SEC: Virginia Tech Hokies
The AP No. 1 team has faced a Top-20 opponent on the road the week after a home win against another Top-20 opponent nine previous times. The AP No. 1 team is just 2-7 in those games, including the Crimson Tide, who lost in that situation at South Carolina two years ago.
Some of these games are defining moments in the history of at least one of the schools involved.
Here’s a summary of each game since 2000 that fits the same description as Alabama’s game at LSU this Saturday.
2010: 19 South Carolina def. 1 Alabama, 35-21
The Gamecocks came out firing, opening up a 21-3 lead that couldn’t be overcome en route to a 35-21 victory behind three touchdown passes from Stephen Garcia and three scores from freshman running back Marcus Lattimore.
The defense limited future NFL first-rounders Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson to just 64 yards on the ground, allowing South Carolina to earn the school’s first victory vs a No. 1-ranked opponent.
2008: 6 Texas Tech def. 1 Texas, 39-33
Texas was a play away from winning before Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell found Michael Crabtree on the sideline for the dramatic game-winning touchdown with one second left.
That loss would be the Longhorns’ only defeat of the season, but was enough to leave them (controversially) out of the BCS national title game that season.
2007: 17 Kentucky def. 1 LSU, 43-37 (3 OT)
The Wildcats, who hadn’t beaten a top-ranked opponent since taking down Ole Miss in 1964, rallied from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to force overtime.
In the third extra period, Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson found Steve Johnson for a 7-yard touchdown pass, and LSU was unable to pick up a first down on its possession, setting off a wild celebration at Commonwealth Stadium.
Though it seemed like the loss dashed the Tigers’ national title hopes, they actually went on to lose another triple-overtime game later that season (50-48 to Arkansas), but still would end up playing for and winning the national title that season.
2001: 1 Miami (FL) def. 14 Virginia Tech, 26-24
The Hurricanes appeared to have the game under control after taking a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter, but Virginia Tech rallied for two touchdowns, including one off a blocked punt.
A failed two-point conversion by the Hokies and a late interception by Ed Reed (his second of the day) helped the Hurricanes ward off the comeback, giving them a two-point win that was their only single-digit margin of the season. Miami went on to crush Nebraska in the Rose Bowl and win the national title.
Those two teams will meet again to open the 2013 season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The game will be televised by either ABC or ESPN.
Alabama's Nick Saban likes the idea of playing a neutral-site game every year, especially in a key recruiting territory like Atlanta. The Crimson Tide played in the first two Chick-fil-A Kickoff games, beating Clemson 34-10 in 2008 and beating Virginia Tech 34-24 in 2009. In Saban's first season in Tuscaloosa in 2007, Alabama faced Florida State in Jacksonville, Fla., and lost 21-14.
In 2012, Alabama will face Michigan at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Crimson Tide are making the return trip to Penn State this season after the Nittany Lions came to Bryant-Denny Stadium a year ago -- a 24-3 Alabama win.
Counting this season's Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game matchup between Georgia and Boise State on Sept. 3, five different SEC teams will launch their seasons in Atlanta over the next four years. In 2012, there will be two games: Auburn versus Clemson and Tennessee versus North Carolina State. Alabama will face Virginia Tech in 2013, and Ole Miss will play Boise State in 2014.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
There won't be any shortage of national exposure for the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff matchup between Alabama and Virginia Tech on Sept. 5.
For the second consecutive season, ESPN's College GameDay will begin the college season on location in Atlanta. The show will originate from Centennial Olympic Park beginning at 10 a.m. ET.
The game will kick off that night at 8 ET from the Georgia Dome and be televised nationally by ABC.
"When we talk about the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game being the 'Daytona 500 of College Football,' this is what we're talking about," said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. "We're starting the season with the best opening weekend matchup in the last six years and to have ESPN's College GameDay choose to come back for a second straight year really says a lot about the quality of this game."
Last season, College GameDay was on hand for the Alabama-Clemson game in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Alabama opened last season on college football's biggest stage and will get a chance to do so again in 2009.
The Crimson Tide's matchup with Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Sept. 5 will be televised nationally by ABC and kick off at 8 p.m. ET.
It's the second straight year that Alabama has opened its season in prime time on ABC. The Tide used the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game as a springboard to a 12-0 regular season last year, getting things started with a 34-10 romp of Clemson in the Georgia Dome.
This year's game should feature plenty of defense, as Alabama and Virginia Tech both figure to be two of the stronger defensive clubs in the country.
"When you can match two top-10 teams in the first week, it really does start to look like a BCS-style game to open the season," said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. "We think the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is the biggest game out there and we're proud of our partnership with ESPN and that ABC will be broadcasting the game in its prime time slot."
Last year's season-opening game between Alabama and Clemson drew on-site appearances by ESPN's "College GameDay" and "College Football Live" shows and delivered more than 22,000 fans for a pregame fan experience in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park.
The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game -- billed as the "Daytona 500 of college football" -- was created by the Chick-fil-A Bowl and ESPN, as a BCS-type game to kick off the season matching two elite football programs on the first Saturday of every season.
While Alabama has represented the SEC in the first two, LSU and Ole Miss could be possibilities down the road.
Here's a list of previously announced games next season that will appear on the ESPN/ABC family of networks.
The SEC is well-represented that first weekend. South Carolina vs. North Carolina State will kick things off Thursday night on ESPN. Alabama and Virginia Tech will square off Saturday night on ABC. LSU and Washington will play later that night on the West Coast on ESPN, and Ole Miss will play at Memphis on Sunday afternoon on ESPN.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Give Alabama coach Nick Saban credit for seeing to it that the Crimson Tide face at least one marquee nonconference opponent every season.
Alabama will open the 2009 season against Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff on Sept. 5 in the Georgia Dome.
It will be the second straight season that Alabama has opened the season in the Georgia Dome. The Crimson Tide beat Clemson earlier this season in the inaugural College Kickoff. In Saban's first season, Alabama lost to Florida State in Jacksonville, Fla.
Saban likes the idea of playing a big nonconference game every year at a neutral site, and the Crimson Tide get a lot of mileage out of opening the season on national television.
One of the knocks on the SEC has been that its schools don't go outside the conference enough and play other big-name opponents during the regular season. But Saban is committed to doing that while he's at Alabama, and he's not alone.
Tennessee has historically played one big intersectional game every season and has series upcoming with Ohio State, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Oregon. Arkansas played Texas this year and is about to start a series with Texas A&M.
There are also the annual rivalry games. Florida plays Florida State every year. Georgia faces Georgia Tech. South Carolina plays Clemson, and Kentucky clashes with Louisville.
Mississippi State and Auburn have both played West Virginia in the last couple of years. LSU played Virginia Tech during its 2007 national championship season and has future dates scheduled with Colorado and Washington, while Ole Miss has Georgia Tech, Texas and Clemson all coming onto the schedule down the road.