LOS ANGELES - If familiarity is a factor, Texas would have an edge over Alabama in Thursday night's Bowl Championship Series title game.
Will Muschamp, Texas' defensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting, worked with Alabama coach Nick Saban for three years at Louisiana State and another with the NFL's Miami Dolphins.
Major Applewhite, Texas' running backs coach, was Saban's offensive coordinator at Alabama in 2007.
That means both coaches should be well versed with the strategies Saban and the Crimson Tide might like to employ.
But is that much of an advantage?
Muschamp doesn't think so.
"I think as far as the game is concerned it's going to come down to ..... those seven or eight plays in the game that determine the outcome of it and you don't know when they're going to come," he said.
In other words, players - not coaches - will determine the winner.
Muschamp's defense ranks among the best in the nation in several important categories, but the coach expects to have his hands full against a versatile Alabama offense.
"I feel like we've faced some good backs all year, (but) not a Heisman Trophy winner," Muschamp said, referring to tailback Mark Ingram.
And when it comes to passing, the coach lamented, quarterback Greg McElroy "is so very accurate with the ball."
Saban lauded Muschamp for doing "an outstanding job" as his coordinator, but he downplayed inside knowledge being a big factor in this game.
"We know a little bit what they do and they know a little bit what we do," Saban said. "But in games like this, you got to make what you do work with your players."
Texas players "haven't even talked" about Muschamp's matchup against his former boss, defensive tackle Lamarr Houston said. "I think winning the national championship is motivation enough," he added.
If history repeats, Muschamp's defense should enjoy some success Thursday night.
When Muschamp was Auburn's defensive coordinator in 2006 and 2007, the Tigers defeated Saban and Alabama twice, 17-10 and 22-15.
Not that Muschamp would gloat.
"I'm grateful to him," he said of Saban. "He gave me the opportunity to coach at LSU."
This season, Muschamp often exchanged text messages with Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
Until the information highway screeched to a halt late in the season.
"You're always looking for fresh ideas," Muschamp said. "But late in the year, when you realized there's a pretty good chance you're going to play each other, you stop sharing ideas. They just didn't get as much from us and we didn't get as much from them."