Preview: #5 Alabama vs. #7 Virginia Tech

Both Alabama and Virginia Tech are anxious for the season starts, writes the Associated Press. According to the AP story (embedded above), “The No. 5 Crimson Tide and the seventh-ranked Hokies will meet Saturday night in a bowl-like atmosphere at the sold-out Georgia Dome, both looking to score early points in the national championship race after enduring a that-wasn’t-in-the-plans preseason.

“Virginia Tech lost star running back Darren Evans, who went down in practice with a season-ending knee injury. The sophomore rushed for 1,265 yards while starting just eight games a year ago, and was named MVP of the Orange Bowl.

“At Alabama, the days leading up to the season opener were filled with off-the-field travails. Defensive end Brandon Deaderick was shot in the arm during a robbery attempt (he’s OK but isn’t likely to play Saturday). Two of the team’s top players, receiver Julio Jones and running back Mark Ingram, needed clearance from the NCAA after taking a Gulf Coast fishing trip with a businessman (they’ll have to repay the cost of the trip).”