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Illuminati Picks, Week 8: Ed Orgeron faces his past

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A FATED BUT UNWANTED REUNION

WE SEE ALL
USA Today

//stumbles up to podium

Um. Hi guys. The Illuminati Council is taking the week off, and uh....

//fumbles around in pocket

They had a message... while they’re off.... They’ve been trusting me with all the weekend selection summaries this season and they tasked me with, uh, delivering it to you all....

//awkwardly unfolds sheet of paper

Okay, here goes:

GREETINGS, EARTH CITIZENS. THE COUNCIL HAS FOREGONE THIS WEEKEND’S ADDRESS TO YOU IN ORDER TO BRING TOGETHER THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF COMMITTEE. SOME OF THEM MUST BE RECALLED FROM FAR AWAY WHILE OTHERS MUST BE AWOKEN FROM STASIS. IT IS A LONG PROCESS WE DO NOT WISH TO DISCUSS AND YOU SURELY DO NOT WISH TO HEAR. IN THE MEANTIME, PLEASE HUMOR THE POOR CITIZEN TASKED WITH DELIVERING OUR MESSAGE FOR THIS WEEK. THEY WILL HAVE FORGOTTEN ALL OF THIS SHORTLY AFTER THEY FINISH READING THIS MESSAGE. THINGS LIKE THIS ARE STILL GREATLY AMUSING TO US.”

//rubs forehead

Damn it, Illuminati, not ag-

....

....

....

Uh.... what’s going on? Who are you guys? Where are my clothes?

VIEW LAST WEEK’S RESULTS

VIEW THIS SEASON’S TOTALS

UCF Knights (-4) vs. Connecticut Huskies

Are we all excited for this year’s Civil ConFLiCT? What? Yes, that’s totally a thing. There is a real trophy that exists for it! And sure, maybe this is a crazy invention by UConn coach Bob Diaco and UCF has no desire to contest it at best, and is in open disavowal of it at worst. But it’s still real to Bob Diaco, damn it! Ever since he was a little boy he dreamed of growing up and creating his own rivalry trophy. Who are you to take that away from him??

Illuminati Pick: UCF

NC State Wolfpack @ #7 Louisville Cardinals (-20)

This seems like a huge mismatch on paper, but give NC State some credit here. They did beat Notre Dame a few weeks ago, which, okay, maybe that’s a bad example. But they were a decent kicker away from knocking off Clemson in regulation last week. And that sucks, a lot, but if the Wolfpack could stand up to Clemson like that in Death Valley, they have a decent chance of doing the same against Louisville in the Slice. NC State’s always upsetting someone they probably shouldn’t, so hey, why not?

Illuminati pick: NC State

Colorado Buffaloes @ Stanford Cardinal (-4)

Stanford appears to have pulled out of its midseason tailspin by beating Notre Dame, but then again, yeah, it’s just Notre Dame, so maybe that doesn’t mean much. Stanford has won the last five games in this series, with the last Colorado victory coming in they year the Buffaloes didn’t win the national championship. The three meetings as conference opponents haven’t exactly gone well for the Buffaloes either, having given up at least six touchdowns to the Cardinal each time. But CU has decided they’re going to try to be Actually Good this year, and Stanford might not be. They’ll at least keep the Cardinal to under five touchdowns this time.

Illuminati pick: Colorado

TCU Horned Frogs @ #12 West Virginia Mountaineers (-6)

Welp, here we are, week 8 and West Virginia is still undefeated. This couch bonfire is going to reach higher than Spruce Knob by season’s end if this keeps up. This week the Mountaineers host TCU, who..... almost lost to Kansas two weeks ago. Yep. Kansas. Go ahead and add another tier, WVU.

Illuminati pick: WVU

#22 North Carolina Tar Heels (-9) @ Virginia Cavaliers

It’s pretty weird to think UNC-UVA is officially the South’s Oldest Rivalry, but it’s true. They’ve played 120 times, dating back to 1892, and have played every year since 1919. But you don’t ever hear much about it, do you? They don’t play for a trophy, it’s a secondary rivalry for both teams (and might not even be that for UNC), and these two haven’t had a high profile matchup since..... I don’t even know when. But here it is. It’s old, so enjoy it if you like those kinds of things.

Illuminati pick: UNC

#6 Texas A&M Aggies @ #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (-19)

Four years ago, a Johnny Manziel-led Texas A&M team pulled off a shocking upset of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. It’s been business as usual for the Tide ever since. Their schedule has been set up to set up one highly ranked team at them after another, and each time Bama has dropped 45+ points on their opponent and shouted, “next!” Last week it was Tennessee. This week it’s the Aggies, who Tennessee took to two overtimes despite committing seven turnovers. Fifty years from now we will all rest in the ground, while the ethereal form of Nick Saban continues to coach Alabama to 20 point victories over top-5 teams.

Illuminati pick: Alabama

Memphis Tigers (-2) @ #24 Navy Midshipmen

You’d be forgiven for assuming Memphis would take a step back after losing Justin Fuente to Virginia Tech, but nah, they’re still doing fine. They’re 5-1 with only a loss to Ole Miss, which is probably why they’re not ranked, since that loss Just Means More. Meanwhile, Navy is chugging along at 4-1 and, oh yeah, they just beat Houston. After a win like that they’re happy to take on anyone who dares step foot in the Annapolis Thunderdome.

Illuminati pick: Navy

Eastern Michigan Eagles @ #20 Western Michigan Broncos (-23)

It’s the big East-West matchup we’ve all been waiting for! Right? Crazy man P.J. Fleck has been busy rowing his boat all over the midwest and is finally taking a week to return home and welcome his neighbors from Ypsilanti. He’s going to challenge them to several party games and blow everyone else away in each of them, then coach a football game and probably do the same thing.

Illuminati pick: WMU

#17 Arkansas Razorbacks @ #21 Auburn Tigers (-10)

AL dot com calls this series an “overlooked rivalry”, which.... may actually be true, looking at the history. Their first matchup as conference foes was a tie, and it’s been 12-11 in favor of the Tigers ever since. It’s not even a super emotional rivalry, either. It’s an SEC game you can just enjoy without having to hatewatch. That feels weird to say.

Illuminati pick: Auburn

#23 Ole Miss Rebels @ #25 LSU Tigers (-6)

This year’s Magnolia Bowl is an odd reunion of sorts for interim LSU coach Ed Orgeron. He coached at Ole Miss back in the mid-00s and, well, it seems his experience there was less than memorable. Honestly, being a happier person in southern Louisiana than in anywhere Mississippi makes perfect sense to me, but there might be some internal bias there. And I’m sure Coach O is happy to have an opportunity to take down his former school, who is still ranked at 3-3. To him It Just Means More.

Illuminati pick: LSU

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ BYE

How is Ted Roof’s defense going to make us pull our hair out on a bye weekend? Hell if I know, but he’ll find a way and Mark Bradley will write 700 words in praise of him anyway.