Here's a few quick-hit thoughts about the world of football going into this weekend -
Most teams have only played two games, but I think we can agree that there are four teams that are the best in the Central district with a couple of teams that are close. Varina, Hermitage, Hanover and Bird, in no particular order, are the class of the area. Friday's Varina-Herm showdown will go far in determining if the Blue Devils belong on this list. VHS coach Stu Brown said this Herm team is the best he's seen - but I'll believe that more if they look good Friday. Hanover is pounding people, and right now, they would be my number one team. Bird's defense has been suffocating - their offense still has some work left to do to become state championship caliber.
The other teams that I have my eye on are Clover Hill, Atlee and Meadowbrook. The Cavaliers were down two touchdowns near the half against Matoaca, and needed a frantic comeback to win. I think they're a top ten team, but not in the upper echelon yet. Atlee has smoked their first two opponents, but they looked good at the beginning of last year and struggled down the stretch. I don't think they'll struggle as much, in fact, I bet they make the playoffs, but I don't think they're as good as Hanover. We'll find out in two weeks. And the Monarchs thumped Manchester by a surprising score, outlasted Highland Springs, and then beat up on Godwin. They're the clear cut favorite in the Central Region.
Four of the five best CAA teams battle within an hour of each other Saturday. And the winners will instantly become the teams to beat in the conference. William and Mary hosts James Madison, and Richmond hosts New Hampshire. I really like the Dukes in this game - the Tribe's quarterback situation is a mess, and JMU has the size on the defensive line to keep Jonathan Grimes from having too big of a game. William and Mary certainly has a chance, but I just don't think they'll find a way to score enough.
The Spiders have a huge challenge on their hands with UNH's high-flying, up-tempo offense. But New Hampshire is giving up over 50 points per game, so Richmond should be able to score. I don't take too much away from the VMI game - the Keydets special teams gift-wrapped three scores - a block et punt for a TD, a muffed punt that led to a field goal, and a muffed punt that led to a TD. It will probably never come that easy again for the Spiders. UR is going to have to run the ball a little better than they have, to keep the UNH offense off the field. I hate going for the road team in both games, but I have a weird feeling this could be the first loss of the Wayne Lineburg era.
The Redskins don't play until Monday, and it's a little early to really know how this game is going to shake down without knowing whether Tony Romo will play. Miles Austin is out, Felix Jones, Jason Witten and Dez Bryant are banged up, and the Cowboys defense doesn't scare anyone. So, if Romo doesn't play, the Redskins should be favored. If Romo does play, well, I still think the Redskins should win. I think the 'Skins are going to play a lot of games this year like they did last year, and like the victory over the Cardinals. They're going to be close, they're going to be decided in the fourth quarter, and Rex Grossman will win a few and lose a few. If Romo plays, and is near 100%, I expect this game to be one of those type of games.
Also, here are some thoughts on Suicide pool selections - if you're into that sort of thing.
I think you have four games to choose from -
San Diego over Kansas City - The Chiefs are the league's biggest train wreck through two weeks, and the Chargers should be angry after losing last week. WARNING: But Norv Turner's teams don't always play with the spunk or anger that you'd expect coming off a loss.
Baltimore over St. Louis - The Ravens won't play many games like they did against the Titans - they should come out and pound an injury-riddled team. WARNING: Sam Bradford is set to break out with a big game, and Steven Jackson hasn't been ruled out yet.
Pittsburgh over Indianapolis - The Steelers are closer to their Week 2 performance than their Week 1 performance. Pittsburgh should be one of the better teams in the AFC. And, the Colts look like a team that's had its head cut off without Peyton Manning. WARNING: The game is primetime, and it's in Indy. Wild things happen on national television.
Detroit over Minnesota - The Lions have one of the most explosive offenses in the league. The Vikings have had one of the most pitiful offenses in the league. WARNING: Detroit's not good enough to go undefeated. Minnesota's not bad enough to go winless. Maybe this is the week that the Earth returns to its axis. Plus, it's in Minneapolis.
I don't love any of the other games for suicide picks - but I'm pretty sure the Panthers will get the first win in the Cam Newton era over Blaine Gabbert and Jacksonville, and I think the Saints are too good to lose at home to the Texans.