Raiders.com College Football Matchup of the Week

Prior to donning the Silver and Black each Sunday, many of the Raiders players were wearing different colors on Saturdays, playing for their college teams and representing their respective universities.

This time of the year in particular college rivalries run deep, so we're here to highlight some of the matchups between current Raiders teammates, but former college football foes.

The Matchup:

For this week's Raiders.com College Football Matchup of the Week, we travel to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., where Neiron Ball's No. 18 Florida Gators take on Amari Cooper's No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game.

*Background: *

It's been quite a year for the Florida Gators and their first-year Head Coach Jim McElwain.

The Gators have been the surprise team of the SEC, going 10-2 in McElwain's first year at the helm, and finishing the season on top of the SEC East.

While last week's 27-2 loss to in-state rival Florida State knocked them out of the discussion for the College Football Playoff, winning the SEC Championship would be quite the feather in the hat for McElwain in his first year in Gainesville.

The Crimson Tide enter the showdown in Atlanta boasting an 11-1 record, and need a win Saturday to secure their spot in the College Football Playoff for the second-consecutive year.

Alabama has won nine in a row and have their sights set on winning another National Championship, but before they can look ahead, they have to beat the Gators.

A Walk Down Memory Lane:

Ball:The rookie linebacker appeared in 45 games as a Gator, totaling 94 tackles (37 solo), 5.5 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 interception, 4 passes defensed, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 forced fumble.

Ball impressively tallied all these stats even after missing the entire 2011 season after suffering an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) condition.

After returning to the field in 2012, Ball was named a finalist for the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award.

Cooper: When Cooper's career in Tuscaloosa came to an end, he was ranked as the most productive wide receiver in program history.

He appeared in 40 games, making 30 starts, and set school records with 228 receptions, 3,463 receiving yards and 31 receiving touchdowns in his career.

Cooper also ranks near the top of the SEC's record book in every major receiving category and was the first Alabama wide receiver to win the Biletnikoff Award.

He's also very familiar with the SEC Championship Game as he broke the SEC Champion Game record for single-game receptions, hauling in 12 catches in 2014.

 Prediction:

The Crimson Tide have everything to play for Saturday.

Head Coach Nick Saban has been very forthright that his team's objective each year is to win the National Championship, and in order for that to happen, Alabama has to take care of business Saturday and beat the Gators.

Alabama running back Derrick Henry should be a Heisman Trophy-finalist, and I fully expect the big back to get rolling against the Florida defense.

21-10, advantage Crimson Tide.

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