Alabama Beats Virginia Tech; How the Hokies Scored at All Remains Mystery

Spencer Hall was in the house at the Georgia Dome as the Crimson Tide held off the Hokies in a game that was all kinds of ugly, but managed to be very entertaining at the same time.

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Reactions To Alabama's Win From Around The Sports World

Fox Sports' Steve Eubanks says Alabama's win "wasn't emphatic. In fact, it wasn't even pretty." Sekou Smith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggests that the phrase "Beamerball" may need to be coined. Check out more impressions from around the sports world here.

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Sweet Home Alabama Is Cued Up. Press Play.

I still have no idea how VT scored points in this game, but ultimately the Bama defense decided to put a stop to that nonsense and clamp down for the final stretch, which unfolded like a big brother punching a sibling in the face with their own fist and repeating "stop hitting yourself" until the other wept and cried uncle.

Tyrod Taylor had nowhere to go with the ball on the final two series, and resorted first to scrambling out of bounds, and then ultimately taking miserable surrender sacks for the loss. Cue Rammer Jammer; cue "Yea, Alabama." The soundtrack is deserved after an extremely hard-fought game.

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And Stone Cold Comes Off The Mat Again!!!

Now we're just getting silly: Alabama answers a quick VT TD run with a 5 play, 74 yard drive in 2:40 to pull ahead 34-24. Two defensive teams just decided to set the difficulty levels at "junior varsity" for the fourth quarter, with runs now breaking all over the place for long gains and defenders giving the Ole! on every play. This sounds sloppy, and it is, but the chaos is thrilling at the moment.

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Lies! All LIes!

Please ignore previous entry. We were joking. By we I mean me, who clearly missed the long Greg McElroy pass, subsequent touchdown, and then the VT fumble on the subsequent possession leading to a field goal when looking at the future in my magic peeky hat. Peeky hat has been sacked, along with all the people responsible for magic peeky hat being wrong. We regret the error.

Alabama has a ten point lead with ten minutes left, 27-17. Using my VT points converter, ten points equals...carry the three, multiply by Theta...yes, there it is: exactly 22.3 points for any other team. This game is over.

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Football Divinated Through Ominous Signs and Occurrences

A loss can sometimes be predicted strictly by keeping track of the things a team never, ever does, like Florida giving up long TDs, or a USC team allowing over 100 rushing yards in a game, or a Texas Tech team trying to run the ball on first down.

One of these things is Julio Jones, Alabama's fantastic wideout, dropping what would be a huge gain on a well-thrown ball on 3rd and 1. I have no idea how Virginia Tech is winning this game, but with 13:24 in the game they are up by a tiny but significant point, and Julio Jones is dropping passes. Invisible forces are at work here.

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Oh, Nothing Exciting Going on Here...

...except a Roy Upchurch fumble as he heads for six sure points, a turnover as VT recovers, and a continuation of the WWE vibe we have going on here. Stone Cold is almost pinnned, but he kicks out! And now he's the one inches from victory as he pins the Undertaker one...two...a miraculous kickout!

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Punting: It's Exciting!

We're back after some technical issues in a grim field position battle more reminiscent of Verdun than a football game played in 2009. Don't ask the sportswriters what happened in the first two minutes of the second half--they don't know, since like me they were crowded around a bank of televisions watching BYU hold off Oklahoma and their mustachioed qb, Landry Jones. A mustache like that comes with a muscle car and a prison tattoo, Landry. If you don't have either, acquire them, or the International Mustache Regulatory Commission is coming after you.

Brandon Deaderick, the Alabama defensive end who was shot five days ago, actually did see playing time tonight. Meanwhile, your buttocks are asleep from ten straight hours on the couch. Don't sweat it. Not everyone can be tough, dude.

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Regression To The Mean Strikes VA Tech

Statistics never lies, even when they're unfolding live before your eyes. The Hokies hadn't done anything of note offensively all night when Tyrod Taylor caught a rare break against an Alabama blitz and hit a wide open man streaking down field. The curve shoots up, soaring above the mean, and VT's in scoring position suddenly.

Then, on the next play, Tyrod Taylor throws an option pitch behind him for a huge loss. The curve shoots below the mean, and we're back at even steven. Regression to the mean, a conceptual illustration brought to you by the very average Virginia Tech offense.

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Greg McElroy, You Sir Are No John Parker Wilson

John Parker Wilson is somewhere nodding ruefully in front of a television. Oh, sure, Alabama fans: you might have mocked his tendency to scramble into 15 yard losses and his less-than-robust arm, but you never coughed up a spat watermelon seed of an interception like he did in the red zone, allowing VT to kick a FG to go ahead 10-9. McElroy is having an atrocious first night as Bama starter, and is getting little help from an Alabama offensive line clearly notches down from last year's deck-clearing Sugar Bowl squad.

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Beamerball!

Dyrell Roberts just did a muscular tightrope act on the sidelines for a kick return for touchdown. After the initial break through Bama's coverage, he hit the afterburners, evaporated the poor kicker's chance of even considering catching him, and then stiffarmed the living hell out of the last man while somehow skating inches from the sideline to a TD. Breathtaking in the good sense.

Breathtaking in the bad sense: the call against VT for a personal foul for roughing the passer on the following possession, a continuation of a trend toward turning college football into two hand touch. A tossing of McElroy (who was running past the line of scrimmage as a ballcarrier at the time) out of bounds was not unsportsmanlike, and goes with the penalty levied against Georgia for a hard but clean hit against an OK State receiver as examples of a worrisome trend in overly officious officiating.

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Alabama, 3-0 And Rolling

Thus far we have precisely what was predicted: a defensive morass highlighted by Tyrod Taylor running for his life while Alabama runs facefirst into Virginia Tech's defense. Besides the Julio Jones catch for a first down, it's a punter's workout thus far.

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Julio Jones Supernova, In Effect

Julio Jones just caught a curl for a first down, and you would swear he'd reeled in a one-handed touchdown defended by three men and a pack of attacking dogs. What Tim Tebow is to Florida fans, Juilio Jones is to Bama fans, some kind of major deity worthy of sacrifices, offerings, and payments of tribute. I'm not disagreeing, mind you, but the disproportionate response to a good but simple play highlights the future trend of Julio becoming a trending popular baby name in Alabama over the next two years.

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Sandman, Entered

Virginia Tech brought along "Enter Sandman" for their entrance, and it did not disappoint. The entire western side of the stadium was a hopping mass of orange and red, not dissimilar to rows of candy corn bouncing of an enormous bass woofer. Follow that up with Alabama's thunderous entrance, and the noise potential in here may have already exceeded anything last year's Clemson/Bama matchup had to offer. These people are here for Woo!, and Woo! they will have.

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Alabama Fans Are Intense

Alabama fans just rained a peppering of boos not on Virginia Tech, but on their band. That is commitment to a cause when you're willing to boo the theme music providers as lustily as you boo the opposing team.

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Greeting from the NASCAR Dome

We could not possibly be more rural inside a Georgia Dome stuffed with Virginia Tech fans, the Alabama Crimson horde, and a huge screen that is, at the moment, showing NASCAR beneath an ad banner hawking Hooters, Ford, and Quikrete. It smells like America in here, and that smell is very reminiscent of brown liquor.

At 19 minutes to kickoff we have no significant scratches on the injury update unless you count the girl in the section below us who is clearly not making it to halftime at this pace. It's already approaching lunacy in here, but if they let Virginia Tech play "Enter Sandman" for their intro, the roof's coming off in short order.

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Brandon Deaderick Could Play; 50 Cent Jealous

Speaking to ESPN this morning, Alabama coach Nick Saban explained that there's a good chance his star DE Brandon Dedrick could play later tonight.

Yes, that would be the same Brandon Deaderick who got shot earlier this week:

We're going to see how he does in pregame... This is amazing to me, and I know that the perception out there is how could this be? But not knowing much about gunshot wounds, and certainly getting educated this week, to find that there is no damage, and when the bullet doesn't explode.. it's almost like a puncture wound. And he doesn't have a lot of pain, doesn't have a lot of swelling, and he did practice. It's hard to tell a player that's been medically cleared to play, that wants to play, that, 'I don't want you to play because the perception out there might be that we're doing something wrong.

If Brandon Deaderick plays tonight--which it sounds like is almost a certainty--he will surely have immeasurable credibility for the rest of his playing career. Yeah, I got shot one time. Brushed it off, though. Played that Saturday. We beat Virginia Tech.

Obviously.

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Roll Bama Roll: Even On the Picks, Thumbs Up for Turkey Legs

Todd from Roll Bama Roll has a very measured take on the impending matchup with VT tomorrow:

Not too surprisingly, if you look at some of the "expert" predictions on this game, they are split, and it should be pointed out that the boys in Vegas, while having 'Bama favored, have the spread under a touchdown. Again, from the outset, it has the looks of a toss-up game with it being difficult to get a good read on either team.

He's a bit less rosy about Bama getting the nod from Dr. Lou, who is not licensed to practice surgery no matter what he tells you, citizen. Todd is bullish on turkey legs at the tailgate, though, something SBNation.com staff seconds, thirds, fourths, and so on and so on down the line.

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Hokies Fans Pick...Alabama?

Weighing in with his pick for the game, furrer4heisman at SB Nation's Gobbler Country says the Hokies don't have the offense to top the Tide:

I just don't see the Hokies scoring enough points to win this game. The defense will keep us in it, but Alabama will keep us at arm's length the whole game.

Alabama 20, Virginia Tech 13

I'm sensing a trend...

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Dr. Saturday Picks the Crimson Tide In a Defensive Battle

Citing Alabama's (eligible) difference-makers on offense and Virginia Tech's offensive question marks, Dr. Saturday's Matt Hinton says Alabama has what it takes to hold off the Hokies:

I'm having a hard time coming up with any evidence Virginia Tech has a very good chance to win Saturday night. Exhibit A for the Tide is Julio Jones, the elite playmaking specimen the Hokies have lacked on offense for years; Exhibit B is the prospect of a Nick Saban defense lining up across from VT quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who threw three times as many interceptions last (7) as touchdowns (2) and was one of the lowest-rated passers in the ACC.

Alabama 20, Virginia Tech 12
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Virginia Tech and Alabama Get Their Smash On In Atlanta

Alabama had flu, gunshots, and the NCAA to worry about this week. Virginia Tech scrambled to find a running back before settling on redshirt freshman Ryan Williams to replace injured starter Darren Evans. Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria: it's a little over 24 hours to the most anticipated matchup of the first weekend of college football, Bama versus Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

One team has to lose, one team has to win, but remember: eventually, everyone wins, because there's free chicken at the end of this ride, people. Hold tight, hold on, and follow the smell of glory and delicious battered chicken to victory.

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