Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver confirmed Thursday that the Hokies football team is in negotiations to face Alabama to start off the 2013 season at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic in Atlanta.
The game would be a rematch of Virginia Tech’s 34-24 loss to the Crimson Tide to start the 2009 season, which was also played in Atlanta.
“Nothing’s ready to be announced yet . . . but we’ve been in discussions with them,” Weaver said. “We’re very, very proud and excited to be invited to play in that important game and the kickoff classic once again.”
When asked whether it was Alabama or Chick-fil-A officials holding up an official announcement, Weaver said, “I don’t think there’s any hang-ups. It’s just getting everything done.”
Before Chick-fil-A officials approached Virginia Tech about another high-profile season opener, the Hokies’ 2013 nonconference schedule was already full. But Weaver said there is already an agreement in place to move Virginia Tech’s games against East Carolina in 2012 and 2013 to 2016 and 2017.
The Hokies have been making a habit of scheduling season openers that provide a certain national cachet, including games against Southern California in 2004 and Boise State in 2010 (both of which were played at FedEx Field and resulted in Virginia Tech losses). The Hokies have also played early-season home-and-home series with LSU and Nebraska in the past five years.
In the 2009 season opener, when the Hokies faced the Crimson Tide for the first time since the 1998 Music City Bowl, Virginia Tech had a lead in the fourth quarter before Alabama pulled away late for the victory. The Crimson Tide went on to win the national championship that year.
If the two teams meet in 2013, it could potentially be the senior season for new quarterback Logan Thomas, who enters 2011 as a redshirt sophomore and the presumed starter under center.
And though this year’s nonconference schedule promises to be one of the softest in recent memory (Appalachian State, East Carolina, Arkansas State and Marshall had a combined record of 25-25 last season), that won’t be the case in future years. The Hokies have upcoming series against Pittsburgh (2012, 2013), Cincinnati (2012 at FedEx Field), Ohio State (2014, 2015) and Wisconsin (2016, 2017) on the books already.