NEW ORLEANS — The Bayou-bound Boeing 767 out of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport was so full Friday morning, the gate agent had to check garnet bags at the door.
A Delta flight attendant was taken aback.
“I’ve never seen so many Gamecock fans,” he said, “and they’re not my favorite team; I work Clemson’s charter flights.”
No. 3 USC plays at No. 9 LSU tonight. Gamecocks fans who crossed paths on a St. Charles streetcar Friday were clearly inspired by last week’s demolition of Georgia.
“Where you from?”
“Hartsville. Think we’ll win?”
“Clowney’s really good. Byrd’s really fast. Darius Rucker’s playing here (in Baton Rouge) tonight. Yeah, I do.”
Warren Peper thinks LSU barely, I say South Carolina easily. Let the Pigskin Picks good times roll:
South Carolina at LSU
No offense, but LSU has no offense. Worse, the Tigers have major offensive line issues with Jadeveon Clowney and Co. in town.
Sapakoff pick: USC, 24-13
Peper pick: LSU, 22-20
W. Carolina at Citadel
Nothing like a home victory and a bye next week to get the Bulldogs back on track. Western Carolina gained only 207 yards last week in a 45-13 home loss to Georgia Southern.
Sapakoff pick: Citadel, 24-20
Peper pick: Citadel, 21-14
VMI at CSU
Look for NFL prospect cornerback Charles James and friends to play well in the Bucs’ first home game since Sept. 8.
Sapakoff pick: CSU, 17-16
Peper pick: VMI, 24-21
S.C. State at Delaware St.
Buddy Pough got tough at practice this week after a 40-10 home loss to N.C. Central in which S.C. State had a 309-213 edge in total yards.
Sapakoff pick: S.C. State, 15-14
Peper pick: Delaware St., 24-19
Tennessee at Mississippi State
Mississippi State is one of four undefeated SEC teams but better not look ahead to Middle Tennessee State, or the trip to Tuscaloosa two weeks from today.
Sapakoff pick: MSU, 34-31
Peper pick: MSU, 27-20
Kentucky at Arkansas
Running back Dennis Johnson and the Razorbacks’ defense showed signs of life in a 24-7 victory at Auburn.
Sapakoff pick: Arkansas, 35-17
Peper pick: Arkansas, 24-17
Auburn at Mississippi
Huge game for Ole Miss bowl hopes and for fending off talk of Gene Chizik’s $7.5 million buyout.
Sapakoff pick: Ole Miss, 34-14
Peper pick: Ole Miss, 24-14
Duke at Virginia Tech
First-place Duke isn’t favored over the formerly formidable Hokies.
Sapakoff pick: Virginia Tech, 28-24
Peper pick: Virginia Tech, 27-14
UNC at Miami
The Tar Heels are 0-2 on the road (Wake Forest, Louisville) but Giovanni Bernard might run wild.
Sapakoff pick: North Carolina, 45-24
Peper pick: North Carolina, 27-20
Oklahoma vs. Texas (Dallas)
Once the biggest game in the Big 12. The team maddest about surrendering the limelight to next week’s Kansas State-West Virginia game will win.
Sapakoff pick: Oklahoma, 21-17
Peper pick: Oklahoma, 35-27
Last week: Sapakoff 6-4, Peper 6-4
Season: Sapakoff 44-16, Peper 40-20
Reach Gene Sapakoff at 937-5593 or on Twitter @sapakoff