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Quality Opening Opponent Makes Saying "Hello" That Much Sweeter

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The countdown to Saturday's game starting the morning of Jan. 2 in a campground just North of Miami. As everyone involved with the group I tailgate with packed up and said their goodbyes, we all said the same thing: "See you in Atlanta."

It's been too many days since we last saw the Hokies play football and this offseason was one of the most exciting and most agonizing I've ever experienced. I knew that winning the Orange Bowl would make the expectations for the 2009 Hokies sky-high. And I knew the expectations would be the same for Alabama. It was a mere formality a few weeks ago when the polls came out and this game was officially a battle of Top 10 teams.

The offseason goes by slower when you open with Alabama. It did in 2004 when I knew the Hokies would open with USC. It didn't in 2006 when they opened with Northeastern. Opening the season with this game in Atlanta has made the anticipation unbearable. And as we've gotten closer to the season I've become more testy with Tide and Hokie fans alike. I'm not sure what I would have done if I had to wait one more week for this game. I'm sure there would have been at least one more "f--- the SEC" post. OK, probably two.

For me, it'll be euphoric to wake up Saturday morning and actually get to watch college football again. My nerves will no longer be frayed and my fuse will no longer be as short. Instead of arguing about hypothesis, we'll all be able to argue about results.

You've been away far too long, college football. And thanks to the hoopla surrounding this opening game, it's felt like an enternity.