CLEMSON — The default setting in college football is the next big thing, though coaches constantly warn us about peeking ahead.
Here, one of the biggest games in Palmetto State history is one blowout win and a week away. Dabo Swinney certainly doesn’t want his Clemson players talking about the No. 3 Tigers vs. No. 6 Florida State on Oct. 19 at Death Valley, even as secondary market ticket prices climb higher than the Blue Ridge horizon.
These are heady times at Clemson.
Last week, Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer complained that Swinney was running up the score —– in the second quarter.
Following a 49-14 loss, Shafer this week talked about the benefit of “lessons learned from getting beat by a good Clemson team.”
Boston College is a 24-point underdog.
Hoping for a second “GameDay” appearance at Clemson in seven weeks, Tiger fans should know that two shows on the same campus in the same season are hardly unprecedented. It’s happened 11 times since 2000, most recently twice apiece at Eugene and Baton Rouge in 2007.
But don’t look ahead, unless you’re Jimbo Fisher. The Florida State head coach has a well-placed bye week.
Even Fisher is cautious.
“We’ll play the game when it’s time to play the game,” he said this week. “You can be too ready to play a game at times, and you’ve got to make sure you prepare first.”
I’m prepared for Warren Peper, whether my Florida-LSU pick looks like it or not.
Boston College at Clemson
Old-school theory: Don’t want to show Florida State too much. New school: Chad Morris might try to give the Seminoles more to think about.
Gene Sapakoff pick: Clemson, 41-17
Warren Peper pick: Clemson, 42-20
South Carolina at Arkansas
Jadeveon Clowney goes back to being something between Superman and a talk-show punch-line.
Sapakoff pick: South Carolina, 28-17
Peper pick: South Carolina, 27-19
Citadel at Georgia Southern
Funny how Georgia Southern and Appalachian State got worse on their way to FBS status. But Statesboro still a tough place to win.
Sapakoff pick: Georgia Southern, 21-17
Peper pick: Georgia Southern, 31-20
Charleston Southern at VMI
The Big South opener for the 6-0 Bucs. Second start for backup QB Danny Croghan.
Sapakoff pick: CSU, 21-14
Peper pick: CSU, 24-21 (OT)
Navy at Duke
Hard to shut down the Midshipmen, even during a shutdown. Navy has already defeated Indiana and Air Force.
Sapakoff pick: Duke, 31-20
Peper pick: Duke, 27-24
Syracuse at N.C. State
N.C. State is coming off a 28-13 loss last week at Wake Forest, where the Wolfpack hasn’t won in 12 years.
Sapakoff pick: N.C. State, 24-23
Peper pick: N.C. State, 24-17
Florida at LSU
Big ifs: If Tyler Murphy is a reasonable answer at quarterback … If the Gators win on the bayou … If Georgia loses one more key player to injury … Florida suddenly becomes the SEC East title favorite.
Sapakoff pick: Florida, 28-27
Peper pick: LSU, 45-38
Texas A&M at Ole Miss
Too much Johnny Football in Oxford.
Sapakoff pick: Texas A&M, 38-28
Peper pick: Texas A&M, 27-20
Michigan at Penn State
Lacks that “GameDay” feel of yesteryear.
Sapakoff pick: Michigan, 21-17
Peper pick: Michigan, 34-20
Oklahoma vs. Texas
Sooners doing it with defense, and 6-6, 252-pound QB Blake Bell.
Sapakoff pick: Oklahoma, 31-14
Peper pick: Oklahoma, 28-19
Last week: Warren Peper 9-1, Gene Sapakoff 9-1
Season: Peper 46-14, Sapakoff 45-15
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff