Welcome to Nightmare Week. Every day this week I'll present a worst-case scenario that should keep all Hokie fans from sleeping that night. It may be masochistic, but if you knew my dating history you would understand that's just how I roll.
Setting the Stage: The Hokies come into the 2009 season with high expectations and a No. 10 ranking in the AP poll. Their opening game against Alabama in the Georgia Dome is one of the most-anticipated in school history. The Tide also enter the season in the Top 10 despite having to replace key cogs at quarterback and on the offensive line.
Turning Point: Like Clemson the year before, the Hokies' offense is stifled early on by Alabama's front seven. Virginia Tech is unable to muster anything resembling a running game and go three-and-out on its first two possessions.
On its first offensive play of the game, Alabama's Julio Jones beats Stephan Virgil deep for a 56-yard touchdown. By the time Tech gets its first first down, it is trailing 10-0. Playing from behind, the Hokies abandon the run and have moderate success through the air.
Worst Case Scenario: The Hokies defense settles down in the second half, but by then it's too late. Alabama's defense is dominate the Hokies are held to 230 total yards in a 30-6 loss.
Once again, the team perceived as the ACC's best is dominated in the Georgia Dome by Alabama. The league takes a big PR hit and all the preseason expectations for the Hokies are quickly forgotten.
Aftermath: The loss effects the Hokies through the first half of the season. They fall to Miami and Georgia Tech before rattling off five consecutive wins to end the regular season at 9-3.
The loss to Georgia Tech keeps the Hokies from participating the ACCCG and they finish the year playing Michigan in the Champs Sports Bowl.