When college football fans think of elite programs, Alabama is the first one that comes to mind. The Crimson Tide has won 15 national titles, the most in the poll era and second overall to Yale at 18. Alabama’s prominence on the national scene has come from its dominance in the Southeastern Conference. Impressively, the Tide’s total number of SEC titles is more than the second and third teams combined. Here’s a breakdown of the SEC teams with the most football championships.
Alabama’s dominance equals most SEC football titles
The Alabama Crimson Tide won the SEC’s first-ever football title in 1933. A year later, the team shared the crown with Tulane. For the next 25 years, Alabama won just three SEC titles. Then, in the 1960s, with the hiring of Paul “Bear” Bryant, everything changed.
Alabama was co-champions with LSU during 1961 and Georgia in 1966, with a pair of sole championships sandwiched in between. From 1971-79, Alabama won every SEC football title but one.
For the next two decades and after the departure of Bryant, the Tide managed to win a pair of titles each decade, including the 1999 season to close out the century with 21 total SEC titles.
Since the turn of the century, Alabama has won six SEC titles, starting with the 2009 season. In the last decade, the Crimson Tide has won five, for a total of 27, and far and away the most SEC football titles by any team in conference history.
Georgia and Tennessee tied for second-most SEC football titles
While Alabama has established itself as the dominant power with the most SEC football titles, the University of Tennessee was equal in dominance during the conference’s early years. The Volunteers won three titles in the first eight years of the league.
Since that time, Tennessee spread its remaining 10 titles evenly through the end of the 20th century. The Vols won twice each in the 1950s and 1960s, once in the 1980s, and four times in the 1990s, including the last SEC title in 1998. All combined, Tennessee has 13 championships.
The University of Georgia is tied with Tennessee for the second-most SEC football titles. Similar to their neighbors to the north, the Bulldogs distributed their titles over a wide span of years and never had any dominant stretch like the Crimson Tide.
Georgia’s most dominant time came in the early 1980s when the team won three consecutive titles behind the legs of running back Herschel Walker. Since Walker’s departure, the Bulldogs have captured three more titles in 2002, 2005, and 2017.
LSU alone in third with a dozen
The LSU Tigers are firmly entrenched in the No. 3 spot with 12 championships. After Alabama won the first two SEC titles, the Tigers jumped in on the fun and captured the next two championships in 1935-36.
The Tigers then disappeared from conference title contention and didn’t win another for more than 20 years until 1958. After a single title each in the 1960s and 1970s, LSU won a pair in the 1980s and then went silent for the 1990s.
Since 2000, the Tigers have won the second-most SEC football titles behind Alabama at five, including the 2019 championship. Overall, LSU has won 12 SEC football championships.
Best of the rest
After the LSU Tigers, there’s another drop-off in most SEC football titles with Florida and Auburn both coming in tied at eight apiece. Ole Miss is next with five and is followed by two teams no longer in the SEC in Georgia Tech with five and Tulane at three, respectively.
Rounding out the SEC football titles is Kentucky with a pair and Mississippi State with one title in 1941.
With Alabama and head coach Nick Saban still a top power in college football, there’s every reason to believe the Crimson Tide will add more conference championship trophies in the coming years and only increase their stranglehold on the title of team with the most SEC football titles.