The wait is almost over, folks. The 2013 college football season is just over a week away for some teams. For the Virginia Tech Hokies, they are 12 days away from meeting No. 1 Alabama in Atlanta.
Since fall practice began two weeks ago, the Hokies have suffered a rash of injuries, some being more significant than others. Starting linebacker Ronny Vandyke and backup running back Tony Gregory are already out for the year. Starting running back J.C. Coleman's status for the season opener is in doubt due to spraining both ankles, while potential starting offensive tackle Mark Shuman is out at least four and possibly up to six weeks with a knee injury.
It's a bad time for the Hokies to be dealing with injuries. Beating the two-time defending national champions will be difficult enough if healthy, but now it could be next to impossible.
So can Virginia Tech shock the nation and upset the Tide? Or can the Hokies rebound from their most disappointing season in 20 years and reclaim the ACC once again?
Here is a look at our 2013 game-by-game predictions for the Hokies.
All offseason, Hokie fans, players and coaches have taken to Twitter and popularized the hashtag "#BEATBAMA." Now the time is upon us to see if that can actually happen.
Can Virginia Tech actually beat the Crimson Tide?
The answer to this question may have been different several months ago before the Hokies' recent string of injuries. Even then it would have been tough to pick VT. However, with a strong defense that returns eight starters, they would stay in the game.
The same question that was asked in April still persists today: Can Virginia Tech actually score?
Yes, the Hokies will score but not nearly enough. Despite a valiant effort by the underdogs, Alabama is just too strong.
Alabama 27 - Virginia Tech 10
VT (0-1, 0-0)
The Hokies couldn't have asked for a better "get-well" opponent than the Catamounts of Western Carolina.
Western Carolina, of the Southern Conference in FCS, has not won a conference game in two years, and they have only nine wins total in the last five years.
This game will be an excellent opportunity for some of the skill players on offense to get experience before the conference schedule begins.
Virginia Tech 41 - Western Carolina 6
VT (1-1, 0-0)
The Hokies continue their early-season schedule against directional North Carolina schools with a visit to Greenville to play East Carolina.
This will be much tougher test than the Catamounts, though. The Pirates return 18 starters, and this is head coach Ruffin McNeill's best team yet in his four seasons on campus.
The Pirates play a fast-paced offense that will put pressure on a very good VT defense. However, they don't play very good defense.
East Carolina has played the Hokies tough in the past, even beating them in 2008, but Virginia Tech will survive on this day.
Virginia Tech 34 - East Carolina 20
VT (2-1, 0-0)
Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato led the nation in passing in 2012, averaging 350 yards per game. He is back and so is a talented cast around him. The Thundering Herd return eight starters on offense and should be even better in 2013.
Marshall was 5-7 last year and is expected to be much better this year. Are the Herd good enough to beat the Hokies, though?
This game should remain close into the third quarter before Virginia Tech pulls away.
Virginia Tech 30 - Marshall 17
VT (3-1, 0-0)
VT's first conference game is on a Thursday night in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets have been tough on Beamer's teams in the last several years, but if last year was any indication, it appears defensive coordinator Bud Foster has found a way to slow down Georgia Tech's triple option.
Last year's season opener featured these two teams, and that game went into overtime. Expect an equally competitive contest in 2013 with a result closely resembling last season.
Virginia Tech 23 - Georgia Tech 20
VT (4-1, 1-0)
North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora enters his second season looking to improve upon last season's 8-4 record. One of those wins came in Chapel Hill over the Hokies. It was a game where the Virginia Tech truly never threatened the Tar Heels.
UNC senior quarterback Bryn Renner will have a big year in Fedora's spread offense. The Tar Heels can score, even against a defense as stingy as Bud Foster's group.
This game will come down to the wire in Blacksburg with the Tar Heels pulling it out in the end.
North Carolina 27 - Virginia Tech 23
VT (4-2, 1-1)
The Hokies traveled to Pittsburgh last September, and it was a performance Foster and his defense would like to soon forget. The Panthers had over 500 yards of total offense and could do nothing wrong.
Fortunately for VT, many of the players who gave them trouble last year no longer play for the Panthers. And this game is in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech 24 - Pittsburgh 10
VT (5-2, 2-1)
Virginia Tech gets a much-needed week off before hosting the Blue Devils in late October. Last year's meeting between these two was a strange one. Duke jumped out to a early 20-0 lead before the Hokies got going and scored 41 unanswered points to dispatch of the Devils rather easily.
Although Duke will never be a football powerhouse, head coach David Cutcliffe has this team on the rise. That still won't be enough to defeat Beamer's squad.
Virginia Tech 35 - Duke 14
VT (6-2, 3-1)
Since Matt Ryan's departure to the NFL after the 2007 season, the Eagles have had their fair share of struggles.
After just six wins the last two seasons, Frank Spaziani was fired and Steve Addazio was hired to lead the Eagles.
The Eagles have lost five straight to the Hokies but took them to overtime last season in Chestnut Hill. Boston College returns seven starters on defense, so they will be competitive. Just not competitive enough to defeat VT.
Virginia Tech 27 - Boston College 13
VT (7-2, 4-1)
Virginia Tech has dominated the Hurricanes over the past 10 years, winning seven of the 10 meetings between the schools. Miami won last season's contest, but it wasn't pretty. The Hokies squandered several opportunities to score before the Canes pulled away late.
Both teams won seven games last year and will be better in 2013.
This game will feature a matchup between a pair of talented senior quarterbacks in Logan Thomas and Stephen Morris. Expect a competitive battle, but Morris and exciting tailback Duke Johnson will be too much for the Hokies in the end.
Miami 24 - Virginia Tech 17
VT (7-3, 4-2)
The Hokies have played the Terrapins only four times since entering the ACC in 2004. The series hasn't gone well for Maryland, as they have lost all four games by an average of 26 points.
Don't expect that to change in 2013. Terps wide receiver Stefon Diggs is one of the more talented and exciting players in the nation and will make several plays in this game. It just won't be enough to pull off the upset.
Virginia Tech 34 - Maryland 13
VT (8-3, 5-2)
A rivalry is defined as "the action, position, or relation of a rival or rivals, competition."
The Virginia Cavaliers have long been known as Virginia Tech's biggest rival. Yet with the Hokies winning the last nine meetings and 13 of 14, is this still considered a rivalry?
Yes, it's still a rivalry. Fans and players from both schools still loathe the other. Is this the year the Cavaliers take possession of the Commonwealth Cup?
This game will be close throughout, but the Cavaliers will come up short in the end.
Virginia Tech 21 - Virginia 16
VT (9-3, 6-2)
The Hokies finish with a 9-3 record, however, with losses to UNC and Miami in conference play. They will not be in the ACC Championship Game. They will play in a bowl and have a chance to get back to 10 wins after finishing with only seven in 2012.