Where: Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Line: Alabama by 20.5.
Radio: 95.5 FM
1. Benchmark: Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer ihas said this game will help him gauge where the Hokies are as a program. That doesn’t sound like a coach who’s confident in his team’s chances to win.
2. Making a statement: Alabama’s offensive line has had to answer questions all off-season about how the Tide will replace former All-Americans Barrett Jones, D.J. Fluker and Chance Warmack. Look for the new unit to come out fired up to show everyone they’re ready to step into Tide history.
3. Bombs away: With fifth-year senior quarterback AJ McCarron and a plethora of weapons, don’t be surprised if Alabama opens up in four-wide sets and throws the ball early on. This will keep the Hokies’ defense honest and also give the Tide the opportunity to showcase some of its thoroughbreds at the skill positions.
4. Home cooking: Virginia Tech is technically the home team, but expect a sea of crimson in the Georgia Dome. The Dome is Alabama’s second home and fans are going to travel in bunches. It will be loud and most of the cheers will be for the “visiting” team.
Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas vs. Alabama’s defense: Thomas is Virginia Tech’s most important player. If he is able to make plays with his arm and feet, the Hokies may have a shot to make this one interesting. If not, the game will be over early.
Because Thomas has shown the ability to make something happen with his feet when plays break down, look for the Tide to keep a spy on him for much of the game.
Virginia Tech doesn’t have much of a shot in this game. Obviously, Alabama is supremely talented, but the Tide had one more important factor working in its favor: time. Given time, Nick Saban and his staff are the best in the country. So with time to dissect the Hokies, the Tide should run away with this one. Alabama will jump on the Hokies early to send a statement to the rest of the college football world. Alabama 34, Virginia Tech 13.