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Alabama vs. Florida: Nick Saban Will Win First of Many against Will Muschamp

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 17:  Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide coaches from the sidelines as they play North Texas on September 17, 2011 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
Butch Dill/Getty Images
Joseph HealyCorrespondent ISeptember 30, 2011

Here in Week 5 of the college football season, we have the best game of the SEC season so far in Alabama vs. Florida.

LSU is clearly the class of the conference at this point, but the winner of this Saturday's Alabama-Florida game will be in the driver's seat as the team most likely to upset LSU this season.

Both teams will get a shot at LSU. Florida plays them next week, and Alabama catches them in November.

Beyond the implication for this season, Alabama vs. Florida has the feel of a grudge match between two intense head coaches who will be battling each other for a long time.

Those coaches, of course, are Alabama's Nick Saban and Florida's Will Muschamp. In their first matchup against each other as head coaches, Saban will come out with a victory.

As much as fans and analysts want to make breakdowns of games as complicated as possible, this one is simple. The Crimson Tide just have a more talented and more experienced team.

Muschamp has his Gators playing better than many expected them to already. Coming into the season, Florida was considered to be a good team. Most figured they would be a top-20 team.

As it turns out, they have played like a top-10 team. They have just yet to play any team as talented and physical as Alabama.

The Alabama defense is as talented and disciplined as always, and the offense is starting to come around. A.J. McCarron is settling into his role as the starting quarterback, and Trent Richardson is beginning to show why he is a future first-round pick.

It will be that offensive talent that will make the difference for Alabama. Defense will rule the day, but Trent Richardson will be able to salt the game away late with his hard-running style.

Muschamp will come up empty in his first game as a head coach against Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, but he will get his share of wins soon enough.

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