Morgan Nichols

Morgan Nichols, Miss South Carolina, is a Clemson graduate from Lexington. She competes in the Miss America competition on Dec. 19, 2019. 

Morgan Nichols is the perfect Rivalry Week pick for Pigskin Picks VIP picker. She knows both sides of this garnet vs. orange thing.

The reigning Miss South Carolina grew up in Lexington as a Gamecocks fan before graduating from Clemson with honors.

Smart?

Nichols, 22, majored in genetics and minored in business administration. She had pharmaceutical manufacturing internships. She plans to get her MBA, and is considering Ivy League schools. As Miss South Carolina, Nichols promotes STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — programs for kids.

Morgan Nichols head shot

Morgan Nichols, 2019 Miss South Carolina. Photo provided

Shrewd?

How about three upset picks this week: Auburn, Minnesota and Michigan.

But you can’t expect Nichols to pick against her alma mater when Clemson is a 27-point favorite, a series record pointspread. And, like the football Tigers, she has a good shot at a national championship: the Miss America competition is Dec. 19.

Can’t believe it’s already Week 14:

Clemson at South Carolina

The Gamecocks have rushed for 66 yards on 44 carries over the last two games. Clemson has perhaps the nation’s best defense.

Morgan Nichols pick: Clemson

Gene Sapakoff pick: Clemson

Alabama at Auburn

Auburn problem: 57.6 completion percentage for freshman quarterback Bo Nix. Then again, he has more big-game experience than Alabama’s Mac Jones.

Morgan Nichols pick: Auburn

Gene Sapakoff pick: Alabama

Georgia at Georgia Tech

Three of James Graham’s seven pass completions went for touchdowns last week in the Yellow Jackets’ 28-26 win over N.C. State. But this is a long way from a competitive rivalry.

Morgan Nichols pick: Georgia

Gene Sapakoff pick: Georgia

Florida State at Florida

The Gators’ Kyle Trask (21 touchdown passes, 6 interceptions) is the most underrated quarterback in the SEC.

Morgan Nichols pick: Florida

Gene Sapakoff pick: Florida

Louisville at Kentucky

After Clemson, this is the ACC’s best Rivalry Week hope vs. the SEC. From the looks of Scott Satterfield’s Cardinal upside, Kentucky better get a win now.

Morgan Nichols pick: Louisville

Gene Sapakoff pick: Kentucky

UNC at N.C. State

Raleigh fun is the gateway to a winning season for Mack Brown’s 5-6 Tar Heels.

Morgan Nichols pick: North Carolina

Gene Sapakoff pick: North Carolina

Miami at Duke

I checked with the ACC office: Miami is the first ACC team to lose at Florida International one week and go into a conference road game as a 9-point favorite the next.

Morgan Nichols pick: Miami

Gene Sapakoff pick: Miami

Texas A&M at LSU

A common opponent for the (LSU) Tigers and (Clemson) Tigers if they meet in a postseason game, which seems more likely than leftover cranberry sauce.

Morgan Nichols pick: LSU

Gene Sapakoff pick: LSU

Wisconsin at Minnesota

It’s the coolest rivalry game trophy, Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Miss Wisconsin and Miss Minnesota do not, however, compete for such a prize.

Morgan Nichols pick: Minnesota

Gene Sapakoff pick: Minnesota

Ohio State at Michigan

Formidable Buckeyes pressure on Jim Harbaugh and Co.: the nation’s top scoring offense and Heisman Trophy candidate Chase Young leading a sack-happy defense.

Morgan Nichols pick: Michigan

Gene Sapakoff pick: Ohio State

VIP picker Adam Gorlitsky last week: 7-3

Gene Sapakoff last week: 10-0

Gene Sapakoff season record: 98-32

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff