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

Alabama Crimson Tide Vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Free Pick 8/31/13
2013-08-31 04:30:00 EDT

The back-to-back National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in the 2013 Chik-fil-A Kickoff Classic in the Georgia Dome.

The Alabama Crimson Tide are coming off of another National Championship season and they start the season number one in the polls but don’t expect the Tide to rest on their past accomplishments. If we look back Alabama needed help just to make it to the National Championship game last season as they had lost at home to Texas A&M  but when several teams ahead of them fell combined with a win in the SEC Championship Game the Tide had another chance to win it all. While Nick Saban is used to losing a lot of his players he does have A.J. McCarron back at QB which gives the Tide a proven winner. Running back T.J. Yeldon is on the Heisman Trophy watch lists but Kenyan Drake should see action. Amari Cooper is a clutch playmaker at wide receiver and Brian Vogler at 6’7 is the tight end. For Alabama it is all about the defense and creating field position and Saban loves his nose tackles historically and this year he has Brandon Ivory at 310 pounds backed up by 324 pounder Darren Lake. Alabama’s defense gets it done with solid tackling and taking advantage of turover opportunities and making teams pay and they have the guys to do that once again with Trey DePriest, C.J. Mosley, and Vinnie Sunseri who were all key players a year ago. Alabama isn’t unbeatable, no team is, but it going to take a monster effort and nearly perfectly played game to beat them.

The Virginia Tech Hokies are coming off of one of their worst seasons in recent memories and while there is plenty of blame to go around, the team will need to play better and under Frank Beamer when the Hokies have had a bad year they have bounced back with epic runs across several years. QB Logan Thomas was awful last year completing around 50 percent of his passes and while opinion is mixed as the running game and receiving corps were bad, one answer could be the film is out and he is just a better runner than passer so opposing coordinators dared him and VT to beat them with his arm and they couldn’t do it. Virginia Tech has some issues at running back but Trey Edmunds and J.C. Coleman figure to be the top two options at running back. Demitri Knowles and Joshua Stanford are underachievers, something we almost never see in Blacksburg but they clearly need to step it up. The Virginia Tech defense was dent for the most part last year but when they were forced to carry the entire load it was just too much for them. Kyshoen Jarrett is the leading returning tackler with 83 a year ago, Detrick Bonner had 60, and Kyle Fuller had 52. When thee of your top for tacklers are in the secondary that usually isn’t a great sign.

Alabama is 7-1 against the spread in their last eight neutral site games, 10-4 against the spread in their last 14 non-conference games, and 4-1 against the spread on an artificial surface. Virginia Tech is 7-18-1 against the spread in their last 26 games, 1-3-1 against the spread in their last five neutral site games, and 2-7-1 against the spread in their last 10 non-conference games.

Many will say that last year’s Hokies demise was just a blip on the radar but it sure didn’t look like that at times as it looked more like the opposition just having Thomas figured out and then swinging the game from there. Many bleive that if you give Frank Beamer this much time to prepare for an opponent he can do anything, the problem here for Beamer and the Hokies is we just need to look at the last two times Alabama had time to prepare, last year’s opener against Michigan and the National Championship against Notre Dame, and we see ugly results for their opponent. The line here suggests a one sided game and I see it that way as well, though dominated by the defenses. Look for Bama to have their way and they should convert on enough of their chances with at least some points to get the cover.

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Mitch Wilson's Free Pick:
Alabama Crimson Tide -19.5
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Mitch Wilson

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