Oh My! Florida Gators take on Alabama This Week (The One From Birmingham)

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 03: Jeff Demps #28 of the University of Florida Gators runs for yardage during a game against the Florida Atlantic University Owls at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 3, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

SB Nation Tampa Bay takes an in depth look and the Florida Gators-UAB Blazers Matchup

The Gators take on the University of Alabama this week - but its not the powerhouse from Tuscaloosa. Florida hosts C-USA's Alabama-Birmingham this week as their last tune up before launching into the SEC schedule.

This game obviously lacks the same luster as the one that will happen on October 1st, but there's still a few storylines that could make this one a little more than just a yawner.

A Little About UAB

Record: 0-0

Team Mascot: Dragon

Nickname: Blazers

Biggest win in school history: September 23, 2000 - UAB upsets LSU 13-10 in Baton Rouge, La.

Notable Players: Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons, Joe Webb, QB, Minnesota Vikings

Other Facts: UAB is 2-15 all time against SEC opponents.

Series: Florida leads 1-0

Last Meeting: 2002, Florida 51, UAB 3

Florida Gators Passing Attack vs. UAB Blazers' Pass Defense

John Brantley and the Gator passing game moved the ball well against FAU as he threw for 229 yds and completed 70% of his passes, but Brantley also tossed two interceptions against a subpar secondary.

If Florida is going to be successful this season, Brantley has to do a better job at protecting the football.

UAB boasts an experienced secondary featuring first team All-Conference USA defensive back Jamie Bender and senior Lamansky Ware that could give the Gators a little trouble.

Advantage: Florida

Florida Running Game vs. UAB Run Defense

Florida's two headed monster of Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey definitely terrorized FAU last week. Combining for 184 rushing yds and 4 touchdowns, Demps and Rainey provide dual threats. If Florida can show that the dynamic duo is consistent this could be the driving force to keeping the Gators in contention for a division title.

UAB's defense suffered from attrition, but still boasts All-Conference USA senior DT Elliot Henigan and linebacker Marvin Burdette, who registered an impressive 147 tackles.

Advantage: Florida

UAB Blazers Passing Game vs. Florida Gators Pass Defense

Florida limited FAU to just 107 yards passing and no scores in week one.  Unfortunately, FAU didn't offer much in regards to quarterback play so its hard to gauge whether it was FAU's poor execution or Florida's pass defense (or a combination of both) that resulted in the dominant performance.

UAB will be more of a challenge with a quality quarterback in Bryan Ellis. Ellis threw for 2,940 yds and 25 touchdowns last season. His top two targets Jackie Williams and Patrick Hearn return to give their passing attack a veteran look.

Advantage: Push

UAB Running Game vs. Florida's Run Defense

The Gators were even more dominant in run defense, holding the FAU Owls to 30 yds on 30 carries (even a Seminole fan can do that math). FAU did have a runner with a pedigree but again the entire team wasn't much of a challenge.

UAB will be a step up in competition, with running back Patrick Shed being a threat. Shed was 5th in Conference USA in rushing, running for 847 yds and 3 scores. He averaged 5.4 yards a carry. Shed also showed talent catching the ball out of the backfield, pulling in 47 receptions and 4 touchdowns.

Advantage: Florida

Special Teams

Caleb Sturgis was perfect on his two field goal attempts last week and the Gators never punted.

UAB has a senior punter, Trey Regland, and a freshman kicker Ty Long.

Florida's Demps and Rainey also contribute on Kick/Punt Returns, as does the 2010 National Returner of the year Andre Dubose.

Advantage: Florida

Coaching

Will Muschamp is in his first season at Florida and is 1-0. Charlie Weis, former Notre Dame Head Coach and New England Patriots/Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator is Florida's offensive coordinator.

Nick Callaway is in his fourth season at UAB. He is 15-33 with no post season appearances. UAB offensive coordinator Kim Helton is a UF alumni

Advantage: Florida

Outlook

Florida gets its second sacrificial lamb of the season - but UAB could be a little feisty - at least for a little while. They have some talent (certainly a lot more than FAU did) and could offer a bit of a challenge for the Gator defense.

Still, Florida is just too talented and too deep. 

Prediction: Florida 38, UAB 10

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