Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 8/28/13
No other team has a tougher week 1 matchup than the Virginia Tech Hokies. The team is probably already packing up their bags to head down to Atlanta for their Saturday evening game against two-time defending National Champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide. In the last five years, only seven teams have managed to beat Alabama, three of which ended up going on to the National Title game, and all of which would be considered better teams than this year’s Hokies. In order to pull off what would be the biggest upset of the season, Virginia Tech will have to outperform Alabama in every aspect of the game.   Offense: The most important thing for the Hokies to do come Saturday is to put points on the board. It may sound obvious, but the fact is that even with a defense led by the great Bud Foster, Virginia Tech will not be able to shut down the Crimson Tide offense, so they will have to score early and score often. The Hokies should expect Alabama to score on the majority of their drives, and they will have to put on a show in order to keep up. Running the ball against Alabama is going to be very difficult. Their defense is prepared to stop the best rushing attacks in the SEC, AKA the best in the country. Virginia Tech’s offensive line will struggle to successfully block Alabama’s front seven and establish a running game. Virginia Tech will not win if they cannot complete long passes. There will be plenty of 3rd-and-long situations that the Hokies must convert to keep AJ McCarron and the Alabama offense off of the field if they want to have any hope of keeping this game close. Logan Thomas will have his hands full trying to pick apart Alabama’s defense, and he will not have a long time to do it. Last year he threw 16 interceptions. If he wants to beat the best team in the country, he will have to throw zero interceptions. Alabama does not give the ball up easily, and if they take it away, they will make the Hokies pay for it. It all seven of their losses over the past five years, the Tide had more turnovers than their opponents. Virginia Tech must win the turnover margin. Period.   Defense: Virginia Tech’s defense will be good this year, maybe the best in the ACC, but in week one they are not facing an ACC opponent. The first thing Nick Saban will do is see how effectively Virginia Tech can defend against the run. Alabama has an elite tailback in TJ Yeldon, and he has 5-star talent to back him up all the way down the depth chart. This game could turn into the Tide simply wearing down the defensive front with successful running plays. Virginia Tech will have to force Alabama to throw the ball and rely on their defensive backs to stop the passing attack, which will be easier said than done as well. Part of the reason the Hokie defense was expected to be so successful this season was the return of nine starters. The front seven looks solid, but they will be without cornerback Antone Exum. In his place are two true freshman, Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson. Both players have impressed the coaches, but it’s hard to believe that they will be able to step up against Alabama in their first career games as college football players. If the defense can handle Alabama’s running backs and walk away with a few interceptions (AJ McCarron threw five last year- five!), Virginia Tech has a chance to keep this game close.   Logan Thomas The senior quarterback deserves his own section because this game will be won or lost by the decisions Logan Thomas made. There is no margin for error against Alabama. He will have to protect the ball without being too conservative, make the big plays when they’re needed, and keep Alabama’s offense off of the field. He has the ability to be an elite quarterback if he can return to his 2011 form; no one denies how talented he is. He certainly regressed last season, but under new offensive coordinator Scott Loefller, Hokie fans are hoping he can find his rhythm early and pull off an upset. If he is able to just that, last years woes will be forgotten. Johnny Manziel was good before last year’s game against Alabama, but when did he become famous? After he beat Alabama. The pressure will be on for Thomas, but he has an opportunity to bring glory to his school, and always be remembered by Hokie fans as the quarterback that #BEATBAMA.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Way-too-early look at Heisman favorites in 2017
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Draymond Green mocks LeBron James after flop

Romo likely to pick team he wants to be traded to

David Ortiz slams door on rumors of potential comeback

JJ Watt said to be ahead of schedule in back injury recovery

Seahawks expect Earl Thomas to be ready for 2017 season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

SD moving companies refusing to help Chargers relocate

Brown could be fined for sharing Tomlin's speech on Facebook

Future denies being on Falcons sideline to mess with Wilson

Bill O'Brien refuses to commit to Osweiler as Texans' starter

Report: 'Good chance' Chip Kelly gets offer from Jaguars

Sportsbooks take 'colossal' hit with Cowboys, Chiefs losses

The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 1

The week in NFL news as explained by Heart

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The Mulligan: Why Chip Kelly deserves a second chance after the Niners

College coaches on the NFL's radar as the coaching carousel starts spinning

Best of Yardbarker: How to hop on NFL playoff bandwagons

Everything sports fans need to know about the Nintendo Switch

TailGreater: Picking the NFL divisional round games by hometown brews

The sports classic horror villains would play

Guilt-free guide to NFL playoff bandwagon fun

Box Score 1/13: Warming up for the playoff weekend

Complicated feelings for Tyreek Hill, others as playoffs progress

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 1

The week in NFL news as explained by Heart

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

QUIZ: Name every Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Pro-Bowler in the Super Bowl Era

Best of Yardbarker: How to hop on NFL playoff bandwagons

Everything sports fans need to know about the Nintendo Switch

The sports classic horror villains would play

Complicated feelings for Tyreek Hill and others as playoffs progress

NFL Divisional Round watchablity index

QUIZ: Name the 12 members of the San Diego Chargers in the NFL Hall of Fame

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker