The Alabama Crimson Tide open the 2013 season with a world full of expectations resting on their shoulders. Nick Saban has one of the most talented teams in the past decade and has turned this program into a dynasty with two straight national titles and a good chance at a three-peat. AJ McCarron is set to lead one of the nation’s best squads into an easy schedule in 2013.
On the other side of the field, the Virginia Tech Hokies have somewhat of an underrated team. Returning starting quarterback Logan Thomas from last year’s 7-6 team will be a big piece to the ACC title puzzle. However, they finished with just seven wins last season, their lowest total in the past decade under legendary coach Frank Beamer.
Alabama’s offense will be pretty potent this season with McCarron taking the snaps. Running back T.J. Yeldon will be a key to the offense as well. The 1,000-yard rusher from 2012 backed up Eddie Lacy and showed that he can be a superstar. I wouldn’t be surprised if both of these guys contended for a Heisman. One guy that will help McCarron’s Heisman case is wide out Amari Cooper. He caught 59 passes for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns as a freshman last season.
The Hokies run out an offensive unit that was average at best in 2012. Virginia Tech was good for just 377 yards and 25 points per game last season with Thomas under center. The senior quarterback had a bit of a poor junior season. He passes for 2,976 yards and 18 touchdowns, but he only completed 51 percent of his passes and had 18 interceptions.
Alabama’s defense was tops in the nation in nearly every category last season and they are only getting better. Returning eight starters to the best defense in college football is no joke. Linebacker C.J. Mosely is the leader of that unit. Virginia Tech’s defense wasn’t as impressive, but there were still solid. They allowed just 333 yards and 22.8 points per game a season ago. Two pretty tough defenses right here.
Alabama and Virginia Tech will be playing their early-season matchup at a neutral site in Atlanta, Georgia, at 5:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Aug. 31. The game will be aired on ESPN.
PREDICTION: Alabama 35, Virginia Tech 17
Related: SEC Week One Preview