After the win over Alabama to take the SEC West, Auburn advances to the SEC Championship for the 6th time in program history. When you do the math, that’s not bad. Let’s break it down —
This will be the 26th SEC Championship Game since the inception of the event during the 1992 season. Auburn’s been in nearly a quarter of them, winning the last three times the Tigers have been to Atlanta.
Both Auburn and Georgia are tied for third-best in the league with six appearances, although the Bulldogs have only won twice (2002, 2005). Auburn’s wins of course came in 2004, 2010, and 2013.
1997 - TENNESSEE 30, AUBURN 29
Oh this one was rough. Of course, we were going against Peyton Manning and a Tennessee team that had never won the SEC Championship. It had been all Gators since the game’s inception, and the Vols wouldn’t be denied in their first appearance.
Dameyune Craig put on quite a show, and Jim Fyffe’s call of Tyrone Goodson’s touchdown catch is one of the all-time greats, but the Tigers just couldn’t hold it together as Manning engineered a fantastic comeback to win by a point.
2000 - Florida 28, Auburn 6
Oh, boy we got on the wrong side of the Gators in this one. We were kind of a plodding team with Rudi Johnson in Tommy Tuberville’s second season on the Plains, but we made the best of it and won the West thanks to Rudi’s SEC Player of the Year season.
We encountered peak Spurrier, Sexy Rexy, and the Gators ran around us and their defense stifled us for the second time that year.
2004 - AUBURN 38, TENNESSEE 28
Two of Auburn’s three SEC Championship wins were rematch victories over teams they beat earlier in the year. This one came after the Tigers went into Knoxville and whipped Tennessee 34-10 after leading 31-3 at halftime.
In Atlanta, things looked like they were off to a very similar start.
Auburn jumped out to a 14-0 lead, and things looked like we were well on our way to a humongous win for the second time that year over the Vols.
Then they started to make things happen -- we let them back into the game with a mishandled punt by Cody Bliss, and a short field led to a score. The Vols also added a couple wrinkles into the offense that opened the field up for a couple of big runs. Gerald Riggs hit an 80-yarder that tied the game up, but Jason Campbell’s two long touchdowns late gave Auburn a 38-28 win that moved the Tigers to 12-0 on the year.
2010 - AUBURN 56, SOUTH CAROLINA 17
Now this one was a ton of fun. I remember watching the game at Quixote’s and once Cam hit Darvin on the Hail Mary to end the first half, there was no doubt that we were going to Glendale and the BCS Championship.
Again, Auburn jumped out early, but South Carolina hung in, threatening to cut into Auburn’s 21-14 lead before Newton hit Adams on the tip drill as the first half ended. After that, it was a masterful six-touchdown blitz from the eventual Heisman winner as the Tigers racked up record after record in the championship game, including margin of victory and total points scored.
We won the national championship after that.
2013 - AUBURN 59, MISSOURI 42
Here was another one that was a lot of fun, but we didn’t know how much this game actually meant until later that night. Auburn and Tre Mason rolled over Missouri to the tune of 545 rushing yards, 304 of which came from Mason in the victory. Nick Marshall ran the read option masterfully, and the defense played opportunistically against a powerful Missouri offense.
We went to the national championship after that and should’ve beaten Florida State. Damnit.
It’ll be Auburn’s sixth journey to Atlanta for the SEC Championship, played in the inaugural year of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium funfest. We’ll have our fourth rematch from earlier in the year, and in each of the three previous occasions, the team that won the original meeting won in Atlanta as well.
Time to make it four straight wins for the Tigers in the Championship Game, and time to advance to the Playoff. Let’s go. War Eagle.