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 Games of the
(1) LSU v (2) Bama @ 8:00 on CBS:
I have been avoiding ESPN all week. Not because I want to avoid any negative talk about UT or the Raiders (I do typically avoid any sports news/talk when my teams are suffering), but because I don't want ESPN to overhype this game. It doesn't need it. It's as clear as day, one versus two, the corndoggers versus the bammers. An SEC championship on the line, and a birth in the BCS title game (most likely) on the line.1 Anyways, this is a tough game to nail down. The Tide and the Tigers have the best defenses in college football, and there is a steep drop-off after these two. They both, also, run the ball extremely well. Trent Richardson is better than the man he replaced, a Heisman winner, which is just ridiculous.2 LSU's stable has them ranked as the 30th best rushing team in the country. Which is impressive considering the competition they've faced and the changes at QB throughout the season. The two most important categories, has these two at a draw.
How about the coaches? Grass or Debbie cakes? It all depends on what you think is the more efficient management style, dictatorship or democratic. Saban plans every step, play and word spoken. Micromanager or detailed tactician? Miles shows up to the game as if he's playing a round of golf on his day off. Apathetic and lucky or a composed shepherd? Either way you see it, both these men find a way to inspire and lead their teams to wins.
The difference in this game could be any of the factors discussed, but the team that welds these moving parts more effectively will be the victor.3 I'll take the micromanaging dictator and the Crimson Tide. While this style of leadership doesn't bode well on most offices, it works in most college locker rooms and certainly helps keep players focused when most would be distracted by a trip to New Orleans.4*
1. It's clearly not a definite since the winner could always lose in Atlanta, forfeiting their spot in the title game. And as Clay Travis points out, if all the pieces fall into place, this could be a preview of the National Title game.
2. Even more ridiculous, Mark Ingram is the lone Heisman winner from Alabama. With all of the great athletes and teams that have played for the Tide over the years, it's shocking they have only had one.
3. Sorry for getting so "pregame show" obvious ("The team who scores more, will win") here. This really was a lazy way to close this post, but it's now 2:49 a.m. and my bed is calling out to me.
4. There is no VA game of the week this time out. But its not due to a lack of great and/or important games. We left the following games off the picks because I felt the LSU/Bama game deserved more depth than I typically provide. JMU visits New Hampshire. They'll need a win here to strengthen their playoff hopes. ODU plays Richmond at home with a chance to clinch their first trip to the playoffs. If they clinch, they'll be the first team to make the FCS playoffs in just their first year of eligibility. And UVA travels to College Park with a chance to clinch their first bowl birth since 2008 and their first under Mike London.
*If you haven't read Harvey's piece on the Cocktail Party yet, you should. It gives you a glimpse of just how much the win over the Gators means to the program and their fans.