HOOVER, Ala. -- Reigning national champion Alabama and Virginia Tech will kick off the 2013 season in front of a sold out crowd at the Chick-fil-A Bowl, officials announced Tuesday.
"This is a nationally compelling matchup with two legendary coaches, passionate fan bases and perennial top-10 teams in the country," said Chick-fil-A Bowl President and CEO Gary Stokan in a statement. "For Alabama this is a chance to start another championship run, to make history and go for the three-peat. For Virginia Tech, you can't make much bigger of a statement than knocking off number one."
The matchup will take place at 5:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Aug. 31.
The teams last met in 2009 when the No. 5 Crimson Tide defeated the No. 7 Hokies 34-24 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
Since the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game began in 2008, the two matchups of Alabama and Virginia Tech (2009 and 2013) represent the two fastest sellouts in the game's history.
In its third Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game appearance, Alabama will look to increase its record to 3-0.
"We are looking forward to another great game and we have a lot of respect for Coach Beamer and Virginia Tech," said Nick Saban, Alabama head coach. "We've had the opportunity to open the season twice before in Atlanta, and the experience has been extremely positive for our team and our fans. The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in the Georgia Dome is a great venue for college football. It has a bowl game feel, and the staff has done an outstanding job of making it a first-class event."
For Virginia Tech, the Hokies hope to pull an upset over the nation's top team. A win over the Tide would vault the Hokies into national championship contention.
"The Georgia Dome is always an exciting place to play and a sold out Georgia Dome is going to be very special," Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "I think it's a great atmosphere, and us playing the top program in the country in front of a packed house that is why you come to Virginia Tech."