Bear Rinehart is the lead singer of the Charleston-based, Grammy Award-winning, crowd-pleasing rock band Needtobreathe. He doubles as solo artist Wilder Woods (named after his children Wilder and Woods) and his international tour included a stop this week at L.A.’s famed Troudadour.
But college football expertise is part of Rinehart’s calling card; he was named after legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant.
Before Needtobreathe made it big with hits such as “Drive All Night” and “Keep Your Eyes Open” and “Brother” that frequently appear as bumper music on NFL and Major League Baseball telecasts, Rinehart was a Furman wide receiver.
Needtobreathe maintains lots of ties to sports. The band’s annual Daniel Island charity golf tournament is loaded with pro athletes and musicians. It has partnered with OneWorld Health to support the mission of providing sustainable healthcare in East Africa and Central America.
Favorite teams: Atlanta Braves, Alabama football (of course), the Chicago Bears (who else for a guy named Bear?).
Rinehart, 39, helped the Paladins win two Southern Conference championships during his 1999-2002 college years. So it’s easy to guess where he’s going with his Furman-Citadel pick.
Week 8, upon us like a reckoning:
Florida at South Carolina
The Gamecocks’ defensive line, led by Goose Creek’s Javon Kinlaw, consistently pushed one of the nation’s best blocking groups around last week in the 20-17 double-overtime win at Georgia.
Bear Rinehart pick: Florida
Gene Sapakoff pick: South Carolina
Clemson at Louisville
Trevor Lawrence should build on his bounce-back performance from last week against Florida State. Louisville is No. 95 in passing efficiency defense (Clemson No. 5).
Bear Rinehart pick: Clemson
Gene Sapakoff pick: Clemson
Furman at The Citadel
The Bulldogs rushed for a season-high 339 yards in last week’s 35-17 win over Western Carolina.
Bear Rinehart pick: Furman
Gene Sapakoff pick: Furman
CSU at North Alabama
A Division II power in the mid-1990s, this is the second season of FCS play for North Alabama. The Lions had an open date last week.
Bear Rinehart pick: Charleston Southern
Gene Sapakoff pick: North Alabama
Morgan St. at S.C. State
Buddy Pough is tied with Willie Jeffries with 128 wins as S.C. State head coach, tops in school history.
Bear Rinehart pick: Morgan State
Gene Sapakoff pick: S.C. State
LSU at Mississippi State
Bulldogs head coach Joe Moorhead reportedly is a candidate to split Stark Vegas for Rutgers. A lot of MSU fans might help him pack.
Bear Rinehart pick: LSU
Gene Sapakoff pick: LSU
Auburn at Arkansas
Auburn with upcoming games against Georgia, LSU and Alabama can spoil a lot of playoff dreams. Or slip back into “Fire Gus Malzahn” mode.
Bear Rinehart pick: Auburn
Gene Sapakoff pick: Auburn
Florida State at Wake Forest
With starter Jamie Newman banged up, sophomore Sam Hartman (Oceanside Collegiate Academy in Mount Pleasant) might get his first start of the season. He led Wake to four touchdown drives in the final 10 minutes of a 62-59 loss to Louisville last week.
Bear Rinehart pick: Wake Forest
Gene Sapakoff pick: Florida State
North Carolina at Virginia Tech
The Tar Heels are tied with Duke, Virginia and Pittsburgh with one ACC loss apiece and Coastal Division supremacy.
“We said it’s all out there for us,” head coach Mack Brown told reporters this week. “It’s on us to play well and win on the road.”
Bear Rinehart pick: North Carolina
Gene Sapakoff pick: North Carolina
Michigan at Penn State
Penn State’s Sean Clifford is perhaps the most under-the-radar good quarterback in America: 13 TD passes, 2 interceptions, 1,560 yards passing and 252 yards rushing on a 6-0 team.
Bear Rinehart pick: Penn State
Gene Sapakoff pick: Penn State
VIP picker Charlie The RiverDog last week: 6-4
Gene Sapakoff last week: 7-3
Gene Sapakoff season record: 50-20
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff