Beating Alabama would be a transformative, program-defining win for the Hokies —but it’s just not in the cards.
While Tech does have a few advantages heading into the game, they’re vastly outweighed by the negative factors working against the Hokies.
There’s no doubt that Alabama could look past the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game to the team’s subsequent match against Texas A&M and get distracted.
And it’s entirely possible that Tech’s formidable defense could come together incredibly quickly and shut down the Tide’s relatively simple offense.
But neither of those things is particularly likely to happen.
On top of that, the Hokies have suffered some crucial injuries at key positions.
The biggest absence is outside linebacker Ronny Vandyke. Vandyke was poised for a breakout season anchoring Tech’s defense at “whip” linebacker, but now he’s out for the year.
Redshirt sophomore Josh Trimble will take his place, and while he’s shown promise in practice, he has little game experience.
Tech’s offense is similarly inexperienced.
Jonathan McLaughlin will be the first true freshman to ever start at tackle under Frank Beamer, while injuries have forced redshirt freshman Trey Edmunds to start at running back.
Both players will be key to Tech’s success, and while both have looked good in spring practice, that’s very different from playing the defending national champion on ESPN.
The bottom line here is that Alabama has too much talent at every position for the Hokies to handle.
Whether it’s explosive receivers like Amari Cooper or dominant defenders like C.J. Mosley, the Tide are loaded even after sending a host of prospects to the NFL.
It would be a nice story if the Hokies win, and would certainly be a defining moment for Beamer.
But a loss just seems far more likely.
Rarely, if ever, is there a useable link between Virginia Tech football and the 1994 film “Dumb and Dumber,” — trust me, I’ve looked. But amidst all the lopsided speculation heading into this weekend’s opener I can’t help but find a connection.
Late in the film, Lloyd, played by the most nerdy, awkward Jim Carrey imaginable, asks the beautiful Mary, “What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me... ending up together?” She tells him not good, saying it’s just about one in a million.
Lloyd, stunned, freezes before smiling and proudly exclaiming, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!”
Meet your Virginia Tech Hokies. With a chance.
The Hokies chances heading into the opener are slightly better than one-in-a-million, but not much. Not much is a start.
“It’s not always who should win,” said Hokies head coach Frank Beamer, “it’s who does win.”
I know the Hokies aren’t a better football team than the Crimson Tide, but then again this prediction isn’t based on what I know; it’s based on a gut feeling I have. If you want evidence supporting why the Hokies will win, I’m sorry, I don’t have it.
My prediction — admittedly based on gut feeling rather than the mounds of evidence in front of me — Virginia Tech beats Alabama 24-20.
You should probably note, however, that Lloyd never does end up with Mary.