Nick Saban isn’t sure who to root for in the Super Bowl.

The Alabama coach is a longtime friend of Bill Belichick, having spent four years under the New England Patriots coach as defensive coordinator in Cleveland. Atlanta head man Dan Quinn was Saban’s defensive line coach for his two seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

In some ways, Saban is the Belichick of college football, having won four national titles over the past eight seasons. Belichick has won four Super Bowls.

Making the pick even tougher: Both teams have two of his former Crimson Tide players. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower and cornerback Cyrus Jones play for the Patriots. The Falcons have wide receiver Julio Jones _ Saban’s first huge signee in Tuscaloosa _ and linebacker Courtney Upshaw.

"This is a tough one for me, this Super Bowl,” Saban said. “Dan Quinn coached for two years for me at Miami, was the defensive line coach. Bill and I have been friends forever. We have a couple players playing for Atlanta that are pretty significant contributors. We have some guys playing for New England that are significant contributors. We have some guys on practice squads. And I usually, with the NFL teams, I just root for our guys.

“Well, it's kind of hard to figure out who 'our guys' are in this one.”