Hokies have Alabama on their minds

As always, Ken Sugiura and Larry Harstein are doing a good job keeping you up to date on spring ball at Georgia Tech. But what is going on in the rest of the ACC? Here are five things to ponder:

1. Virginia Tech begins with Alabama on its mind: Virginia Tech finished 10-4 last season, won another ACC championship, and beat Cincinnati, a slight favorite, in the Orange Bowl. With 15 starters from that team coming back, the Hokies are getting some early love as a potential dark horse for the national championship. Spring practice begins today in Blacksburg and coach Frank Beamer knows that he won’t have to wait long to find out if he’s got a contender. That’s because the Hokies open the 2009 season in Atlanta against Alabama, which will be in everybody’s preseason Top 10. “When you play a big game early—and we’ve done that in the past—it focuses you team better in the spring and in the summer,” Beamer told me when the Sept. 5 game at the Georgia Dome was put together.