Alabama has won two straight BCS titles and three out of the last four.
The Tide are the closest thing to a dynasty in college football in quite some time, and Nick Saban's team continues to perform at an elite level, with no sign of slowing down in the near future.
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech finished 7-6 last season, barely sneaking into a bowl game, which it won.
Two teams seemingly headed in opposite directions, with very different football seasons anticipated for each of them, square off in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game to start their seasons in 2013.
Who coaches the better game on August 31?
The two teams met back in 2009, when both were Top-10 teams, and the Tide downed the Hokies, 34-24.
This season's version, what you might call "the remix," features an Alabama team that is at or near the top of just about every poll and a Virginia Tech team that is difficult to read and predict.
With nine starters returning, the Hokies defense is going to be nothing if not experienced, but it will have a task ahead of it to try and slow down Alabama's offense, which averaged more than 445 yards per game in 2012 and returns several key starters.
Quarterback Logan Thomas has the physical tools and potential to be a Heisman candidate, but he has been touted as such for two seasons with terrible results. He's been inaccurate, inconsistent and scattered, with just enough brilliance mixed in to leave a bad aftertaste when he makes mistakes.
On paper and in the minds of football fans everywhere, Alabama is the clear favorite in this one.
So BetOnline has Alabama -15.5 over Virginia Tech while 5Dimes has the Tide -23.5. Not sure I've ever seen numbers like that.— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) May 20, 2013
The Tide's talent is clearly superior to that of the Hokies, and this game is already a lock.
But what if it isn't?
What if the Hokies pull off an upset and knock off the top-ranked team in the nation to start the season?
Other than 'Bama fans across the country resorting to desperate measures to display their displeasure, what kind of impact would this upset have on the college football landscape?
For Alabama, it would be all but a death knell for any national title three-peat aspirations. The Tide made it to the BCS title game each of the past two seasons with one loss, but in each of those seasons, the team that beat them finished near the top of the BCS rankings.
Even if Virginia Tech were to pull off the big win, it would be a stretch to imagine the Hokies finishing inside the BCS Top 10 this season, leaving Alabama's resume just a little short of title worthy, if other undefeated teams are waiting in the wings.
While the loss would not have a direct impact on Alabama's bid for an SEC title, it would provide a sliver of hope for every team it will face. If the Hokies can pull it off, why can't other opponents?
It's a huge stretch to imagine that this takes place, but stranger things have happened in college football. But every year we are shocked when upsets happen.
If the Tide lose to open the season, they then have to navigate a schedule that still includes Texas A&M and LSU, among other SEC stalwarts. And they must do it without a blemish to have a slight chance to return to the pinnacle of the college football universe.
Understand, this is not a prediction that Virginia Tech will win, but an examination of the impact an upset would have on the college football landscape.
The waves felt by such an upset would be felt from Tuscaloosa to Columbus and Eugene to Baton Rouge.
The entire season would have to be reconsidered. The No. 1 team in the nation would fall, and chaos would ensue.
For Virginia Tech, such a win could provide enough of a confidence boost to propel the Hokies back to a double-digit win season for the 10th time in 12 years and possibly to an ACC title game.
It has only been two seasons since Frank Beamer's team played in a BCS bowl, losing to Michigan.
So it's not completely out of the realm of imagination to consider that the team could beat Alabama, if all the cards fall the right way.
Simply put, besides the repercussions on the teams involved, such an upset would transform the face of the 2013 season from Week 1 and begin the final season of the BCS system in such a way that would spread chaos for one last year.