UA-Virginia Tech Series Lopsided

Alabama had just completed an 11-0 regular season when a bumper sticker appeared in Tuscaloosa. "Even VPI Got 6" it said. This was a few days after the 1973 Crimson Tide had shut out Auburn, 35-0, and several weeks since Bama had defeated Virginia Tech, 77-6.

Alabama has won 10 of the 11 games it has played against Virginia Tech--once known as Virginia Polytechnic Institute, or VPI--but the Hokies had a dominating victory in the most recent meeting, the 38-7 win over Bama in Nashville's Music City Bowl at the end of the 1998 season.

Frank Beamer had established a strong program at his alma mater in 1998. This year his Hokies are favored to win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.

Alabama and Virginia Tech open the season in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on September 5. Kickoff will be at 8 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. central) with national television coverage by ABC.

Once upon a time Virginia Tech was something of a breather for Alabama, although there were two tough games against the Hokies in the late 1960s, including one in Blacksburg. The Crimson Tide has a 7-0 advantage in games played in Tuscaloosa, a 2-0 mark on games in Birmingham, and a 1-0 record in Blacksburg.

In the 11 games, Alabama has outscored Virginia Tech by 346-70.

That scoring margin comes in great part from the 1973 game. Alabama, which would win the national championship, was ranked seventh in the nation at the time of the Virginia Tech game on October 27 at what was then known as Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. It was a night game, and it was Sunday before all the Bama records were uncovered from the game.

Alabama's records of 833 total yards, 748 rushing yards, and 11.9 yards per rush and 11.9 yards per play were set in that game. Four Alabama players rushed for over 100 yards in the game--James Taylor 142, Wilbur Jackson 138, Calvin Culliver 127, and Richard Todd 102--which tied a national record.

It was Virginia Tech's bad luck to play Alabama in Tuscaloosa in two other national championship seasons. Bama defeated the Hokies by 35-0 in 1978 and 31-7 in 1979.

In 1968 and 1969, Alabama was struggling, and the Tide had tough battles with Virginia Tech, Bama winning 14-7 in Birmingham in '68 and 17-14 in Blacksburg in '69.

Bama had a surprisingly easy 51-18 victory over Tech in 1970 in Birmingham, a week after the Tide had been crushed by Southern Cal, 42-21.

Virginia Tech was Alabama's homecoming opponent in 1972, but probably not even the homecoming queen remembers that 52-13 romp that lifted second-ranked Alabama to a 10-0 record. That's because two weeks later the season was spoiled by Auburn's 17-16 upset of the Tide.

The first meeting of the two teams was Alabama's 9-6 win in Tuscaloosa in 1932. The next year, also in Tuscaloosa, Bama was a 27-0 winner. In 1952, again in Tuscaloosa, the Tide won by 33-0.

Alabama has a record of 77-33-1 against ACC teams, including last year's 34-10 win over Clemson to open the season in the Georgia Dome. As a member of the ACC, Virginia Tech is 1-0 against the Tide.

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