Chick-fil-A officials confirmed Wednesday night that Virginia Tech and Alabama will face each other to begin the 2013 college football season as part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta. It’s a rematch of the 2009 season opener, when the Hokies lost, 34-24, to the Crimson Tide in Atlanta. The victory was a springboard for Alabama’s national championship run that year.
The 2013 game is expected to air in prime time on either ABC or ESPN. Tickets for the game, which is traditionally played at the Georgia Dome, will be evenly split between the two programs.
The 2013 Chick-fil-A Kickoff will also be held in conjunction with the grand opening of the new College Football Hall of Fame, which is in the process of being moved from South Bend, Ind., to Atlanta.
“Alabama and Virginia Tech are consistently two of the top teams in the country and there is no question that Nick Saban and Frank Beamer are two of the top coaches in the country,” said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO.
Added Beamer in a school-issued statement: “This is a great game for our fans and our program to open a season against a prestigious program like the University of Alabama.”
The 2009 game saw No. 7 Virginia Tech leading as the fourth quarter began, but No. 5 Alabama pulled away late for a 10-point victory. Running back Mark Ingram rushed for 150 yards, then a career high, to help spark what would become a Heisman season for him.
Virginia Tech and Alabama have met 12 times since 1932, with the Crimson Tide winning all but once.
“We have a lot of respect for Coach Beamer and the Virginia Tech program, and we look forward to another great game in 2013,” Alabama Coach Nick Saban said in a statement.
To make room on its 2013 schedule for this game, Virginia Tech moved games against East Carolina in 2012 and 2013 to 2016 and 2017. The 2013 contest was supposed to be played in Greenville, N.C., which means Virginia Tech swapped a road game against a Conference USA opponent for a neutral-site affair against one of college football’s traditional powers.
Athletic Director Jim Weaver indicated the Hokies will likely fill the hole in their 2012 schedule with a to-be-determined division I-AA opponent, since most division I-A programs already have their slate of games set at this late juncture. . . .
In other football-related news, Virginia Tech announced Wednesday that 15 freshmen have arrived on campus to take part in the second session of summer classes in Blacksburg. They all attended a team meeting Tuesday night and started participating in the Hokies’ strength and conditioning program, along with other activities to get them acclimated to college life.
Two other recruits — safety Ronny Vandyke of South County HS and wide receiver Robert Lockhart from Florida — are expected to enroll in in time for preseason practices, which begin Aug. 4. Also, freshman safety Boye Aromire of H.D. Woodson High (during high school he went by Adeboye Aromire) has been on campus since January and took part in spring practice.
That leaves defensive end DeWayne Alford, athlete/tight end Chris Hall and kicker Michael Branthover of DeMatha as greyshirts for the 2011 season, meaning they won’t enroll at Virginia Tech until January 2012 and therefore won’t count towards the scholarship limit of 85 this year.