With the conclusion of the SEC's regular season in baseball on Sunday, the 2015 edition of the SEC All-Sports Trophy has been awarded — and like the last eight, and 22 of the previous 23 awarded, it belongs to Florida.
In one of the closest races in the history of the award, the conference title won by the Florida men's outdoor track and field team Saturday night pushed the Gators to another SEC All-Sports Trophy.
Florida and Texas A&M traded the lead back-and-forth all year, but Florida finished strong in track and field as well as baseball to finish with a score of .7572 to A&M's .7475.
"It's always exciting to win the trophy," Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said. "We knew it was close and it was going to take a great finish. It's a tough, tough league and we take a lot of pride in winning it."
The SEC All-Sports Trophy is awarded based on points assigned for teams' final conference rankings in each sport sponsored by the league, and covers regular season performance in most SEC-administered sports and SEC Championships performance in some, with the sports of cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track combined for a composite track ranking.
And Florida's dominance of the SEC in the time the trophy has been handed out has been nearly absolute: Since the 1983-84 season, when the SEC All-Sports Trophy was first awarded for all sports, and not just men's sports, Florida's 25 trophies dwarfs the field, with the rest of the SEC having just eight combined.
Florida did not win its first SEC All-Sports Trophy until 1987-88, when it shared the honor, but might well have challenged for it in 1980-81 and 1981-82 had women's sports been counted in the calculation. The Gators won five SEC titles in each of those years, but seven of those 10 total conference crowns were won by women's teams.
Since Jeremy Foley's hiring in March 1992, the SEC All-Sports Trophy has gone to another school just once: Georgia, which tied a Florida record for SEC titles in a season with eight in 2005-06, was the lone team to break up the orange and blue reign. And Florida's two streaks — the 14 straight titles from 1991-92 to 2004-05, and the current streak of nine straight since 2006-07 — are now each comprised of more consecutive titles than the 13 other SEC teams have won in the award's history.
Florida also did something unprecedented in its history this season, winning the All-Sports Trophy without its men's or women's teams finishing first in the aggregate. Florida's men ranked second behind LSU, and its women second behind Texas A&M. (Florida is the only school to sweep the men's, women's, and overall All-Sports categories, and has done it 12 times, first in 1991-92.)
Florida's six SEC titles leads the conference for 2014-15, and none came in postseason play; Texas A&M ranks second in the league with four SEC titles, but only won three regular season titles, also second in the league.
And this SEC All-Sports Trophy comes despite a historical down year for Florida in the two main revenue sports: Its football team went 7-5 and fired its coach, and its men's basketball team finished with a losing record and missed postseason play for the first time in nearly two decades.
Perhaps there's something to that Everything School moniker...