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Virginia Tech Hokies Vs Alabama Crimson Tide Free Pick 8/31/13

Alabama Crimson Tide (13-1) at Virginia Tech Hokies (7-6)

College Football: Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 5:30 pm (Georgia Dome)

The Line: Virginia Tech Hokies +20 --- Over/Under: 49 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN

The Virginia Tech Hokies and Alabama Crimson Tide face-off in the Georgia Dome for week one of the 2013 college football season.

The Virginia Tech Hokies finished 7-6 overall last year and will be looking to rebound after a terrible season. If the Hokies are going to get back on track, it will be up to the offense to begin pulling a little more of the weight. The Hokies ranked 81st nationally in total and scoring offense last season, averaging only 19 points a game in the final 6 contests. Head coach Frank Beamer replaced his offensive coordinator with Scot Loeffler. Loeffler’s main priority will be to revamp the throwing motion and the confidence of starting QB Logan Thomas. The Hokies also need to help Thomas by establishing the running game, as no running back rushed for more than 500 yards in 2012. RB Trey Edmunds and RB J.C. Coleman will split carries out of the backfield this season. WR D.J. Coles is the most experienced receiver on the team, and coming off a season-ending injury, he will be highly motivated to lead the team in receptions this season. WR Demitri Knowles showed a lot of promise last season and should be a big part of the offense in 2013. Defensively, Bud Foster will return 9 players, 5 of whom earned at least honorable mention All-ACC last season. However, CB Antone Exum, the best player in the secondary, is injured and will not play in the season opener. Senior DE James Gayle, who played better as the season wore on in 2012, will lead the defensive line this season. Senior LB Tariq Edwards and senior LB Jack Tyler will lead the line backing unit this year. The front seven will have to carry the defense early on in the season, while the secondary gets healthy and becomes more experienced. Virginia Tech should play much better than last year but there is a slim chance they can knock off the defending national champs in week one.

Virginia Tech Hokies Vs  Alabama Crimson Tide Free Pick 8/31/13

Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

The Alabama Crimson Tide finished 13-1 last season and were the national champions for the second year in a row. Senior QB AJ McCarron will return to try and lead the Crimson Tide to a third straight national championship. McCarron was the most efficient quarterback in college football last year an d he didn’t throw an interception until the Crimson Tide’s 10th game. After splitting carries with Eddie Lacy last year, sophomore RB T.J. Yeldon will be the lead running back this season. Yeldon finished with over 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. Sophomore WR Amari Cooper had over 1,000 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns as a true freshman last season and is one of the best receivers in the country coming into this season. Senior WR Kevin Norwood will also get a ton of looks for Alabama this year, as he may be the most experienced receiver on the team. The entire offensive line is pretty much gone from last season, but this year’s unit will be solid. Senior RG Anthony Steen did not surrender a single sack in 2012 and he brings the most experience to the table and is expected to be an offensive leader. Defensively, Alabama will dominate up front and play smart in the secondary. Senior DE Ed Stinson returns after leading the line with 8.5 tackles for a loss last season. Junior LB Adrian Hubbard is back for another season  and after briefly considering the NFL, he’s back as Alabama’s top pass-rushing threat. The secondary should be solid again, led by junior S HaHa Clinton-Dix, who led the Crimson Tide with 5 interceptions and is a first-team All-American on numerous preseason teams. Alabama may have lost some talent to the NFL in the offseason, but to no surprise, the Crimson Tide are deep and have a ton of talent across the board.

Alabama is a scary team to begin with, but when you give Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide a whole offseason to prepare, you’re in big trouble. Virginia Tech has some personnel problems across the board, but Thomas may be the biggest question mark coming into the season. Also, the Hokies have had some injuries in the secondary, which doesn’t help against Alabama. The Crimson Tide should dominate up front and take their chances down field often in this one. I don’t believe Virginia Tech will score more than 13 points, while Alabama will be able to score at will. This game will be similar to the Alabama/Michigan game last year, which was over before it started. The Crimson Tide roll all over the Hokies in this one.

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ALABAMA -20 (highly rated)

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