Kevin Higgins tinkered with his pre-game speech all week, but the heart of the matter remained intact.
"A lot of you guys wanted to play major college football," The Citadel's head coach will tell his Bulldogs this morning as they prepare to take the Williams-Brice Stadium field to play No. 14 South Carolina. "Well, here's your chance to compare yourselves. This is a 'mirror' game: You will look at yourself in the mirror on Sunday and say, 'I can play at that level' or 'I can not.' "
As for tangible encouragement, Higgins has reminded Citadel players less about the Bulldogs' 38-35 upset at South Carolina in 1990 -- ancient history to college kids -- and more about fellow Southern Conference member Wofford, which took Clemson to the wall before losing, 35-27, earlier this season.
We here at Pigskin Picks headquarters are down to the wire, two more weeks of prognostication with Warren Peper two games back:
Citadel at South Carolina
No secret: Connor Shaw will jump-start the dormant passing game to get the Gamecocks ready for Clemson, a game that probably will require the use of Alshon Jeffery.
Peper pick: USC, 38-10
Sapakoff pick: USC, 41-10
Clemson at N.C. State
A win would be nice, but the No. 7 Tigers must emerge healthier on Sunday than they were on Friday. In other words: Don't play Sammy Watkins.
Peper pick: Clemson, 35-21
Sapakoff pick: Clemson, 28-23
CSU at Presbyterian
Capping a winless season for the hard-luck Bucs. Meanwhile, the Blue Hose have made stunning strides since September.
Peper pick: Presbyterian, 30-17
Sapakoff pick: Presbyterian, 31-30
Georgia Tech at Duke
Three losses -- and a win over Clemson -- in the last four games for Georgia Tech, 7-3 and still aiming for 10 wins.
Peper pick: Georgia Tech, 28-14
Sapakoff pick: Georgia Tech, 28-21
Vanderbilt at Tennessee
Where have you gone, Tee Martin? You know times are tough in Knoxville when Vandy is favored at Neyland Stadium.
Peper pick: Vanderbilt, 21-17
Sapakoff pick: Vanderbilt, 13-10
Maryland at Wake Forest
Bowl eligibility in play for the 5-5 Deacons. Their finale is at home next week against Vanderbilt.
Peper pick: Wake Forest, 30-20
Sapakoff pick: Wake Forest, 28-24
Mississippi State at Arkansas
Knile Davis or not, the No. 6 Razorbacks have run their way into BCS title game talk.
Peper pick: Arkansas, 28-12
Sapakoff pick: Arkansas, 31-14
Kentucky at Georgia
Steve Spurrier offered to lend Kentucky the Gamecocks' defensive line but the SEC stepped in.
Peper pick: Georgia, 27-17
Sapakoff pick: Georgia, 51-10
Virginia at Florida St.
ACC Championship Game Lite.
Peper pick: Florida State, 34-20
Sapakoff pick: Florida State, 31-27
Penn State at Ohio State
The Nittany Lions are better than people think, 8-2 with a loss to Alabama and last week's 17-14 strangeness against Nebraska.
Peper pick: Ohio State, 21-14
Sapakoff pick: Penn State, 24-21
Last week: Sapakoff 8-2, Peper 7-3
Season: Sapakoff 80-30, Warren 78-32