Editors Note: This season, on top of the usual SEC picks, we will be picking the best games on the Virginia D-1 slate. We, as in the LCB, all spent our formative years in Virginia. So, we probably should have been doing this all along.
SEC Game of the Week
Tennessee v (16) Florida @ 3:30 on CBS:
Those pants are filled with magic (insert Michael Scott here), almost enough to pull off the upset. Just not enough. But that's why UT has Tyler Bray, who as Clay Travis points out is the best QB in the SEC and the reason why many NFL teams will try to lose games next year in order to draft him, he's just that good or he has been against some mediocre to average (at-best) opponents. Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter force Dan Quinn to make a tough decision; go zone and get torched through the air, blitz and get burned across the middle, or go man and get ran all over. Either way he goes, it spells doom for a team that has had trouble getting to the QB (2 sacks total against shitdeous squads, FAU and UAB). Florida has the homefield advantage and the edge in the talent department, but the trio is just too good to keep pace. The Swamp is made silent and UT wins 38 to 32.
VA Games of the Week
Virginia v UNC @ 3:30 on ABC:
Virginia goes to Chapel Hill for the next chapter in the "South's Oldest Rivalry." After confidence builders against W&M/JMU and Indiana/Rutgers, both teams come in at 2-0 . UNC is just weeks removed from the firing of Butch Davis, but their defensive front seven might be the best in the ACC. They're big, fast, and relentless. UVA's offensive line will have to step up big for the Cavs to win this one. However, if they can somehow hold the Heels d-line back, the Hoos have a chance to move to 3-0 for the first time since 2005 (which is also the last time they went 2-0). It won't happen. That defense of the Heels is fierce. The pick: UNC 35, UVA 14
James Madison v (19) Liberty @ 7:00 on ESPN3:
Not knowing much about either team, apart from Jerry Falwell's affiliation with Liberty and that Mickey Matthews career is reminiscent of a roller coaster, I decided to check out JMU's message board to see their thoughts on how this game will play out. What I found was a largely dejected fanbase. But who can blame them after the woeful performance against Central Connecticut State. QB Justin Thorpe went 5-11 for a net of 47 yards (his long was 28 yards), with two of those incompletions going to the other team (If I replaced Justin Thorpe's name in this sentence with Jamarcus Russell, would you even call me out?). The feeling on the message board is that with how bad the Duke offense is playing, it won't matter much how good their defense is playing.
I'm with the Dukes' posters on this one; Liberty QB Mike Brown goes HAM (he's a lock for 250 yards through the air and 70 on the ground), leads his squad to a 35 to 21 victory, Mickey Matthews' seat gets hotter, and Liberty gives a moment of release for one of the most depressing cities in Virginia. Seriously, Lynchburg could make Richard Simmons sad.
Elsewhere in the South:
Auburn tries to continue their magical run with a trip to the other "Death Valley." Should be a good game, but Auburn still hasn't been able to rebound from the loss of Nick Fairley and Cam Newton. But how can you replace two of the most dominant SEC players of the last decade? You can't, at least, not cheaply. Even with losing those two, I still like Auburn as teams that get this lucky seem to put it together more often than not.
Old Dominion and Hampton play in Norfolk. Both teams are 2-0. Last years meeting resulted in a 28-14 win for the Monarchs. ODU should have no trouble in their last tune-up before starting conference play in their inaugural season as a member of the CAA. W&M, Virginia Tech and Richmond get to play patty cake with New Haven (Division II), Arkansas State and VMI. All three teams are a lock to move to 3-0.