Countdown to Kickoff
Alabama Opens the Season Against Virginia Tech

Aug 26, 2013

THE GAME: The University of Alabama football team opens the 2013 season on Saturday, August 31, when it takes on Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dome at Atlanta, Ga. The Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic will mark the 13th time the teams have met on the gridiron, with Alabama leading the all-time series, 11-1. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN with kickoff set for 4:30 p.m. CT. Sean McDonough will serve as the play-by-play announcer, with Chris Spielman at his side as the color analyst. The two will be joined by sideline reporter Shannon Spake. Eli Gold and Phil Savage will handle the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart serving as sideline reporter.

MAKING HISTORY: Alabama has laid claim to three of the last four BCS National Championships and now boast 15 national championships in the program's history. The Tide won in 2009 and then went back-to-back in 2011 and 2012. The back-to-back titles are the first in the BCS era and the first since Nebraska went back to back in 1994-95. The Cornhuskers are also the last team to win three out of four national titles. Nebraska won consensus titles in 1994 and 1995 and shared the 1997 championship with Michigan. The last team to win three of four consensus national championships was Notre Dame who captured the 1946, 1947 and 1949 championships. Minnesota is the last team to win three straight national championships (1934-36) with only the 1936 title coming in the era of the Associated Press college football poll. The Crimson Tide also won three titles in five years from 1961 to 1965.

PRESEASON RANKINGS: Alabama opens the 2013 season ranked first in the Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches' preseason polls, while Virginia Tech comes in receiving votes in both.

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies are coming off a 7-6 2012 season and a Russell Athletic Bowl victory in overtime against Rutgers. Under 27th-year head coach Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech is 216-104-2, with four BCS bowl appearances in the last six seasons. The Hokies have the sixth most wins in the country since 2001. Virginia Tech enters the 2013 season returning 15 starters and 50 letterwinnners.

SERIES HISTORY: Alabama holds a commanding 11-1 edge in the all-time series with Virginia Tech. The two teams last met in a familiar situation as they opened the 2009 season in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic in Atlanta. In that contest, the fifth-ranked Crimson Tide downed the seventh-ranked Hokies, 34-24. Alabama won the first 10 games in the series that began with a 9-6 Tide win in 1932. Alabama then posted shutouts over Tech in 1933 (27-0) and 1952 (33-0). Alabama and Virginia Tech met six times from 1968 to 1979 with two games in Birmingham, one in Blacksburg and four in Tuscaloosa. The largest margin of victory for the Crimson Tide came in 1973 when UA posted a 77-6 win in Tuscaloosa. Several of the Tide's all-time single-game records that were set that day still stand, including 833 total yards, 11.9 yards per play, 748 rushing yards and 11.9 yards per rush.

NEXT GAME: Alabama will have a bye before opening Southeastern Conference play on the road at Texas A&M. The two top-10 teams will meet on Saturday, Sept. 14, at College Station. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.

ALABAMA DEGREES: Alabama's success on the field over the past six seasons under the direction of head coach Nick Saban has coincided with the Crimson Tide's success in the classroom. The 2013 squad features 13 players that already have degrees in hand as the 2013 season begins (see chart below). That number is equal to Ole Miss for the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2013. Over the past five seasons (2008-12) Alabama has seen 72 players compete for the Crimson Tide after already having graduated, following the Virginia Tech game that number will increase to 85.

NFL DRAFT: The Crimson Tide saw nine former UA players selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, including first-round picks Dee Milliner (ninth overall to the New York Jets), Chance Warmack (10th overall to the Tennessee Titans) and D.J. Fluker (11th overall to the San Diego Chargers). Eddie Lacy was next to go in the second round as the 61st overall pick to the Green Bay Packers. The Tide had two drafted in the fourth round with Nico Johnson going to the Kansas City Chiefs as the 99th overall pick and Barrett Jones to the St. Louis Rams as the 113th overall pick. Two more Crimson Tide defensive linemen, Jesse Williams and Quinton Dial, were taken in round five. Williams was chosen by the Seattle Seahawks with the fourth pick of round five, No. 137 overall. Dial was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers at No. 157 overall and No. 24 in the fifth round. Rounding out the 2013 NFL draft for Alabama was Michael Williams who went in the seventh round as the 211th overall pick to the Detroit Lions.

RETURNING SUCCESS: Alabama returns 13 starters and 48 lettermen from its 2012 squad that won the BCS National Championship, finishing with a record of 13-1. The Crimson Tide returns six starters on offense, including Cyrus Kouandjio, Anthony Steen, AJ McCarron, Amari Cooper, Kevin Norwood and Christion Jones, while the defense returns seven starters, including Ed Stinson, C.J. Mosley, Adrian Hubbard, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Trey Depriest, Xzavier Dickson and Deion Belue.

NEUTRAL SITES: Alabama is 73-46-4 (.610) in neutral site games. The list includes all Alabama-Auburn games not played on campus, including Legion Field from 1948-88. The Crimson Tide played three neutral site contests last season, opening the year with a 41-14 win over No. 8 Michigan at Cowboys Stadium. In the postseason Alabama downed No. 3 Georgia, 32-28 at the SEC Championship in Atlanta and No. 1 Notre Dame, 42-14, at the Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium.

DOME SWEET DOME: Alabama is 14-5-1 (.725) in domed stadiums, including a 5-0 mark since 2009, and 6-2 in Coach Saban's tenure. The Crimson Tide had two appearances in a dome last season with the opener against Michigan at Cowboys Stadium and the SEC Championship against Georgia in the Georgia Dome.

SUCCESS ON THE ROAD: As successful as Alabama has been at Bryant-Denny Stadium in the Saban era, the Crimson Tide has been almost as effective away from home. Alabama begins the 2013 season with a 14-game winning streak away from Bryant-Denny Stadium. The 14-game streak includes both true road games and neutral-site games and dates back to a 24-21 loss at LSU on Nov. 6, 2010. The streak also includes victories over Notre Dame (Miami Gardens), LSU (Baton Rouge and New Orleans), Michigan (Dallas), at Penn State, at Florida, at Arkansas and at Auburn. The current streak is the second-longest of its kind in Alabama history behind a 19-game streak that began on Sept. 24, 1977, and ended on Nov. 1, 1980. Since 2008, the Crimson Tide is 29-4 (.879) away from Bryant-Denny Stadium, including a 4-1 record in bowl games. During that time, Alabama is 32-3 at Bryant-Denny Stadium (.914).

ALABAMA EQUALS MOST WINS SINCE 2008: Dating back to the start of the 2008 season, Alabama has won 61 games, which is tied for the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision with Boise State. The Crimson Tide won 12 games in 2008, followed by a perfect 14-0 record in 2009, a 10-3 mark in 2010 and a 12-1 record in 2011. Alabama finished 13-1 in 2012. Oregon is third during that period with 56 victories.

10-WIN SEASONS: Alabama reached the 10-win milestone for the fifth consecutive season in 2012, boasting a 13-1 record. In 117 seasons, the Tide has won 10 or more games 32 times, two back of Oklahoma (34) for the most 10-win seasons in college football. Alabama has produced seven 10-win seasons since the 2002 season (2002, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012). Tide head coach Nick Saban is the 11th coach in school history to lead his team to a 10-win season and is the fifth coach in school history to have more than one 10-win season.

RUSHING TO SUCCESS: Alabama rushed for 350 yards against Georgia on Dec. 1, in the SEC Championship Game and 265 yards versus Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game last season. The Crimson Tide is 51-0 since the start of the 2008 season when rushing for at least 140 yards. The Tide has averaged 84.57 yards per game (592 yards) in its seven losses since 2008, with the highest rushing total during those losses coming against Florida in the 2008 SEC Championship Game (136).

DEFENSIVE SUCCESS: Alabama has led the Southeastern Conference in total defense for the last five seasons. In the 60 seasons prior no team has led its respective league in total defense for more than two straight years.

10 POINTS OR FEWER: Under head coach Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide has held opponents to 10 points or fewer 40 times since the start of the 2007 season and seven times in 2012, with the most recent coming on Nov. 24 against Auburn (49-0). The Tide also shut out four 2012 opponents (Western Kentucky, Arkansas, Western Carolina and Auburn). Alabama was successful in holding opponents to 0-10 points in nine 2011 games.  In 2010, the Tide held opponents to 10 points or less eight times and limited opponents to that range seven times in both 2008 and '09. In 2007, Alabama posted two games in which it held opponents to 0-10 points. Alabama has shut out the opposition 10 times during the Saban era.

HOLDING OPPONENTS UNDER 300: In head coach Nick Saban's 81-game tenure at Alabama, the Crimson Tide has limited opponents to under 300 yards of total offense 52 times, or 64.2 percent of the time. 

HOLDING OPPONENTS UNDER 200: During head coach Nick Saban's last 68 games at the Capstone, the Crimson Tide defense has held the opposing offense to fewer than 200 yards of total offense 26 times, including five times last season. In 2011, Alabama accomplished the feat eight times, limiting Kent State to 90 yards and LSU to only 92 yards in the BCS Championship Game (the second and third times a Saban defense has limited its opponent to less than 100 yards of total offense). Alabama's best came in 2009 when the Tide held Chattanooga to 84 yards of total offense. The Tide held opponents under 200 yards three times in 2010, four times in 2009 and six times in 2008.

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS: The Crimson Tide defense was No. 1 in all five major defensive categories in 2011 and held that ranking in three categories during the 2012 season. Alabama finished as the nation's top total defense (250 ypg), scoring defense (10.93 ppg) and rushing defense (76.36 ypg). The Crimson Tide finished seventh nationally in passing defense (173.64 ypg) and seventh in passing efficiency defense (103.72). The Tide also led the nation in fewest first downs allowed per game (13.71).

RUSHING DEFENSE: Limiting opposing running backs to fewer than 100 yards is nothing new for the Crimson Tide. Alabama has surrendered only 12 individual 100-yard rushing games dating back to the 2005 season, a mark that leads the nation. Since head coach Nick Saban's arrival, the Tide has allowed only seven players to rush for more than 100 yards in a game: Georgia's Todd Gurley (122 yards on Dec. 1, 2012), LSU's Jeremy Hill (107 on Nov. 3, 2012), Georgia Southern's Dominique Swope (153 on Nov. 19, 2011), Tennessee's Tauren Poole (117 on Oct. 23, 2010), Mississippi's BenJarvus Green-Ellis (131 on Oct. 13, 2007), Houston's Anthony Alridge (100 on Oct. 6, 2007) and Darren McFadden of Arkansas (195 on Sept. 15, 2007).

TOUGH SLEDDING ON THE GROUND: Alabama leads the nation in giving up the fewest rushing touchdowns since the start of the 2005 season, surrendering only 60. Since head coach Nick Saban arrived in 2007, the Crimson Tide has allowed 42 rushing touchdowns while Ohio State is second (54). Alabama surrendered 10 rushing touchdowns in 2012.

YARDS HARD TO COME BY: Since the 2011 Capital One Bowl against Michigan State, the Alabama defense has not surrendered yards easily. Over that 28-game span, the Tide defense has allowed only five opposing teams to reach 300 total yards: 341 by Georgia Southern in 2011, 435 by LSU, 418 by Texas A&M, 394 by Georgia in 2012 and 302 by Notre Dame in 2012 (Jan. 7, 2013). Teams have been held under 200 total yards 14 times and below 100 total yards twice. Rushing against the Tide has been even more difficult over that span, as teams have been held to under 100 rushing yards 22 times, under 50 yards 12 times and in negative yardage twice.

MOSLEY LEADING ALABAMA DEFENSE: Linebacker and 2012 Butkus Award finalist C.J. Mosley developed into one of the best playmakers on the 2012 Alabama defense. The Theodore, Ala., native finished with a team-best 107 tackles, eight tackles for loss (-52 yards), four sacks (-34 yards), two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), three quarterback hurries, two pass breakups, one forced fumble and one recovered fumble Mosley was a unanimous first-team All-American and All-SEC selection.

HUBBARD BECOMING PASS RUSHING THREAT: Outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard developed into one of the Crimson Tide's top pass rushing threats in 2012. He led the team with 11 tackles for loss (-54 yards) and seven sacks (-44 yards). Hubbard was seventh on the team with 41 total tackles while adding four quarterback hurries and a team-best three forced fumbles. Hubbard closed the season with a sack in each of the final three games for the Tide. He ranked tied for eighth in the SEC (.50 sacks per game) and tied for 73rd nationally.

BALANCED ATTACK: Alabama has fielded one of the most balanced offenses in the nation over the past four years. That trend continued in 2012, as the Crimson Tide has gained 3,185 yards rushing and 3,052 yards passing, a difference of only 133 yards. Since the 2009 season, Alabama has passed for 11,875 while rushing for 11,362, a difference of only 513 yards.

SCORING STREAK CONTINUES: With Eddie Lacy's 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against Notre Dame on Jan. 7, Alabama has scored in 156 consecutive games - the longest streak in program history.

2012 TIDE SET SCORING MARK: The 2012 Alabama offense set a program record for points scored (542) and offensive touchdowns (68), doing so in 14 games. The Crimson Tide surpassed the 1973 team, which scored 477 points and 61 offensive touchdowns. With 6,237 yards of total offense, the 2012 team also set the school record for total offense (was 5,773 yards in 2010). The Crimson Tide's 445.5 yards of total offense per game is the second-best in school history, while the 31 passing touchdowns is the most all-time and the 37 rushing touchdowns are sixth. Alabama averaged 6.95 yards per play in 2012, good for second in the school record book.

COOPER HAD STELLAR FRESHMAN YEAR: Wide receiver Amari Cooper turned in a fantastic freshman season, breaking Julio Jones' (2008) freshman receiving records. Cooper finished with 59 catches (Jones has 58 in 2008) for 1,000 yards (Jones has 924 yards in 2008) and 11 touchdowns (a school record). The 11 receiving touchdowns broke Al Lary's school record of 10 set in 1950. Cooper's 59 catches in 2012 rank sixth in school history while his 1,000 yards is tied for the fourth-best season in program history.

McCARRON SET SEASON TD PASS MARK: AJ McCarron's 30 touchdown passes in 2012 set an Alabama season record. He tossed a 29-yard strike to Christion Jones against Western Carolina on Nov. 17 to surpass Greg McElroy's 20 in 2010. McElroy's mark was set in 13 games that season; McCarron moved past it in 11 games. He threw four touchdown passes in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game to post his total of 30, which ranked third in the SEC in 2012.

THE MAKINGS OF A WINNER: In his third year as Alabama's quarterback, AJ McCarron has built a 25-2 record as a starter and led his team to back-to-back BCS National Championships. He has thrown 49 touchdown passes in his career against just eight interceptions, which averages out to one interception every 86.3 attempts, the best in SEC history by more than 24 attempts (Tim Tebow - 1:62.2). In 2012, McCarron threw 30 touchdown passes while tossing only three interceptions (one every 104.7 attempts) and led the nation in passing efficiency at 175.28. He is the first quarterback in Alabama history to lead his team to two national titles.

QUARTERBACK WINS: AJ McCarron enters his senior season with 25 career wins and a .926 winning percentage. He currently ranks second in winning percentage at The University of Alabama and second in Southeastern Conference history. Only Jay Barker's .934 winning percentage betters McCarron. Barker is also the school's leader in career victories with 35 (35-1-1 record). McCarron ranks fifth in career victories entering the Virginia Tech game with 25. He is one win shy of Pat Trammell (26) in fourth and five wins back of Harry Gilmer in third (30). In SEC history, Florida's Danny Wuerffel is third in winning percentage at .903 (32-3-1) and Georgia's Buck Belue is fourth at .900 (27-3).

BACK-TO-BACK QUARTERBACKS: AJ McCarron has led Alabama to back-to-back BCS National Championships, becoming just the sixth quarterback to do so in the modern era of college football. The winners of back-to-back titles include: Notre Dame's Johnny Lujack (1946-47), Nebraska's Jerry Tagge (1970-71), Oklahoma's Steve Davis (1974-75), Nebraska's Tommy Frazier (1994-95) and Southern California's Matt Leinart (2003-04). No player has ever led his team to three straight national championships, although Lujack did lead the Fighting Irish to three titles in his career (1943, 1946 and 1947).

EFFICIENT IN PASSING GAME: AJ McCarron finished the season ranked No. 1 nationally in passing efficiency with a 175.28 mark. He is the first Alabama player to lead the nation in passing efficiency. He tossed 30 touchdowns with only three interceptions (314 pass attempts) in 2012, completing 67.2 percent of his passes for 2,933 yards.

YELDON SHINES IN DEBUT SEASON: Running back T.J. Yeldon finished second on the team and sixth in the SEC with 1,108 yards rushing on 175 carries and 12 touchdowns. Yeldon became the first Alabama true freshman to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season and the first to rush for more than 100 yards in his debut, in a win over Michigan, finishing with 111 yards and one rushing touchdown. Yeldon gained 144 yards at Missouri and followed that with 129 at Tennessee. In the postseason, Yeldon went for 153 yards and a score against Georgia in the SEC title game and then 108 yards and a touchdown vs. Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game. He is the seventh Alabama running back to crack the century mark since head coach Nick Saban arrived in 2007. Mark Ingram was the previous true freshman to gain at least 95 yards in his debut, running for 96 against Clemson in the 2008 season opener.

BALL PROTECTION: Alabama has protected the football better than any team in the country over the past five years. In its past 68 games, the Tide has turned the ball over only 72 times (42 fumbles, 30 interceptions) for 1.06 turnovers per game, better than Ohio State's second-best 1.23 (79 turnovers, 64 games). Since 2009, that mark is even better as the Tide has turned the ball over only 53 times in 54 games (0.98/gm). Since 2009, UA starting quarterbacks have thrown an impressively low 17 interceptions in 1,290 attempts (one INT every 75.9 attempts). Dating back to the 2009 season, the top two running backs in the rotation have lost a fumble only seven times. Over that 68-game span, the Tide's top two running backs have recorded 1,448 touches - better than 200 touches (206.9) per lost fumble.

Mandell sets School Record: Punter Cody Mandell had his finest season for the Tide in 2012, averaging 44.3 yards per punt on 50 attempts to set a school record for punting average for a minimum of 50 attempts. He placed 19 of 50 punts inside the 20-yard line and had 14 punts of 50-plus yards, including a season-long 61-yarder against Mississippi State and a 60-yarder against Texas A&M.

53 NATIONAL TV APPEARANCES IN 69 GAMES: Alabama's appearance on ESPN in the 2013 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic is the 53rd nationally televised game since the start of the 2008 season for the Crimson Tide. The Tide played 12 nationally televised games in 2012, with one game on ABC, six on CBS and five on ESPN. In 2011, Alabama played on CBS four times, while having one game on ABC, two on ESPN and ESPN2, and one game on ESPNU. In 2010, Alabama had five games on CBS, three on ESPN, two on ESPN2, one on ABC and one on ESPNU. In 2009, UA played two games on ABC (including the BCS title game), and six on CBS, while ESPN televised two more Crimson Tide games. In 2008, Alabama had 10 of its 14 games televised nationally, including five on CBS, three on ESPN, one on ABC and one on FOX.

TIDE 62-3 UNDER SABAN WHEN LEADING AT THE HALF: The Crimson Tide is 62-3 when leading at halftime under head coach Nick Saban. Alabama had converted 28 consecutive halftime leads into victories before seeing that streak snapped in 2010 against LSU. The first two losses in the current 62-3 run (when leading at the break) came against LSU, followed by a defeat to Auburn in 2010. In 2007, Alabama held a 20-17 halftime lead before losing to LSU, 41-34, in 2007 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. In 2010, the Tide led 10-3 at the half before the Tigers rallied for a 24-20 win in Death Valley. Alabama lost 28-27 to Auburn to close out the 2010 season, after leading 24-7 at the half. The Crimson Tide is 3-6 under Saban when trailing at halftime and 3-3 when tied at halftime. The three wins in the Saban era when trailing at the half: 34-24 over No. 7 Virginia Tech in 2009 (in Atlanta); a 24-15 over No. 9 LSU in 2009; and 24-20 at Arkansas in 2010. And Alabama's three wins under Saban when tied at halftime: at LSU in 2008, (27-21), at Auburn in 2009 (26-21) and against Tennessee in 2011 (37-6).

ALABAMA'S TVRECORD: Alabama has compiled a 203-127-4 (.614) all-time record in 334 televised games (not including pay-per-view, tape-delayed or closed circuit telecasts).

OVERTIME RECORD: Alabama is 4-8 (.333) all-time in overtime games. In its last overtime game, the Crimson Tide lost to LSU, 9-6, at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Nov. 5, 2011. Alabama has lost seven of its last 10 overtime games. The Crimson Tide is 4-7 (.363) in overtime games against SEC teams. Alabama is 2-5 (.286) in overtime home games. The Crimson Tide is 3-5 (.375) in single-overtime games.

SEASON OPENERS: Alabama has compiled a 94-21-3 (.817) all-time record in season openers, and is in the midst of an 11-game winning streak. Dating back to the 1977 season, Alabama is 32-4 in its last 36 season openers and the Tide has posted a 19-2 opening day record since 1991, including 11 wins in a row. The 2013 season marks the 14th consecutive year the Tide has opened the season with a non-conference opponent.

COACH SABAN IN SEASON OPENERS: Coach Saban is 14-3 in his collegiate career in season openers, including a 6-0 mark at Alabama. He led Alabama to a 52-6 win over Western Carolina on Sept. 1, 2007, in his inaugural game with the Crimson Tide, a 34-10 win over Clemson in 2008 and a 34-24 victory over Virginia Tech in 2009 with both the 2008 and 2009 games being played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. In 2010, Saban guided Alabama to a 48-3 win over San Jose State in the newly-expanded Bryant-Denny Stadium and a 48-7 victory over Kent State in the 2011 opener. Last year Alabama downed No. 8 Michigan, 41-14, at Cowboys Stadium. Saban won his very first collegiate game on Sept. 8, 1990, as he led Toledo to a 20-14 win over Miami (Ohio). He was 3-2 in season openers at Michigan State and 4-1 in season openers at LSU.

OPENING DAY SUCCESS UNDER SABAN: Alabama has been dominant in season openers under head coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide is a perfect 6-0 under Saban and has won in impressive fashion. Alabama has outscored its opponents, 257-64, in those games and outgained the opposition, 2996-1124. The Tide has averaged 42.8 points per opening game under Saban and given up just 10.6 points per contest. Alabama has amassed 499.3 total yards per opener and surrendered just 187.3 yards per clip.

SEASON OPENERS BY HEAD COACH: Coach Nick Saban currently stands at 6-0 in season openers at the Capstone. Coach Frank Thomas (1931-46) is the school's most successful coach on opening day, compiling a 13-0-2 record in his 15 season openers with the Crimson Tide. Legendary coach Paul W. "Bear" Bryant (1958-82) is the school's winningest coach, logging 18 opening day wins in his 25-year career. Bryant's record in Alabama season openers was 18-6-1 (.740), including a six-game winning streak to close out his career.

SEASON OPENERS BY OPPONENT: The Crimson Tide will open with Virginia Tech for the fourth time in school history. UA has started the season with 58 different opening day opponents with the Crimson Tide's most common opening day opponent being Howard (now Samford). Alabama has also played five current SEC teams on opening day, compiling a 14-8-1 (.630) record against Mississippi, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Florida and LSU. The Tide has not opened the season with an SEC opponent since a 28-17 win at Vanderbilt in 1999.

SEASON OPENERS BY SITE: Alabama has played its season opener in 19 different cities in its football history. The most common venue for an Alabama season opener is on the UA campus in Tuscaloosa, where the Tide has opened the season 52 times and compiled a 49-2-1 record. The Tide is 19-1-1 in season openers at Bryant-Denny Stadium (circa 1929). UA opened the 2008 and 2009 seasons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, with wins over Clemson (34-10) and Virginia Tech (34-24). The Tide has also opened the season 29 times in Birmingham and has posted a 24-4-1 record in those games.

ALABAMA VS. ACC: The Crimson Tide has a strong history against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents with a 79-34-4 (.692) advantage in 117 games. Alabama is opening its third season against a team from the ACC in the Chick-Fil-A College Kickoff Classic at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Tide defeated Clemson in 2008, 34-10, and Virginia Tech in 2009, 34-24. The last game against an ACC opponent the Tide took down Duke, 62-13, in 2010. Alabama's last defeat at the hands of an ACC opponent came in the 2007 River City Showdown when Bobby Bowden's Florida State Seminoles held off a late Alabama comeback to beat the Tide, 21-14.

SABAN VS. ACC: Coach Nick Saban is 4-2 (.667) all-time against opponents from the Atlantic Coast Conference and 2-1 in his three neutral site meetings against ACC teams during his tenure at Alabama. Saban has led the Tide to three straight wins over ACC opponents.

NEW HIRES: Nick Saban made four new additions to his coaching staff following the 2012 season. Taking over the coaching duties for the secondary is longtime coach Greg Brown, who came to the Tide after serving as the defensive coordinator at Colorado. Mario Cristobal joins the Alabama staff as the offensive line coach after serving as the head coach at Florida International University since 2007. Billy Napier returned to the Alabama coaching staff as wide receivers coach. Napier joined the Crimson Tide staff after serving as the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach at Colorado State in 2012 for former Tide offensive coordinator Jim McElwain. Kevin Steele returned to Alabama as the Crimson Tide's director of player personnel in February of 2013. Steele, who spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons on head coach Nick Saban's defensive staff at Alabama, is back at the Capstone following three years as Clemson's defensive coordinator (2009-11).

TOP AIDES: The Alabama coaching staff has been ranked No. 1 in the Yahoo! Sports/ Top 10 Football Coaching Staffs list the last two seasons and the 2013 group is following suit. The Crimson Tide's leadership on the sidelines and in the booth has a wealth of knowledge across all levels of football. The nine-man staff features two former head coaches at the Bowl Subdivision level in Bobby Williams (Michigan State) and Mario Cristobal (FIU). The staff also has four coaches that have spent time as assistant coaches in the NFL in Greg Brown (Bucs, Falcons, Chargers, 49ers and Saints), Doug Nussmeier  (Rams), Kirby Smart (Dolphins) and Bobby Williams (Lions and Dolphins).

CRIMSON TIDE PLAYERS ON NFL ROSTERS: The Alabama football program is well represented in the NFL as it starts the 2013 season with former players dotting league rosters. The Tide has 43 former players working in the NFL this season. In the last five NFL Drafts, Alabama has had 33 players selected, including 14 players in first round, four in the second and third rounds, two in the fourth, four in the fifth and five in the seventh round.

MEMORABLE SEASON OPENERS: Here is a look at some of the memorable season openers for the Crimson Tide.

1938 - Alabama 19, Southern California 7 (Sept. 24, 1938, Los Angeles)

In front of 65,000 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Hershel Moseley threw two touchdown passes to lead Alabama to a win over the Trojans.

1940 - Alabama 26, Spring Hill 0 (Sept. 27, 1940, Mobile)

In the first night game in Alabama football history, the Tide beat Spring Hill College, 26-0, in front of 7,500 fans at Murphy High School in Mobile.

1958 - LSU 13, Alabama 3 (Sept. 27, Mobile, Ala.)

The Alabama head coaching debut of Paul "Bear " Bryant took place at Ladd Stadium in Mobile ... Bryant inherited a team that posted a 2-7-1 record in 1957 and took that team to a 5-4-1 mark in his first season.

1960 - Alabama 21, Georgia 6 (Sept. 17, 1960, Birmingham)

Alabama defeated Georgia 21-6 in the first college football game to be televised by ABC Sports.

1971 - Alabama 17, Southern California 10 (Sept. 10, Los Angeles)

Perhaps the most significant season opener in Alabama football annals was the Tide's win at USC ... UA had installed the wishbone offense and kept it a secret throughout the summer and fall camp ... the Tide unleashed its attack against the Trojans and built a 17-0 lead in a rare Friday night game.

1978 - Alabama 20, Nebraska 3 (Sept. 2, Birmingham)

No. 1 ranked Alabama dominated No. 10 Nebraska before a capacity crowd at Birmingham's Legion Field ... the Crimson Tide avenged a 31-24 loss to the Cornhuskers a year earlier ... Alabama dominated the game on offense as evidenced by a 16-play, 99-yard touchdown drive engineered by quarterback Jeff Rutledge ... the 1978 season opener marked the only time in school history Alabama has been ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls.

1985 - Alabama 20, Georgia 16 (Sept. 2, Athens, Ga.)

Junior quarterback Mike Shula fired a 17-yard touchdown pass to Al Bell with 15 seconds remaining to cap a thrilling game-winning drive in the final minute to beat Georgia between the hedges ... a Labor Day night crowd burst into excitement as Georgia blocked an Alabama punt and covered it in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of play ... the calm and confident Shula directed the Crimson Tide down the field for the game-winner, giving ABC Sports a thrilling Monday night season opener.

1986 - Alabama 16, Ohio State 10 (Aug. 27, East Rutherford, N.J.)

Fifth-ranked Alabama defeated No. 9 Ohio State in the Kickoff Classic at the Meadowlands ... the game marked the last time Alabama opened the season against a team ranked in the top 25 until 2001 when UCLA traveled to Tuscaloosa.

1998 - Alabama 38, Brigham Young 31 (Sept. 5, Tuscaloosa)

Shaun Alexander rushed for an Alabama single-game record five touchdowns, leading the Crimson Tide to a 38-31 win over BYU in the newly expanded Bryant-Denny Stadium ... a record crowd of 83,318 fans watched as Alexander scored on runs of 5, 37, 1, 28 and 2 yards to lead the Crimson Tide to victory.

2008 - Alabama 34, Clemson 10 (Aug. 30, Atlanta)

Nick Saban's team dominated the No. 9 Clemson Tigers from start to finish in a 34-10 win on national TV ... the Crimson Tide rushed for 239 yards while limiting Clemson to 0 rushing yards ... the Alabama defense did not allow a touchdown ... quarterback John Parker Wilson found the end zone twice while throwing for 189 yards and no interceptions.

2009 - Alabama 34, Virginia Tech 24 (Sept. 5, Atlanta)

Alabama started its national championship campaign with a fourth quarter comeback victory over 7th-ranked Virginia Tech ... quarterback Greg McElroy (making his first collegiate start) hit Marquis Maze on a 48-yard pass to set up Mark Ingram's six-yard touchdown run on the second Alabama drive of the fourth quarter to put the Crimson Tide up, 24-17 ... McElroy threw for 230 yards in the game, while Ingram rushed for 156 yards.

2012 - Alabama 41, Michigan 14 (Sept. 1, Arlington, Texas)

Alabama started its national championship campaign with a convincing victory over No. 8 Michigan. The Crimson Tide raced out to a 31-0 lead and never looked back as AJ McCarron tossed two touchdowns and newcomer T.J. Yeldon amassed 111 yards on just 11 carries with a touchdown in his collegiate debut.