conferences.

They'll likely play in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year's Eve.

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