In 2009, Alabama's run to the BCS national championship began with a back-and-forth, intense season opener against the Virginia Tech Hokies at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Alabama managed to pull away in the fourth quarter and win 34-24 after a hard-fought contest.
However, Virginia Tech will have its shot at revenge in 2013, as the rematch has just been set in stone and will take place once again at the Georgia Dome as both team's season openers.
Alabama has recently made it a tradition to start off the season with a big non-conference game. In 2008, the Crimson Tide defeated the Clemson Tigers, who at the time were being picked as national title contenders. In 2009, 'Bama beat Virginia Tech, who went on to have a good season. In 2010, 'Bama thrashed Penn State 24-3, and will have to travel to face the Nittany Lions at home this year.
In 2012, the Tide will open the season against the Michigan Wolverines in what is sure to be a much-hyped game.
I, for one, am a big fan of big non-conference season openers, because you never know what to expect from either team. It also provides fans with big matchups that they rarely get to see.
As for the Virginia Tech game in 2013, it is still too far away to offer any accurate predictions, but I can tell you this: It will be a good game.