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.
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.
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