8. Dec. 1, 1990
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. No. 20 Auburn Tigers
Final score: Alabama wins 16-7
What ended up making the Auburn-Florida game bittersweet for Tennessee football in 1990 was the result of this game. It proved that Auburn would not have even needed to lose for the Vols to get a share of the SEC title, and they could have won that share without an asterisk.
However, if you prefer an outright title with an asterisk to a share without an asterisk, then this is the exact outcome you wanted outside of a tie between Florida and Auburn. Heading into the final week of the season, the Vols and Tigers were tied for first in the SEC.
Alabama’s win over UT earlier in the year kept them out of outright first place. Now, the Vols had to do what no fan on Rocky Top wants to do and pull for them to win the Iron Bow. At this point, Auburn winning would mean both teams share the SEC WITH the asterisk. At least they could win it outright with the asterisk here.
Well, that’s what happen. Gene Stallings was in his first year, and after an 0-3 start, he had proven the rebound of his defense by dominating everybody on that side of the ball. It was taken to another level in this game, as the Tide won 16-7.
While that game was going on, the Vols were blowing out the Vanderbilt Commodores 49-20. As a result, they ended up winning their second straight SEC Championship and third in six years under Johnny Majors, finishing with a 5-1-1 record while Auburn finished 4-2-1.