By adding a victory at Missouri's Faurot Field to the annals of Florida football history on Saturday night, the Gators also joined Alabama in rarefied air among SEC teams.
With a win at Missouri, Florida also joins Alabama as the only SEC teams to have wins at all 13 other schools' home fields.— Alligator Army (@AlligatorArmy) October 11, 2015
That tweet was obviously popular, but I originally planned to write a post on it rather than a tweet, so I'm going to expand on it a little bit — and also explain why Florida could never have been the first team to secure the distinction.
First off: While it's cool that Florida (and Alabama) have won at every other SEC school, it's also (obviously) somewhat meaningless. Moreover, though, it was a matter of convenience.
For a team to have the opportunity to have wins at every other SEC school, that team would have to have played Missouri or Texas A&M on the road since 2012, when both schools joined the conference — and while every SEC team has done one or the other, by virtue of divisional schedules, only Florida, Alabama, and Vanderbilt have done both.
Florida took the lead in the race to wins at all 13 other schools in its SEC opener in 2012, when the Gators downed Texas A&M in the Aggies' first SEC game. And Florida won the race to be the first team to simply own conference wins over every other SEC school, adding a defeat of Missouri at later in the season.
But the only other SEC team to play both Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012 was Alabama, which picked up its road win in Columbia that October, and famously lost to Johnny Manziel's Aggies at home in November before winning the national championship.
And thanks to the SEC's schedule-makers, Alabama got the first crack at claiming wins at every other school, thanks to an unusually early showdown with Texas A&M at Kyle Field in September 2013. The Crimson Tide won that game, an extraordinary shootout, and had their road wins over every conference foe, while Florida failed to convert on its first shot at the baker's dozen of road triumphs by losing at Missouri that October.
Since 2013, Texas A&M hasn't lost to another legacy East team at home, downing Vandy in 2013 (Missouri, A&M's designated cross-over opponent at the time, got the Aggies in 2014), and Missouri hasn't lost to a team from the SEC West, period, winning a road trip to Mississippi in 2013 and a home game against A&M in 2014.
Plus, Arkansas's shot at winning at both schools was fouled up by pre-existing plans: While the Hogs did travel to (and lose in) College Station in 2012, they missed what should have been their second shot at a conference win at Kyle Field in 2014 by virtue of their rivalry series with the Aggies moving back to Cowboys Stadium.
Basically, the only teams that ever truly had a shot at being first to this distinction were Alabama and Florida — something that probably shouldn't surprised long-time SEC observers.
But both schools not missing on their opportunities in 2012 made it likely they would capitalize. And on Saturday night in Columbia, Florida followed Alabama in doing so.