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LCB Picks: SEC and VA Games of the Week

September 17, 2011

It's week three of the college football season and I finally feel like I'm getting a good feel for the teams in the SEC. But I once defended the hiring of Lane Kiffin as the UT coach, so, take it with a grain of salt. As a way of deflecting that reminder of my lacking of judgment, lets get to the games.

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.


Teach said...

Mike: I removed the video cause it wouldn't play. and, you're right, lynchburg is sad, and someone should point out the irony of a school like liberty being called liberty--it's like footloose without confetti there.

September 17, 2011 at 9:35 AM
Teach said...

and i'm pullin' for your vols this week over florida.

September 17, 2011 at 9:35 AM
Langston said...

Thanks for the support. Due to recent history, it's feels odd to have any optimism for the Vols. But I can't help but get hyped when I see Bray play. He appears to improve with every pass he makes.

Also, the video is now fixed.

September 17, 2011 at 9:52 AM
Russ said...

Good slate of games today. Maryland/West Virginia, FSU/Oklahoma, Ineligi-bowl, Notre Dame/Michigan State.

A pitiful offensive performance against a cupcake in your brand new state of the art stadium coupled with changing the Duke Dog to a teddy bear for no apparent reason and you see why the JMU fans are not confident. I smell a loss to Libety today. Mickey Matthews will be done if they don't make the playoffs this year. Three straight years with no playoff appearances should be the nail in the coffin.

September 17, 2011 at 10:15 AM
Langston said...

For those not in the know, Lynchburg is essentially a bigger version of the town from "All the Right Moves." And Bryan, your right on the money with Liberty. Their student conduct policy aka the "Liberty Way," resembles something out of North Korea. Google it, and feel sorry immediately for the students who go there.

September 17, 2011 at 10:20 AM
Langston said...

Russ, JMU's new stadium looks great. Glad to see they filled it up last week. Brings them one step closer to be a viable candidate to moving up to FBS.

As for the mascot, their bringing back the "old" Duke Dog thanks to complaints from students and alumni. So, the hairless, naked Bear is gone.


September 17, 2011 at 10:37 AM
Teach said...

in all honesty, mickey matthews has always been a mediocre coach.

September 17, 2011 at 11:03 AM
Russ said...

Mike: I saw that right after I posted. I am proud of JMU to realize they made a mistake and will make the change back.

Bryan: I pretty much agree. They always have great defenses, has seen with a few players making the NFL, but the offense has struggled since Landers left, with much criticism of the play calling during that time. With the resources JMU as put into the football program recently compared to other FCS programs, Bryan could coach this team to a 6-5 record. We expect playoffs now every year.

September 17, 2011 at 1:57 PM
Russ said...

I have been following the conference realignment with only a passing interest, almost a wake me up when its over feeling. But not that it looks like the Big East is possibly losing Syracuse and Pitt to the ACC, I'm getting a sad and angry feeling at the same time. Hard to imagine Big East basketball recently without those two schools. Since I can see UConn coming over as well, the Big East is in trouble. Can't imagine not having a Big East tournament in the Garden.

September 17, 2011 at 2:09 PM
Teach said...

But can you imagine an ACC Tournament in the Garden?

September 17, 2011 at 6:07 PM
Langston said...

That would be great, but wouldn't it make more sense logistically to have it at the Verizon Center?

September 17, 2011 at 6:39 PM
Russ said...

You mean Cameroon Indoor North? There is a reason Duke plays a couple of games up there a year. That would be fine but I bet it doesn't happen for a long time. Greensboro (shit location) and Atlanta are contracted to hold it for at least another 5 years. Verizon Center would be sweet. Still sucks to see the Big East tournament go by the wayside. Let's be honest that's the crown jewel conference tournament anymore.

September 17, 2011 at 8:00 PM
Russ said...

Of course I'm assuming Big East becomes defunct. It could still exist but have teams like Iowa State, Baylor, TCU, and whatever mediocre team they can find to keep the conference alive. Which then the ACC is stuck in Greensboro.

September 17, 2011 at 8:02 PM
Teach said...

I expect the Big East to be defunct, because if this all winds up going to 16-team super conferences, then the ACC will add 2 more and the Big 10 will add 4 more. There won't be much of a Big East left then, or teams from the former Big 12 to purge, unless what's left is just a skeleton of it as a basketball only conference.

September 17, 2011 at 8:44 PM
Teach said...

Mike: geographically DC would make more sense, but from a publicity standpoint nothing would top Madison Sq Garden, and it benefits the league that they wouldn't be able to make that happen for a few years b/c of the contracts in Greensboro and Atlanta. The reason being that Big East teams will have to give at least 27 month notice before leaving the Big East, which means all of this is sometime in the future. By the time they have 16 teams, they could debut that in the Garden.

Also, I would expect them to continue rotating the location of the Tournament: Greensboro/Charlotte (traditional), Atlanta (Southern site), DC (Mid-Atlantic), NYC (appeases BC, Cuse, Pitt, and any other possible additions from the North).

September 17, 2011 at 8:48 PM
Russ said...

Texas in the ACC would be a nice.

September 18, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Langston said...

Yeah, Clay Travis reported that is their most likely destination. Part of the report was that their BOD and Administrators don't want to play SEC, as they might play second fiddle to other schools in football. The SEC is where they belong. If they go anywhere else, it'll be because they don't want to be tested week-in and out.

Also, just found out Old Dominion has their own On-Demand channel on Cox. And I'm not talking about some terrible campus TV station. This is a regional channel. If you have Cox in Nova, you have the channel, which might help with recruiting. I bring this up to ask how many other schools have a partnership like this? I know Texas and BYU have their own networks, but is their anyone else?

September 18, 2011 at 12:45 AM
Langston said...

It's official, the ACC announced that both have been accepted. I don't think this will take three years (27 months rule) to take effect as I'm sure both schools wouldn't mind paying more money to expedite this process.

September 18, 2011 at 9:48 AM
Teach said...

Personally, I hope Texas stays out of the ACC. It would just wouldn't feel right for all the reasons Langston cited. I mean, they'd be the only team in the conference in that timezone. Plus, they feel more like an SEC school, and they have no traditional ties to the ACC. AND IT WOULD MAKE THE CONFERENCE LOGO LOOK RIDICULOUS.

I'd rather see UConn and another Big East school, whether it was WVU, Louisville, Villanova, or Rutgers.

Also, I don't want to watch Rick Barnes coach.

September 18, 2011 at 10:17 AM
Russ said...

WVU doesn't have the academics to be included. Rutgers and Villanova would be underwhelming. I think the Top 3 wishlist is: Notre Dame, Texas, Penn State (probably won't happen but would make sense). With UConn a quality alternative.

The ACC should have the tournament in MSG at least every other year if it becomes viable. Just a bigger deal in NYC.

September 18, 2011 at 12:22 PM
Teach said...

I think you're right about WVU, but I think the bigger factor in it getting left out is that with VA Tech and Pitt already in the conference it doesn't add anything tv market wise. And while Texas would, Texas also adds instability based on the school's ego and the geography. I don't see Texas joining a conference unless that conference also brings along Oklahoma or Kansas, otherwise they'll be too much of an outsider and will never be able to exercise the power they have/had in the Big 12.

I doubt Penn. St. would leave the Big 10; it would be a linear move for the most part.

Notre Dame is an interesting option, but if I'm the ACC I continue to do what's made it and the SEC stronger than any other conferences: continue to pursue and nurture natural rivalries and interests, and, in the case of the ACC, not overreaching geographically for the sake of overreaching. The power of East coast bias alone means that they don't have to venture out west of Pittsburgh to matter in the rest of the country.

September 18, 2011 at 12:35 PM
Teach said...

per CBS report: Texas looks to be headed to the Pac-12 with Oklahoma, OK St, and Texas Tech

September 18, 2011 at 3:50 PM
Langston said...

Yeah, I saw that. Assuming the ACC sticks together as is and the rest of the Big 12 is up for grabs, I cannot think of any teams who fit in with the SEC while also adding a market apart from Missouri.

Here is the list of available schools from the two decimated conferences:
Big East- South Florida, WVU, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers, UConn
Big 12- Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas State, Missouri, Kansas

I doubt the SEC will double down on markets. So cross out Baylor, Cincy, USF, and WVU. UConn, Rutgers, Iowa St, K State, and Kansas make no sense logistically. So all that leaves is Missouri. The SEC would still need two teams to get to 16 and with the lack of viable options, this will force the SEC to move on ACC schools or fill the void with some lusterless programs.

September 18, 2011 at 6:25 PM
Teach said...

Langston, I think you're right, but I also think people are overestimating the SEC's strength compared to the ACC's weakness, in terms of the SEC being able to poach the ACC.

-UNC and Duke aren't going anywhere.
-Wake would be another Vandy, so that's not happening.
-GA Tech, Clemson, and FSU would be duplicate markets.
-UVA and VA Tech just had the state's governor lobby a few years ago to keep them together
-Miami is a commodity that no one wants right now

Which leaves Maryland and NC State, and that doesn't seem all that likely. I actually think that Maryland probably is more likely to stay in the ACC now that more schools north of the Mason-Dixon are in the conference.

What does NC State really have to gain from joining the SEC is the question?

September 18, 2011 at 7:09 PM
Teach said...

I'm just not sure the SEC is going to have its pick of teams.

September 18, 2011 at 7:09 PM
Langston said...

Well there is more money to be had in the SEC, but I agree it's highly unlikely. That would leave the SEC with teams in C-USA and FCS teams, which I'm sure they'd rather stand pat then add schools of this caliber.

September 18, 2011 at 7:53 PM
Langston said...

Could we eventually be looking at another level in NCAA sports? The gap between AQ and non-AQ schools is only going to widen with these super-conferences. Would the NCAA wise up and just split the two, non-AQ and AQ schools, into two divisions?

September 18, 2011 at 8:11 PM
Russ said...

I agree that SEC likely chooses Missouri, with West Virginia a good backup plan. The leftover teams from the Big East/Big 12 could still form a formidable conference.

Kansas State
Iowa State
West Virginia
South Florida
Boise State?
Best from CUSA/Mountain West
Basketball only schools (Georgetown, St.John's, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall)

Still a great basketball league and some decent football programs.

September 18, 2011 at 10:12 PM
Russ said...

Unless the ACC can get Notre Dame, I think they are done expanding for the time being.

September 18, 2011 at 10:20 PM

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