MORGANTOWN — One week ...

That’s all that’s left now. Next Saturday, 3:30 p.m., inside the Georgia Dome.

West Virginia vs. Alabama.

Football is back.

That 4 and 8 record, it happened a year ago.

Seems like a century.

In sports, you are born again every year. Everyone is 0-0.

Yes, the opponent for West Virginia is an uncommonly tough one, a ranked team and a rankled team, one that felt it stood on the doorstep of a national championship and in one horrifying moment saw it turn into two straight losses.

That makes Alabama no different than WVU, with each coming into the season having lost its last two games.

Of course Alabama’s was against Auburn and Oklahoma, West Virginia’s to Kansas and Iowa State — but a loss is a loss is a loss.

•   •   •

One week, seven days …

That’s all there is now.

The freshmen have descended upon Morgantown, found their dorms, bought their books, picked up their fake IDs and declared themselves college students.

Now they get to enjoy their first football weekend.

It’s a time they will always remember, if they can.

Parties do that to you, you know.

The game is on the road, so they won’t be tailgating here but the bars figure to be full, the TVs turned up full volume and an entire city … an entire state will be rooting for an upset.

That’s what it’s like when a season is born again.

•   •   •

One week, seven days, 168 hours …

That’s all there is now.

Does Clint Trickett, the West Virginia quarterback with the surgically repaired shoulder, come out flinging?

That’s how Dana Holgorsen likes to do it, but Alabama is Alabama, which means it’s fast, talented and mean.

Can WVU protect Trickett from what always is a furious Crimson Tide pass rush?

Can a group of receivers who were lost a year ago find their way to the end zone now?

That’s the unknown that comes with a new year.

You wonder if maybe it isn’t Jordan Thompson’s year, the littlest of receivers who was a star in the spring and a star in the summer, just as he always is.

Now, as a junior, Thompson believes he can do it in the fall.

But then doesn’t everyone?

That’s what it’s like when a season is born.

•   •   •

One week, seven days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes …

That’s all there is now.

The caravans south will start Friday morning, some even on Thursday from those who will make a long weekend of it.

It’s a football weekend on the road and there will be tailgates and dancing, grilled steaks and cold beers.

“Country Roads” meets “Stars Fall on Alabama”, and the Pride of West Virginia will be there to play “Country Roads.”

The troubles at work disappear as you pass across the West Virginia border into Virginia and continue on down to Atlanta. You might remember your last visit to Atlanta. Most West Virginians do. The Mountaineers beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl at the same Georgia Dome in which they play Alabama.

Big city, beautiful city with a football tradition. It’s home to Georgia Tech and the Atlanta Falcons, halfway across the state from Athens, Ga., where the state university is.

It’s home to Coca-Cola and Chick-fil-A, which is sponsoring this game, and home to Ted Turner, Martin Luther King, Jr.,  Lester Maddox, Brenda Lee, Spike Lee and Margaret Mitchell but, frankly, I don’t give a damn because this is about football.

That’s what it’s like when a season is born.

•   •   •

One week, seven days, 168 hours, 604,800 seconds …

That’s all there is now.

That’s when you’ll finally see Rushel Shell — the Pitt transfer who may just be that special back that Steve Slaton, Amos Zereoue and Avon Cobourne used to be — carry the football.

It’s when they’ll turn Mario Alford loose, fully aware he may just be able to do many of the same things Tavon Austin did on his way to the NFL.

The clock keeps ticking toward bandit safety Karl Joseph’s first bone-jarring tackle of the season, toward the moment Shaquille Riddick is introduced to the nation as a pass rusher and until Daryl Worley begins his bid to become an All-American cornerback.

All that, just a week away … and it sounds too good to be true.

It might be, too. Remember, it is a big-time game for Alabama and Nick Saban, too.

That’s what it’s like when a season is born.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel