There’s a soft place in my heart for Charlie The RiverDog, though not so much because he once threw a pie in my face at Riley Park. It’s the recognition that Charlie, as the first overall pick in the June 1994 Minor League Mascot Draft, has spread baseball joy to millions.

Who better to have as a VIP picker, during the heart of the Major League Baseball playoffs and with a Pigskin Picks slate peppered with dog mascots?

Sure. Charlie is the first VIP picker to issue an official press release.

“I’ll let my football acumen do the talking for me,” Charlie said through a RiverDogs interpreter. “I’m out to prove I’m more than just a baseball dog.”

But there’s a Pigskin Picks record-threatening pattern in Charlie’s picks: loyalty to nearby teams, so sweet and typical of a Palmetto State pooch.

Doggedly on to Week 7:

South Carolina at Georgia

The battle of the two fan bases most irritated with Clemson’s College Football Playoff streak. The Bulldogs think they are Clemson with an SEC schedule and might ramp it up against one of three common opponents this season (Texas A&M and Georgia Tech are the others).

Charlie The RiverDog pick: South Carolina

Gene Sapakoff pick: Georgia

Florida State at Clemson

It looks like the addition of Jim Leavitt as an analyst has helped the Seminoles’ defense. Leavitt was FSU head coach Willie Taggart’s defensive coordinator at Oregon and as South Florida head coach recruited most of the players Skip Holtz had in a 2010 Meinke Car Care Bowl victory over Clemson.

Charlie The RiverDog pick: Clemson

Gene Sapakoff pick: Clemson

Western Carolina at The Citadel

Charlie knows The Citadel shares a baseball stadium with the RiverDogs and likes Bulldogs better than Catamounts.

Charlie The RiverDog pick: The Citadel

Gene Sapakoff pick: The Citadel

CSU at Kennesaw State

Ten straight Big South Conference wins for the Owls, back-to-back league champs.

Charlie The RiverDog pick: Charleston Southern

Gene Sapakoff pick: Kennesaw State

simmons (copy)

Former Clemson quarterback Willie Simmons led The Citadel to a 6-6 record in 2003 as a graduate-student transfer. File/Staff

Florida A&M at S.C. State

Bulldogs vs. Bulldogs, sort of. FAMU Rattlers head coach Willie Simmons was a Citadel quarterback in 2003 after graduating from Clemson in just three years.

Charlie The RiverDog pick: S.C. State

Gene Sapakoff pick: S.C. State

Alabama at Texas A&M

College Football Playoff committee members get a chance to make a Clemson-Alabama common opponent comparison, which might come in handy when deciding where to place teams in December.

Charlie The RiverDog pick: Alabama

Gene Sapakoff pick: Alabama

Florida at LSU

Love the poise and production of Kyle Trask, the Gators quarterback who didn’t start in high school. But he hasn’t seen anything like Baton Rouge.

Charlie The RiverDog pick: LSU

Gene Sapakoff pick: LSU

Mississippi State at Tennessee

At first glance, tabbing the Volunteers over the Bulldogs makes no sense for Charlie T. RiverDog. Until you remember that Tennessee’s three mascots are Smokey the hound, Junior Smokey the hound pup and Davy Crockett (two out of three ain’t bad).

Charlie The RiverDog pick: Tennessee

Gene Sapakoff pick: Mississippi State

Southern Cal at Notre Dame

Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book is having a nice season, but running back Tony Jones has been more impressive, averaging 6.9 yards per carry.

Charlie The RiverDog pick: Notre Dame

Gene Sapakoff pick: Notre Dame

Oklahoma vs. Texas

Contrary to popular belief, this is not the highlight of the Texas State Fair. No mere football game can compare with pig races and food, namely Ruth’s Stuffed Fried Taco Cone and Fernie’s Fried Burnt End Burrito.

Charlie The RiverDog pick: Texas

Gene Sapakoff pick: Oklahoma

VIP picker Charlie Brown last week: 7-3

Gene Sapakoff last week: 8-2

Gene Sapakoff season record: 43-17

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff