While it isn't as important as football in that part of the country, there will be a lot of pressure on the Auburn basketball coach to win today's game at Alabama.
That coach is Jeff Lebo, the former North Carolina standout guard who might have been in contention for the job at his alma mater had Roy Williams elected to stay at Kansas after the 2002-03 season.
At that time, Lebo was 37 and rated among the most promising coaches at the mid-major level. His four Tennessee Tech teams had gone 75-43 (47-16 his final two seasons), and his first Chattanooga team went 21-9 in 2002-03.
Lebo stayed at Chattanooga one more season, going 19-11 before landing the Auburn job when former Clemson coach Cliff Ellis stepped down after a 14-14 finish.
At Auburn, Lebo has been popular with athletic director Jay Jacobs and the school faculty, but he needed a 24-12 record and an NIT bid to stay out of trouble last season.
Entering today's game at Alabama, the Tigers are 6-9 in the SEC, 15-15 overall, and Lebo is again treading water.
And really, it's hardly a lock that a win over Alabama - 5-10 in the SEC and 15-14 overall in coach Anthony Grant's first season - will keep Lebo safe. His overall record at Auburn is 96-91 (35-60 SEC), and there's an interesting movement afoot to bring back the 64-year-old Ellis, whose third Coastal Carolina team finished its regular season 27-5 and won the Big South Conference race by two games.
Hurting Lebo's case is the fact that his top three scorers - Lucas Hargrove, Tay Waller and NBA prospect DeWayne Reed - are seniors whose returns created high expectations this season.
Lebo is not the only head coach with Triangle ties having a tough year.
Former Duke assistant coach Johnny Dawkins is into a second difficult season at Stanford.
His Cardinal team (13-16, 7-10 Pac-10) completes regular-season play today at home against league-leader California (20-9, 12-5), which will be one of perhaps only two or three Pac-10 teams in the NCAA Tournament.
Dawkins' first team finished 20-14 overall a year ago, but the 6-12 league record wasn't good enough for the NCAA Tournament or the NIT.
But the short-term outlook is brighter for Dawkins than Lebo. Stanford's best player, forward Landry Fields, is a senior, but Dawkins has three promising sophomores in forward Jack Trotter and wingmen Jarrett Mann and Jeremy Green.