Sapakoff: Clemson, South Carolina football prediction for each game

The best thing about this Palmetto State college football prediction tool is that it fits conveniently in any tailgate picnic basket.

Unlike pimento cheese, it doesn’t smell if left open until December.

But picking fixins is easier than picking games that involve more head coaching extremes than it has at any time since John Heisman coached football and baseball at Clemson.

Of South Carolina’s nine NCAA Division I programs, four have new head coaches: Coastal Carolina, The Citadel, Charleston Southern, and Wofford.

Meanwhile, Buddy Pough is in his 22nd season with his Saturday night Showcase opener against Jackson State on ABC. And his last, according to this week’s announcement that the Bulldogs’ most successful coach will retire after the 2023 season.

South Carolina’s Shane Beamer oversaw college football’s most exciting, unpredictable, high-performing program in two years: seven surprise upsets with scoring, four of them as double-digit underdogs (the other 13 SEC teams combined just five surprise wins). two-digit misfits).

Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is nothing short of one of the finest collegiate coaches in any sport of this century. But he has suffered a loss to South Carolina and a bowl loss for the first time since 2012.

A short jaunt through college football fever from Fort Sumter to Sassafras Mountain:

South Carolina

At Gamecock Nation, Spencer Rattler was the offensive vault owner in the last three games of an 8-5 season. Progress continues, as reflected in Rattler serving well to all offensive linemen Hall’s Chophouse gift cards Earlier this month while taking the blame for a top-grossing 2022 season.

“Absolute responsibility,” Rattler said. “I try to do too much.”

This is where Rattler’s past experience of Oklahoma’s ups and downs and the help of new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains should come in handy.

“As a quarterback, you’re going to see the success (and) you’re going to have to weather the adversity, too,” Rattler said. “And you have to endure everything.”

Easy wins: Furman (September 9), Jacksonville State (November 4), Vanderbilt (November 11).

Furman is selected to win the Southern Conference. Rich Rodriguez won 9-2 at Jacksonville State in his freshman year with the other Gamecocks.

Tougher wins: Mississippi State (September 23), Florida (October 14), Missouri (October 21), Kentucky (November 18).

No need to panic after starting 2-3, not like Beamer’s teams have finished the last two seasons.

Losses: North Carolina (September 2), Georgia (September 16), Tennessee (September 30), Texas A&M (October 28), Clemson (November 25).

Steve Spurrier didn’t have to do as well against Bulldogs and Vols.

Barometer game: Immediately.

Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye is a great test for a defense that needs strikers to get forward.

Trap Game Alert: Mississippi State.

Will Rogers is a very good but very underrated college quarterback.

Record: 8-5, including a bowl win in a year where the Gamecocks aren’t improving as a record but are making greater strides as a program


Why was three-time All-ACC defensive tackle Tyler Davis returning for a fifth Clemson season?

That’s the same reason there’s so much enthusiasm for a strong defense, Cade Klubnik’s first season as a starting quarterback, and the move of TCU’s Garrett Riley to play plays.

“Why not have a chance to win the natty?” said Davis.

The workable schedule has the two toughest opponents, Florida State and Notre Dame, coming to Death Valley.

Clemson, who has 10-3 and 11-3 seasons under his belt, can probably afford a loss and still make the college football playoffs for the seventh time in nine years.

Easy wins: Charleston Southern (September 9), Florida Atlantic (September 16), Syracuse (September 30), Wake Forest (October 7), Georgia Tech (November 11).

Try to fit a visit to Cooperstown into your Syracuse itinerary. Very nice at this time of year.

Harder wins: at Duke (September 4), at Miami (October 21), at NC State (October 28), at Notre Dame (November 4), at North Carolina (November 18), at South Carolina ( November 18). 25).

A much tougher second half.

Losses: Florida State (September 23),

But revenge for Clemson in the ACC Championship Game

Barometer Game: Game 1 of the split doubleheader with the Seminoles.

Trap game alert: NC State is never a trap game, but the wolf pack has two weeks to prepare for a Clemson team’s trip to Miami

Record: 12-2, including an ACC title and a playoff semifinal loss

Carolina coast

With NFL quarterback contender Grayson McCall returning for their fourth Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year award, the Chanticleers are in a good position for their fourth straight bowl appearance.

But how quickly Coastal Carolina will adjust to offense Tim Beck and new offensive coordinator Travis Trickett are key questions in a tough schedule starting at UCLA.

Record: 8-5 including bowl game

The citadel

Maurice Drayton has his hands full: Not a single Citadel player on the All-Southern Conference preseason teams with two downs after a 4-7 season. The solutions include a strong, highly skilled Citadel coaching staff and the mysterious foes to contend with as you prepare for a redesigned offense.

Record season ticket sales show fans believe.

Record: 3-8

Charleston Southern

The Buccaneers’ new world includes new head coach Gabe Giardina, an assistant coach during Jamey Chadwell’s glory years, a September 9th game at Clemson, and a strange merger between the Big South Conference and the Ohio Valley Conference.

Unfortunately, CSU was selected after a 2-8 season and ranked ninth out of ten teams in the Big South OVC preseason poll.

Record: 4-7

SC state

The buddy system includes four FCS playoff appearances and a glorious 2021 Celebration Bowl win over Coach Prime. But the Bulldogs slipped to 3-8 in 2022 and need a quick encounter between veteran quarterback Corey Fields and Kevin Magouirk, who served as offensive coordinator at SC State in his debut season from 2008-2012.

SC State will host The Citadel on September 23rd.

Record: 6-5


The Paladins are strongest on an offensive line, led by redshirt seniors Pearson Toomey and Jacob Johaning, and on a secondary with cornerback Travis Blackshear and safety Hugh Ryan.

Southern Conference favorite Furman took a 10-3 lead in 2022 after losing to Incarnate Word (41-38) in the second round of the FCS playoff shootout.

Record: 10-3 with two playoff games again


Shawn Watson as caretaker coach led the Terriers to a 3-3 result, making a 3-8 season taste better. There’s still work to be done on both Watson’s pro-spread offense and defense, where Wofford finished seventh in SoCon in points defense and overall defense.

Record: 4-7


The 111th football season for the Blue Hose and another bumpy road. PC competes in the FCS Pioneer League, the only non-scholarship football conference in the country. With a 1-10 record in 2022, PC ranked 261st in the latest Sagarin poll of Division I teams in the US today.

On the plus side, wide receiver Dominic Kibby has four 100-yard reception plays and is the top scoring threat for sophomore head coach Steve Englehart.

Record: 2-9

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff

Survey values ​​2023

Where South Carolina’s nine NCAA Division I football teams were selected to finish in their respective conference preseason polls:

Clemson (ACC), 1st

South Carolina (SEC), 3rd in the SEC East

Coastal Carolina (Sunbelt), 3rd in East Division

The citadel (south), 7

Charleston Southern (Big South/Ohio Valley), 9

SC State (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference), 3rd

Furman (South), 1

Wofford (South), 8

Presbyterian (pioneer), 11th


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