Why Florida over Alabama is this week's upset special

NATIONAL UPSET SPECIAL – Padawan, protégé, whatever you want to call Florida's Will Muschamp, he's facing his ‘Jedi master' Saturday in Gainesville with a good chance to roll Alabama's Crimson Tide.
By BERRY TRAMEL Published: September 30, 2011

Nick Saban is Will Muschamp's mentor. Muschamp joined Saban's LSU staff in 2001, became Saban's defensive coordinator in 2002 and helped Saban win a national championship in 2003.

Saban even went to the Miami Dolphins with Saban in 2005, before returning to college football at Auburn in 2006.

But Saturday, Saban and Muschamp aren't mentor/protégé. They are combatants. Muschamp is head coach at Florida, and his so-far impressive Gators stand in the way of Saban's third-ranked Alabama team in a showdown at the Swamp in Gainesville, Fla.

When a reporter this week compared their relationship to that of a young Padawan and a Jedi Master, Muschamp didn't get the Star Wars reference.

“I don't know what a padawan is,” Muschamp said. “You didn't call me a bad name, did you?”

There's no assurance Saban won't be using a bad name. Muschamp's Gators are playing much better than anyone foresaw. Alabama is a 5 1/2-point favorite, but Florida is tough at home. Let's go with the Padawan in an upset.


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