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The Morning Rush

The Morning Rush wakes you up on 97.5 WCOS every weekday morning. Drive to work while you listen to Jonathon Rush and Kelly Nash.Full Bio


Kelly Nash Picks For CFB Rivalry Week

Every Friday morning I join Teddy Heffner host of "Talking Sports" on Fox Sports 1400. Teddy gives away tailgate package from Mathias Sandwich shop to someone who can beat our picks. The picks include point spreads so for example if a team is a 10 point underdog and they lose by 9 then they have won. If you'd like to text your picks to enter get them in before Saturday noon on the Talking Sports Text Line at 803-315-3292. Now here's this weeks games and my picks.

I am back! 6-1 last week last week. I’ll try to repeat on the final week of the regular season. Obviously it’s even harder on rivalry week as more upsets happen this week than any other. Actually that’s a lie. There’s upsets in about 20 percent of the games every week including Rivalry Week. It just seems like a bigger deal this week.

Clemson at USC +7

The Palmetto Bowl! Listed by most CFB commentators as a top 5 rivalry game along with:

The Game: Ohio State vs Michigan

The Iron Bowl: Alabama vs Auburn

The Sunshine Showdown: Florida vs Florida State

The Egg Bowl: Ole Miss vs Mississippi State

Teddy Hefner always says he likes home underdogs. Gamecocks are 1 TD underdogs. Last year the Gamecocks were 14.5 underdogs going into Death Valley to play a Tigers team that was ranked 8th in the nation, still had a shot at the playoffs and had a 40 game home win streak. The task is substantially easier this year. 7 point underdog against an unranked (or #24 ranked depending on poll) Tigers in Williams-Brice where they have won all of their night games this year (Furman, Miss State, Vandy, Kentucky) and 2022 (Georgia State, Charlotte, SC State, TX A&M, Tennessee). Willie B gets rocking and it's hard to shut them fans up! So how do they do it this year? Rattler. Spencer Rattler can escape situations where all hope is lost and break defenses hearts tossing dimes for first downs. The Gamecocks have done the opposite of establishing a run game. They’ve established that they can’t run. Gamecocks are 126th in the nation in rushing. They are one of only 5 teams to average less than 3 yards per run. Clemson isn’t elite against the run but above average ranked 31st in the nation. So don’t waste a lot of time trying it. Fools would say “but Clemson is an elite pass D”. They are ranked 8th in the nation it’s the best pass D the Gamecocks will face this year. But you are an elite pass team. You do you! The second best pass D you played was Georgia. Rattler tossed 256 in that game. And for those saying Juice Wells was the reason he only had 2 for 32 yards. And the fans are dying to see Clemson corner Nate Wiggins vs 1000 yard receiver Xavier Legette. All of the advantage is Xavier’s. Speed. Nate hit 22 mph hustling to save a UNC TD. Legette hit 22.3 MPH on a 75 yard TD against Miss State. Height. Nate is 6’2”, Xavier 6’3”. Weight Nate is slight at just 185, Xavier is 227. Last week Devontez Walker went off with 4 catches for 70 against Nate, so he is beatable. I’m also waiting for Nyck Harbor to break out! He’s improving every week and it’s noticeable to the fans. But the coaches really notice and rave about him. Could this be the week we’ve been waiting for when the fastest man in college football unleashes his 4.2 40 speed and jets into the endzone? At 6’5” he is a total mismatch nightmare. And the Gamecocks offensive line has struggled most of the year with injuries so there has been changes every week in that unit. This however will be the 4th game in a row where the same 5 are up front. That should improve protection. If you saw the UNC/Clemson game you saw their QB Drake Maye run for over 60 yards against Clemson. Spencer Rattler is a better runner who will rush for 100 if they’re not careful. On the other side of the ball Clemson can’t score. They can’t score because their QB is 99th in the country out of 104 QB’s who have enough attempts to be rated in yards per completion. In the games where they score the most it’s their running that does it. Clemson has hit 31 points 3 times this year. Other than the GT game where they hung 42 on them, 31 is the peak of their point scoring against FBS teams. The 2 best Run D’s they faced are Miami whom they scored 24 and NC State whom they scored 17. The Gamecocks are the 3rd best run D on their schedule and they limit teams to 143 YPG on the ground. A lot of that average is elevated from early in the season asD is getting better. USC has held their last 3 SEC opponents under 130 yards in Kentucky, Vandy and A&M. Gamecocks can score as well. They put 39 on Florida, 37 on Miss State and 47 against Vandy. Clemson’s D is better than those teams so I’m thinking this should be a low scoring affair. The over/under is 52.5. I’m going under and looking for a Gamecock victory around 27-24.

Kentucky at Louisville -7

Wildcats have lost 5 of their last 6. They’re in a tailspin. Mark Stoops handled the lightweight portion of his schedule beating Ball State, Eastern Kentucky, Akron, Vandy, and then became ranked when they stomped FL. It was real competition came to play that they were exposed. Louisville new head coach seems like a world beater. 10-1 in his first season. He was born in Louisville, played QB at Louisville and after 7 years in the NFL he started coaching the Louisville Fire Arena Football team. This guy is all about Louisville so I imagine he will be hard to lure away. I like the hometown kid to cover at home with a convincing win before next weeks ACC championship where I expect them to win the title over FSU now that they’ve lost their QB. Speaking of FSU…

FSU at Florida +6.5

This spread would have been a lot more if FSU QB Jordan Travis’s college career had not ended with a leg injury this past Saturday. FSU backup Tate Rodemaker will be what all of the Seminoles hopes and dreams of an ACC title and National Championship ride on. He’s a redshirt junior who has appeared in 7 games this year throwing 18-31 for 254 yards. Those stats aren’t horrible. But they are against pretty weak opponents when the starters were pulled. Lucky for him the Gators are one of those weak teams where the starters would have been pulled in the 4th. Florida is ranked last in the nation in yards allowed per play. In passing YPG they give up 285! Rushing another 161. So as an offense it’s shooting fish in a barrel. FSU has been averaging 162 YPG on the ground at almost 5 yards per carry. I imagine they will go more run heavy since losing their Heisman candidate, and at 5 YPC it’s pretty easy to see them running for over 200 yards. Florida offense is very good so the only thing that throws this off is FSU gets down by say 17 or more at some point and need to start scoring quick. Teddy says take home underdogs to cover so I will again even though I think FSU wins.

UNC at NC State +3

Tarheels Coach Mack Brown says his team lost last weeks game not that Clemson beat them. Hard to argue when they fumble twice inside the 10! But Shipley tried to help out by turning it over inside the 10 himself. But just to make sure the total collapse was complete UNC went on to pickup 10 penalties including a personal foul that negated a horrendous Klubnik pass that was intercepted in the endzone. Anyways all that to say Mack Brown believes his team will play much better this week. If they do they should win. If they win it’s hard to not cover 3 which means I can’t continue the trend of picking home underdogs. So I will say Mack Brown is wrong and go with the Wolfpack!

Ohio State at Michigan -3.5

 While Emeka Egbuka might not be a household name, he is a big stinking deal for Ohio State. The Buckeyes biggest star Marvin Harrison Jr says when Emeka is on the field the D can’t focus exclusively on him like they did early in the season and then production for both go up. The last 3 games Ohio State has scored 35 or more. Michigan had been rolling scoring 40 or more in 5 games in a row till the scandal hit. The last 2 games without Harbaugh saw a production drop off and almost a disaster last week as they clung to a TD win against Maryland. Maryland!!! So now we have Ohio State playing the best football of the season and Michigan for whatever reason is not. I believe in momentum and am taking the Buckeyes.

James Madison at Coastal +9

Last week the undefeated James Madison Dukes went down in flames to 6-4 App State. They almost pulled off the comeback scoring 15 in the 4th to push it to OT. So now the dream of a perfect season has been dashed. Also James Madison has been denied a waiver. The waiver was required in order to be bowl eligible because of a mandatory 2 year bowl ineligibility clause when a team decides to jump up to FBS. They will probably go to a bowl anyways because with 41 bowl games there’s 82 slots but it’s doubtful 82 teams will end the season with 6 wins. Currently there’s 61. So after the 6 win teams are taken a lower bowl can chose from the remaining teams. Obviously, an unbeaten team would be very attractive. But they’re not anymore and with a stadium capacity of 25,000 and no television exposure bowls won’t expect much of a traveling fanbase. So they would more likely take a 5 win Miss State team in a South East bowl or a 5 win BYU team out in the West where they would be expected to sell some tickets. James Madison is deflated and unmotivated and so I get to take the home underdog again.

Alabama at Auburn +14.5

Yes Alabama will probably crush Auburn. Some fans may say it’s usually a tight game though. Not really. 7 of the last 12 games have been wins of 16 points or more including last years 49-27 blowout. Auburn has a better coach this year but it’s hard to explain last week New Mexico State. Auburn was throttled for 414 yards and beaten in every stat. They were manhandled and if NM State can do that Alabama trying to get back into national championship contention can certainly do that. Bama just beat Chattanooga by 56 and Kentucky by 18. The 2 weeks before that they beat LSU and Tennessee by 14 each. I find it hard to imagine them not beating Auburn worse than LSU and TN. So my home underdog picks have to end here. Sorry Tigers.


Both teams total offense in USC/Clemson game.

Clemson had 338 against Wake, 345 yards against Miami and 364 against NC State. I’ll put 380 against USC.

South Carolina has struggled against good defenses but I think part of that was due to the O line injuries which seem to have gotten better. The team in general is clicking so I’ll give them a higher than anticipated 390 against the best D they have faced. Making my answer 770 yards.   


South Carolina v Clemson

CLEMSON, SOUTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 26: Spencer Rattler #7 of the South Carolina Gamecocks gets tackled by Trenton Simpson #22 of the Clemson Tigers in the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)Photo: Eakin Howard / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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