Pigskin Picks rule No. 1: Take chances

Notre Dame and head coach Brian Kelly can’t be looking past Texas and ahead to Clemson. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

I know. You just spent much of your preseason quality time practicing, simulating Pigskin Picks scenarios twice a day in the August heat.

So by now you know the drill: To get your name in the newspaper, win a braggin’ rights bumper sticker and have a shot at gas cards and the grand prize, you must out-pick both me and Warren Peper, longtime face of the Charleston sports scene.

Warren and I will help you with three picks released in a postandcourier.com preview video early in the week.

But do you want to really stand out among fellow Pigskin Pickers?

Do you dare to go 10-0 and rise above veteran standout Pigskin Pickers such as celebrity musicians, comedians, bishops and a certain Joseph P. Riley Jr. of Charleston?

Inside tip: Take chances.

I mean, sure Davidson went 1-11 last year after that glorious 56-0 win in the opener against College of Faith. But College of Faith made uncharacteristic mistakes and maybe Davidson recalls some of its old-school Southern Conference glory days Saturday at The Citadel, huh?

No, going against Alabama and Auburn on the same Saturday doesn’t make much sense in Birmingham, Muscle Shoals or Las Vegas.

But is life without Pigskin Picks risk as much fun as crushing Peper and me beneath the weight of 1,943 winners?

The fun starts here:

Mike Ayers has presided over the top football program in the state, pound for pound, but here the Terriers are just helping Clemson get ready for Georgia Tech’s triple option.

Gene Sapakoff pick: Clemson, 48-14

Warren Peper pick: Clemson, 47-9

With a gauntlet ahead — Western Carolina, Georgia Southern, Charleston Southern, Wofford … — the Bulldogs and their 10 returning starters on offense must get off to a dominant start.

Sapakoff pick: Citadel, 45-7

Peper pick: Citadel, 24-12

The FBS and Sun Belt-bound Chanticleers are good enough to go 11-0 in one of their last FCS regular seasons.

Sapakoff pick: Coastal Carolina, 31-17

Peper pick: Coastal Carolina, 27-14

Wisconsin almost beat LSU last season. Nick Saban has one of his best defensive lines, and is coming off a loss to another Big Ten team.

Sapakoff pick: Alabama, 20-14

Peper pick: Alabama, 30-19

New Auburn starting quarterback Jeremy Johnson sure looks the part (6-5, 240) and is remarkably agile (won an Alabama high school state championship in basketball).

Sapakoff pick: Auburn, 35-14

Peper pick: Auburn, 31-30

The Longhorns’ underrated defense should give Irish quarterback Malik Zaire a test, but Notre Dame’s toughest game is probably Oct. 3 at Clemson.

Sapakoff pick: Notre Dame, 24-16

Peper pick: Texas, 27-24

Head coach Willie Fritz, father of WCBD Sports Director Lainie Fritz, led the Eagles to a 9-3 record last year, including close losses at N.C. State (24-23) and Georgia Tech (42-38).

Sapakoff pick: West Virginia, 31-28

Peper pick: West Virginia, 34-27

Virginia QB Matt Johns, a 6-5 redshirt junior, beat out Greyson Lambert in spring practice. Lambert left for Georgia, where he is now the starter.

Sapakoff pick: UCLA, 28-17

Peper pick: UCLA, 30-24

The Nittany Lions have won 31 straight games in the series, including a 30-13 victory last year.

Sapakoff pick: Penn State, 35-14

Peper pick: Penn State, 34-17

Sounds like a possible future matchup for Charleston’s Medal of Honor Bowl.

Sapakoff pick: N.C. State, 28-20

Peper pick: N.C. State, 30-20

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff