Every Friday morning during football season I appear on Teddy Hefner's show on our sister station Fox Sports Talk which you can hear here. Teddy does a feature called pick 6 where local personalities go up against fans to pick 6 games. I write out my thoughts so I can remember what I'm saying! LOL! So here's the 6 games Teddy has us picking this week with my reasoning and the tie breaker is how many yards will Spencer Rattler throw for this week.
GA State vs USC -12.5
GA State almost beat Auburn last year and they did beat #22 Coastal! Their QB is good and getting better. Darren Grainger has gotten better every year and this will be his senior season. State also has a balanced attack with a rotation of backs so you can’t focus on one aspect or the other.
Williams Brice should be the loudest game GA State has ever been in as a renewed energy and excitement is in Columbia. The fans can’t wait to see this new team! That should rattle the Panthers with at least 2 false starts.
Speaking of rattle, Spencer Rattler’s first game as a gamecock! What’s he going to do? Well first he should hand it off. Zequandre White who was just waived by the Dolphins after going undrafted was the 15th best rusher in America last year averaging 6.6 yards per carry when every defense knew we had a grad assistant or 3rd string QB. The O line can run! With the D looking at Rattler and a backfield featuring a finally healthy 5 star Marshawn Lloyd and a dangerous Juju McDowell. The Line returns 7 guys who started in at least 6 games each so there should be continuity and improvement.
Once that run game gets going then use the short pass to Rattler’s number one target and his former teammate at Oklahoma Austin Stogner. 6’5” 250 pounds he is a massive target and is back to full strength after a staph infection knocked 35lbs off him last year. From there you’ve got the bowl star Jaheim Bell possibly running in formations with Stogner. Of course Josh Vann could have turned pro after catching 43 passes for 679 yards but felt another year would improve his draft stock so he is highly motivated to perform this year. And then Rattler who has won 13 starts in a row. Last loss was in October 2020 after putting up 30 on the road. He finished the season beating 6 ranked teams in a row including #7 Florida in the Cotton Bowl. He started 2021 perfect as well but was benched against Texas in the middle of the game according to his coach for turnover issues. He had thrown a pick and fumbled the ball leading to a Texas lead of 28-7 in the first quarter. They came back to win 55-48 with a freshman replacing him for the last 3 quarters and his career was over. With QB’s they say confidence is the most important part of the job. Has he lost his swagger? It doesn’t appear so but we won’t know for sure till he's taking real shots in a real game. But that’s why to build his confidence I’d expect short passes to the running backs and tight ends before they open it up. I do expect them to win something like 35-14.
Clemson -22 vs GA Tech
Tech has won a total of 9 games in 3 years. Their only star transferred to Bama where he’s now a Heisman candidate. Clemson says they have fixed their offensive woes from last year. I expect a 35-10 type final if not even bigger. Clemson wins big!
Cincy vs Ark -6
Cincy has always been a dangerous team. Last year they put it all together to end up in playoffs! But as 2021 drew to a close so did their Cinderella dreams with a 3 TD loss to Bama. 9 of the players from that Bearcat team were drafted into the NFL this year. That means 9 new starters. And it doesn’t matter how many stars are next to your name it usually takes a few games at the next level to get the hang of this thing. Arkansas lost their top receiver to the draft but they’re a run team even at the QB position. They averaged 227 yards per game (7th best in the nation) on the ground and with most of the line back and the SEC freshman RB of the year in #5 Raheim Sanders look for them to go for even more against a smaller Cincinnati defense.
Oregon vs GA -17
It’s supposed be a neutral site game but it’s in Atlanta Georgia. Not a lot of Ducks fans making the 2600 mile trek from Eugene for this one. Oregon’s new coach Dan Lanning is36 years old in his first year with his new team which is never easy and about to coach his first ever football game. He goes up against the guy who taught him everything he knows in coaching after working the past 3 years for Kirby Smart. But like Apollo Creed told Rocky “I taught you everything you know, but not everything I know”, I imagine Kirby has some tricks if needed that Dan has never seen. However it’s a big spread and Georgia didn’t cover the spread on 4 of their last 7 games last year so I’ll take the ducks and the points.
Utah -3 vs Florida
Utah is the 7th ranked team in the country and is going up against a Florida team that under performed all of last year and has a brand new coach. The fact that they only are 3 point favorites is an insult. It also means that there a lot of suckers who remember FL as a powerhouse and haven’t been keeping tabs. The fact that it’s in the swamp spots FL 3 points, meaning that on a neutral field these people don’t think Utah would win by a TD is insanity to me. Take Utah to win by double digits.
FL State vs LSU-3
Seminole fans are thrilled to have opened with a win. third-year coach Mike Norvell began the season with a Week 0 matchup against FCS opponent Duquesne. The Seminoles easily waltzed to a 47-7 win, the first time they’ve started 1-0 since 2016. But before you start thinking everything has been fixed I’ll remind you that Duquesne has only beaten one FBS team in history. That last year they had loses to teams like Sacred Heart and St Francis. That their season opener last year to the once heralded but much diminished TCU was also a paid for schellacking of 45-3. Now LSU is in that tender time when it’s their coaches first game. However athletically they are far superior. 3rd, 6th and 5th best recruiting classes vs 23rd, 22nd and 18th. The Tigers are basically the home team laying in the Superdome. I expect them to win by 2 TD’s!
Army vs Coastal -2.5
Coastal opens at home Saturday night under the lights in Conway! First time these teams have played each other. Coastal QB is Grayson McCall, a two-time winner of the Sun Belt Conference’s Player of the Year award. McCall was the most efficient passer in the nation last season completing 73% of his passes with 27 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Another year in the system makes me think he’s going to be even better! Army has a stout defense led by preseason All American Andre Carter II set a program record for sacks in 2021 with 15.5. It should be a fun game but I’ll take Coastal to cover.
UNC vs App St EVEN Pick Em
UNC opened the year with a win! However the fact that they allowed Florida A&M to put 24 on them was not a good sign. The fact that the Rattlers coach said that they almost forfeited the game because they were short over 20 players for the game is amazing! App State averaged 35 points per game last year and they believe they will be better this year returning both the QB and his top 2 targets. They also have their Running back who went for over 1100 yards last year. I’ll take App state 28-24 in this one.
Tiebreaker Rattler passing yards. Rattler passed for 275 yards per game in 2020. That dropped to 165 yards per game in 2021. Because I expect a run heavy short pass first half despite it being a non power 5 opponent I’m going to put it at 150 yards of passing for his first game in a Gamecock jersey.