Alabama Players Grew Up Rooting for FSU

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Andre Smith's boyhood home had a room painted in Florida State garnet and gold. Darren Mustin was fond of doing the Tomahawk Chop around his own house.

Alabama players who grew up rooting for the Seminoles - and there are plenty of them - get to face their boyhood team on Saturday in Jacksonville.

The 22nd-ranked Crimson Tide's coach also has ties going back even further with Florida State coach Bobby Bowden. This makes the a matchup with a little more personal sentiment than usual for Nick Saban.

Saban was a rookie graduate assistant at Kent State trying to help his family cope with the death of his father when Bowden, then coaching at West Virginia, called out of the blue with a generous offer.

Saban is a West Virginia native who was home with his mother at the time of the call.

Alabama (3-1) and Florida State (2-1) haven't met since 1974.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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