On Friday August 30, Alabama got off the bus as a 20.5 point favorite, but they also had their quarterback sporting some footwear. A.J. McCarron was seen in a walking boot, yet Alabama says that it’s only for precautionary measures. In other words, A.J. McCarron should be fine and dandy come game time at 8 p.m.
Alabama is coming off of their second national championship in a row, while Virginia Tech is trying to earn some respectability back after a lackluster season. Though Alabama has the aura of invincibility, the Crimson Tide are very much beatable. Two years ago, they didn’t make it to the SEC Championship game, and somehow earned a title shot through the back door. Last season, they lost to Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies, and still won the SEC title and BCS title against and overrated Notre Dame team.
The offensive line needs to improve after graduating a few starters to the NFL, but our focus will be on the running game early. Mainly, it will be intriguing to see T.J. Yeldon take the reigns as the dominant back. As one of the best backs in the country, Yeldon has a superior forward lean once encountering contact. Can Virginia Tech stop the Alabama running game on first down? If they allow the Crimson Tide to win the early downs, then they’ll have no chance at the monumental upset.
With Logan Thomas running the show, Virginia Tech thought they would have a potent offense by now, but injuries have derailed the optimism. Thomas needs to play mistake free football. He also has to make hero plays without trying to be the hero.
Virginia Tech lost tight end Ryan Malleck with a torn labrum earlier on Thursday. It’s just another weapon that the Hokies don’t have against what should be a dominating defense.
Alabama is ranked number one in all polls, including new Examiner.com poll. They should have pressure in week one, but the neutral site might feel like a home game in SEC country.
The Verdict: This game comes down to a couple things. Is A.J. McCarron healthy? If he is, the Crimson Tide should roll. If they aren’t in an early blowout, that means the Virginia Tech defense is playing well, and more importantly, Logan Thomas isn’t throwing drive killing interceptions. Although T.J. Yeldon is what the defense should game plan around, the Hokies defense has to contain Amari Cooper to pull the upset. It won’t happen.
Virginia Tech 17