SAPAKOFF COLUMN: USC needs to run and stop the run
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The trendiest tourist spot in town is Florida’s trio of bronzed Heisman Trophy winners. The Steve Spurrier and Danny Wuerrfel statues are attempting passes.
Ominously for South Carolina, the Tim Tebow statue — easily the most popular on campus — is running with the football. Spurrier’s No. 9 Gamecocks arrive at The Swamp today after giving up 258 rushing yards during last week’s 23-21 loss at LSU.
“Some guys came out to play,” All-Planet defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said, “but some guys didn’t.”
With the SEC East title on the line for South Carolina, Clowney and a limited cast get another high-profile chance against No. 3 Florida. The Gators are averaging 233 yards per game, second-best in the SEC after Texas A&M.
USC defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles is sidelined with a sprained shoulder.
Like the Gators, Warren Peper is on a roll: 9-1 last week, including LSU over South Carolina.
You might have to go 10-0 to beat one of us in the Pigskin Picks contest again this week. Keep putting up perfect records, and we’ll consider commissioning a bronze statue outside Post and Courier headquarters:
Va. Tech at Clemson
Clemson might get away with having the nation’s No. 99-ranked rushing defense. Virginia Tech enters Death Valley today with the No. 78 rushing offense and upcoming Tigers foes include Wake Forest at No. 97, Duke 104, Maryland 118 and N.C. State 82.
Sapakoff pick: Clemson, 38-34
Peper pick: Clemson, 30-17
USC at Florida
South Carolina entered last week’s game at LSU knowing that a win over Alabama in Atlanta was the key to a BCS national championship game appearance. It can still happen.
Sapakoff pick: Florida, 17-16
Peper pick: USC, 24-20
Presbyterian at CSU
Charleston Southern can win back-to-back Big South games for the first time since 2009. All-Name Team defensive end Will Hunt leads a plucky Bucs defense.
Sapakoff pick: CSU, 24-21
Peper pick: CSU, 21-14
S.C. State at Florida A&M
The Bulldogs (2-5) are off to their worst start in 11 seasons. Three more turnovers in a 31-17 setback at Delaware State.
Sapakoff pick: FAMU, 26-21
Peper pick: FAMU, 34-24
Alabama at Tennessee
Tennessee’s best hope is lots of big plays from Rock Hill’s Cordarrelle Patterson, a wide receiver who had 198 all-purpose yards in last week’s loss to Mississippi State.
Sapakoff pick: Alabama, 45-17
Peper pick: Alabama, 28-17
LSU at Texas A&M
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel might win the Heisman. Win or lose, he needs a big game here today.
Sapakoff pick: LSU, 27-17
Peper pick: LSU, 21-12
Georgia at Kentucky
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and Co. bounce back from the loss in Columbia.
Sapakoff pick: Georgia, 49-7
Peper pick: Georgia, 38-14
Florida State at Miami
Perhaps a preview of the ACC championship game, sadly.
Sapakoff pick: FSU, 42-21
Peper pick: FSU, 35-20
UNC at Duke
This shapes up as one of the better games in the ACC this season. North Carolina’s Giovanni Bernard (177 yards, two TDs in 18-14 win at Miami) makes the difference.
Sapakoff pick: UNC, 28-24
Peper pick: UNC, 31-20
Kansas State at West Virginia
Wildcats forced three turnovers in 24-19 win at Oklahoma and must do something similar in the best non-Swamp game of the day.
Sapakoff pick: Kansas St., 31-28
Peper pick: West Virginia, 37-30
Last week: Peper 9-1, Sapakoff 8-2
Season: Sapakoff 52-18, Peper 49-21
Reach Gene Sapakoff at 937-5593 or on Twitter @sapakoff