Here we are, hard by the lyrical border. Florida Georgia Line. Which used to be the point spread when the Gators and Bulldogs clash in Jacksonville but now is a chart-topping country band.
Or, in the case of South Carolina’s Head Ball Coach, a red cape of motivation. Steve Spurrier enjoyed most of his football success as a University of Florida quarterback (1966 Heisman Trophy) and head coach (1996 national title, seven SEC titles). The Gamecocks’ ascent under Spurrier is reflected in his record against Florida teams and in games played in the Sunshine State.
South Carolina vs. Florida teams before Spurrier (pre-2005): 14-42-5.
With Spurrier: 6-6 (three wins vs. Florida, two vs. Florida Atlantic, one vs. Central Florida).
South Carolina in games played in Florida before Spurrier: 8-30-2.
With Spurrier: 3-4 (a 2010 win at Florida, 2012 Capital One Bowl, 2013 Outback Bowl).
Added interest when it’s Central Florida? In Orlando?
“Yeah, going into Florida, yeah I get a little extra kick maybe going into the state and competing against a team down there, since I did coach a bunch of games there,” Spurrier said this week. “But again, it’s South Carolina versus Central Florida, and once the ball is kicked off it’s our team trying to beat their team.”
Yeah, just another week here, too. I’m just trying to beat Warren Peper and an expanding cast of thousands.
Wake Forest at Clemson
Defensive end Vic Beasley (second in the country in sacks) and his fellow Tigers want a shutout. Cutting down on big plays will help.
Sapakoff pick: Clemson, 42-10
Peper pick: Clemson, 44-12
USC at Central Florida
UCF’s Blake Bortles, quick and 6-4, is one of the top three quarterbacks the Gamecocks will face this season (Aaron Murray, Tajh Boyd).
Sapakoff pick: S. Carolina, 31-27
Peper pick: South Carolina, 24-17
Furman at The Citadel
The Bulldogs might have found momentum in a 59-58 loss at Old Dominion last week.
Sapakoff pick: The Citadel, 31-24
Peper pick: The Citadel, 28-21
CSU at Appalachian State
Do the Bucs stop here? Charleston Southern is a surprising 4-0 with three road wins.
Sapakoff pick: Appalachian State, 28-17
Peper pick: Charleston Southern, 24-21
Hampton at South Carolina State
Buddy Pough’s Bulldogs outscored Alabama A&M and Benedict by a combined 91-6.
Sapakoff pick: S.C. State, 35-14
Peper pick: S.C. State, 34-17
LSU at Georgia
Les Miles eats grass blades in Baton Rouge. Hedges in Athens?
Sapakoff pick: Georgia, 28-27
Peper pick: LSU, 24-22
Ole Miss at Alabama
The Crimson Tide didn’t look very interested against Colorado State. An SEC West upstart has their attention.
Sapakoff pick: Alabama, 31-21
Peper pick: Alabama, 27-20
East Carolina at North Carolina
The Tar Heels have won four straight in the series, but this is a dangerous spot coming off an emotional 28-20 loss at Georgia Tech.
Sapakoff pick: North Carolina, 27-21
Peper pick: North Carolina, 30-27
Oklahoma at Notre Dame
Asked about the differences between the Notre Dame team that won in Norman last year and this one, OU head coach Bob Stoops mentioned linebacker Manti Te’o and quarterback Everett Golson.
Sapakoff pick: Oklahoma, 24-14
Peper pick: Oklahoma, 31-27
Wisconsin at Ohio State
Braxton Miller, Kenny Guiton … Or maybe Urban Meyer has a third-stringer even better.
Sapakoff pick: Ohio State, 28-14
Peper pick: Ohio State, 27-17
Last week: Sapakoff 9-1, Peper 8-2
Season: Peper 30-10, Sapakoff 29-11