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The First Bowl Game Of The Season... No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 7 Virginia Tech

Larry BurtonSenior Writer IAugust 23, 2009

The AP polls are out and it's No. 5 Alabama against No. 7 Virginia Tech at the Georgia Dome, Saturday, September 5, 2009. This game has taken on both the look and feel of a bowl game in September.

It's as good a match up as we're likely to see during bowl season and there's lots of interesting sidebars and stories to make it a must see game no matter who your favorite team is.

The winner will leave with lots of buzz and BCS consideration, the loser, will still be said, to have plenty of time to regroup and contend for both conference BCS consideration.

As stated earlier, there are so many sidebar stories to be considered that make this game so interesting.

First of all, you have a match up on one of the most storied schools of all time against a Virginia Tech team that has, over the last dozen years or so, put themselves in the midst of the elite teams.

This match up of two teams, one trying to reclaim a perennial place in the elite teams, (Alabama) and one trying to keep their place in that group (Va. Tech), is reason enough alone to watch it, but there is so much more.

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You have two great coaches locking horns. Both will be seeking weaknesses in the other to exploit and both are sure to have a surprise or two for the other.

There are two quarterbacks, considered by both to have great potential, but nationally considered to be shaky at best. Which one will step up to their potential?

Both schools are set to be national leaders in defense. This is one of those games where any points are precious ones. The fact that these two schools, at least on paper, stack up so well against one another, will make it an exciting game.

Both teams have stables full of talented running backs. Tech has lost their main starter, but has many other great, but unproven backs. Alabama has three experienced backs and a few unproven stars of the future.

Can either set of running backs find a lane against these formidable defenses?

Both teams have split the tickets 50/50 and both will fill the stands to their allotment. There will be plenty of noise, lots of passion displayed and a much on the line, just like a bowl game.

With a national television audience and a 'Game of the Week' buildup in a neutral site, this is just one more reason the game will look and feel like a bowl game, not only to the players, but the fans as well.

For one team, Christmas will indeed come early, but the difference is, their fans will be watching in short sleeves.

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