PICKENS -- A town, a county, a way of life. Ah, the perfect site for Pigskin Picks pontification, a pig pickin' and one of the strangest pointspread flips in recent memory.

Clemson opened as a 3-point underdog against Florida State and now is a 2 1/2-point favorite for today's game at Death Valley. Of course, the uncertain status of Seminoles quarterback EJ Manuel has a lot to do with it but his non-throwing shoulder was iffy last Sunday, too.

The point is, a lot of people suddenly feel pretty good about a Clemson team that wasn't supposed to do much this year. Funny, what a roaring comeback against Auburn will do.

Meanwhile, Florida State within a few days went from national title contender to hoping not to fall into last place in an ACC Atlantic Division the Seminoles were supposed to rule.

The Tigers, very un-Clemson-like, closed strong against Auburn -- as they did against Troy.

"Our objective is to get better as the game goes," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said this week.

Warren Peper is "all in," tabbing the Tigers for the second week in a row. I remain only partially in.

Florida State at Clemson

Last year in Tallahassee, it took a game-winning kick launched from somewhere near Pensacola for Florida State to squeak by. This year, maybe Pickens.

Peper pick: Clemson, 28-24

Sapakoff pick: Florida State, 27-24

Vanderbilt at USC

Is it possible that the veteran Gamecock players know when to turn it on and that they're waiting until Auburn arrives in town next week?

Peper pick: USC, 31-17

Sapakoff pick: USC, 35-13

The Citadel at Elon

OK, so The Citadel is better on defense. With two weeks to get ready for the Phoenix, it's time to see some progress on offense.

Peper pick: The Citadel, 17-10

Sapakoff pick: Elon, 21-20

Norfolk State at CSU

Finally back in South Carolina after three straight games in Florida and hopefully the home cooking -- or dorm food -- tastes good for the Bucs.

Peper pick: CSU, 24-19

Sapakoff pick: CSU, 28-27

Delaware St. at S.C. State

Nice showing for S.C. State last week in a loss at Indiana. Back to MEAC play vs. Hornets team that already beat VMI.

Peper pick: S.C. State, 31-20

Sapakoff pick: S.C. State, 28-17

Arkansas at Alabama

Time for Alabama and Trent Richardson to separate in the SEC West without looking too far ahead to the epic battle with LSU.

Peper pick: Alabama, 35-17

Sapakoff pick: Alabama, 21-14

LSU at West Virginia

Hand it to The Hatter. Already, Les Miles and Co. face their third ranked foe away from Baton Rouge (Oregon, Mississippi State).

Peper pick: LSU, 35-24

Sapakoff pick: LSU, 20-8

Colorado at Ohio State

The Buckeyes after losing to Miami last week should be able to get fired up for a Pac-12 team, no matter if the Buffaloes come from the Ohio side of the Rocky Mountains.

Peper pick: Ohio State, 27-17

Sapakoff pick: Ohio State, 24-17

North Carolina at Georgia Tech

Just when you think Paul Johnson's offense is going to have an off-year, the Rambling Wreck goes and gains a few thousand yards against Kansas.

Peper pick: Georgia Tech, 20-14

Sapakoff pick: Georgia Tech, 31-21

Georgia at Mississippi

The Bulldogs' roll started last week against Coastal Carolina and it won't stop until they have nine regular season wins.

Peper pick: Georgia, 24-17

Sapakoff pick: Georgia, 34-10

Last week: Sapakoff 7-3, Peper 6-4

Season: Sapakoff 22-8, Peper 20-10

Reach Gene Sapakoff at gsapakoff@postandcourier.com or 937-5593.