The first pick for Guest VIP Picker for The Post and Courier’s 2019 edition of Pigskin Picks was an easy call.
With South Carolina facing North Carolina in the biggest Saturday game for a Palmetto State team, a guest picker with experience at the highest level of competition in this rivalry is imperative.
The esteemed Bobby Cremins was in the thick of it as a South Carolina basketball player during Frank Maguire’s glory years. The Gamecocks were tussling at the top of the ACC with the Tar Heels and Dean Smith, who would become legendary.
Favorite North Carolina memory: A senior-year victory in Chapel Hill, 79-62.
Cremins, a big football fan, is up for the Pigskin Picks challenge.
“You don’t have to tell me about Virginia Tech and Boston College,” he said this week. “I know those teams.”
Pigskin Picks rules for 2019: Winners must outpick both me and the Guest VIP Picker. So if I go 7-3 this week and Cremins goes 7-3, a winner must go 8-2 or better.
And just to let you know, I have been practicing the last three weeks, trying to pick NFL preseason game winners.
College Football Week 1, finally here:
South Carolina vs. North Carolina
Keep an eye on running back Javonte Williams, North Carolina’s most dynamic player and running behind the Tar Heels’ best position unit. But the Gamecocks have Javon Kinlaw, D.J. Wonnum, Zacch Pickens, Aaron Sterling and other talented guys on the defensive line.
Bobby Cremins pick: South Carolina
Gene Sapakoff pick: South Carolina
Towson at The Citadel
Since leading Towson to a 44-27 victory over The Citadel last year, Tigers quarterback Tom Flacco took a swing at college baseball. He hit .221 in 140 at-bats last spring. NFL quarterback Joe Flacco’s youngest brother ran for 185 yards and threw for 253 with four total touchdowns against the Bulldogs.
Bobby Cremins pick: The Citadel
Gene Sapakoff pick: Towson
CSU at Furman
Tough debut for new Charleston Southern head coach Autry Denson on the road against one of the best FCS programs in the country.
Bobby Cremins pick: Furman
Gene Sapakoff pick: Furman
Wofford at S.C. State
Buddy Pough wants consistency from S.C. State quarterback Tyrece Nick. Wofford is good enough to run the table vs. FCS competition this season.
Bobby Cremins pick: Wofford
Gene Sapakoff pick: Wofford
Virginia at Pittsburgh
Coincidentally, both of these teams played against a Palmetto State team in Charlotte last December. Pitt lost to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, 42-10; Virginia beat South Carolina in the Belk Bowl, 28-0.
Bobby Cremins pick: Virginia
Gene Sapakoff pick: Virginia
Virginia Tech at Boston College
If the Hokies want to make noise in the ACC Coastal Division, this is a grand opportunity. BC running back AJ Dillon is the ACC’s best back not named Travis Etienne.
Bobby Cremins pick: Boston College
Gene Sapakoff pick: Virginia Tech
Georgia State at Tennessee
Former South Carolina interim head coach Shawn Elliott will make strides after a 2-10 season. But no SEC program has a collective shoulder chip like quarterback Jarrett Guarantano and friends in Knoxville.
Bobby Cremins pick: Tennessee
Gene Sapakoff pick: Tennessee
East Carolina at N.C. State
The ECU debut of former Citadel head coach Mike Houston, who won an FCS national title at James Madison. The Pirates will get some upset wins soon enough.
Bobby Cremins pick: N.C. State
Gene Sapakoff pick: N.C. State
Oregon vs. Auburn
The Ducks have NFL-bound quarterback Justin Herbert and maybe the country's best offensive line. Auburn has SEC talent and the Pac-12’s recent inability to win big non-conference games.
Bobby Cremins pick: Auburn
Gene Sapakoff pick: Oregon
Boise State vs. Florida State
A new Seminole wind is blowing out of Tallahassee after the dreadful 5-7 season of 2018. Quarterback James Blackman and Co. need something convincing here against the best of the Mountain West.
Bobby Cremins pick: Boise State
Gene Sapakoff pick: Florida State
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff