No. 3 Alabama is a 6.5-point underdog against No. 1 Georgia in Saturday's SEC championship game. And it's been 13 years since Alabama was an underdog by that much.
Saturday's game is just the third time since 2008 that Alabama has been an underdog overall under Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide was last an underdog in 2015 when it was a 1-point dog at Georgia. That game turned into a rout for Alabama as the Tide won 38-10 and went on to win the national title.
This year's SEC title game breaks a streak of 92 games where the Crimson Tide were favored. According to ESPN, that's the longest streak in college football since 1978.
Alabama has been an underdog three times since 2008
You have to go back another six years before 2015 to find when Alabama was an underdog before that game at Georgia. The Tide were a five-point underdog in the 2009 SEC title game against Florida. Alabama won that game pretty easily too. Alabama won 32-13 against Tim Tebow and the Gators on the way to a national title.
Saturday's spread isn't the biggest of the Saban era, however.
That game came in the 2008 SEC title game. Florida beat Alabama 31-20 and covered a 10-point spread.
The 2008 loss to Florida is the only time Alabama has lost as an underdog under Saban since the start of the 2008 season. Alabama is 4-1 outright as an underdog since the start of 2008, the first season where Alabama won double-digit games in his tenure.
Alabama has been an underdog 10 times in Saban's entire tenure
To put Saban’s excellence at Alabama in perspective, Saturday’s game is the sixth time the Crimson Tide have been an underdog since the start of 2008. In 2007, Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa, Alabama was an underdog four times. And none of those spreads were bigger than seven points at kickoff.
There's good reason Georgia is favored in this year's SEC title game. The Bulldogs have been the most dominant team in college football this season and are outscoring opponents by an average of 41-7. No team has gotten within 17 points of Georgia since it beat Clemson, 10-3, in Week 1.
Alabama has played in some close games this year and lost to Texas A&M in October. That game was the first time a former Saban assistant had beaten Alabama with him at the helm. And guess what? Georgia coach Kirby Smart came to the Bulldogs from Alabama. Could Saban lose to two former assistants in a year? It sure looks possible.