GREETINGS, EARTH CITIZENS. YOU ALL ARE DOUBTLESSLY STILL ATTEMPTING TO PROCESS THE FOOTBALL EVENTS THAT OCCURRED THIS PAST WEEKEND WITH YOUR FEEBLE HUMAN BRAINS. FOR WHILE TO YOU THEY SEEMED LIKE CHAOS, TO US THEY WERE BUT TINY STEPS FORWARD TO ACHIEVING OUR ULTIMATE GOALS. TO US NOTHING IS RANDOM OR CHAOTIC; EVERYTHING HAS ITS PURPOSE AND IS WORKING AS DESIGNED. WE WOULD LIKE TO SAY THIS WILL ONE DAY MAKE SENSE TO ALL OF YOU, BUT WE KNOW NONE OF YOU WILL REACH THE NECESSARY STATE OF ENLIGHTENMENT TO COMPREHEND IT. CONTINUE TO BE ASSURED ALL OF THIS IS CONTRIBUTING TO A PERFECT UNIVERSE, CONTROLLED BY US.
Virginia Cavaliers @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-11)
If your first reaction upon seeing Georgia Tech is a double digit favorite over a Virginia team isn’t going full-Admiral Ackbar “IT’S A TRAP!” I don’t know what to tell you. After beating Virginia Tech with backups at quarterback, center, and B-back, anything is possible for Georgia Tech, including having the same thing happen to them with former starter-turned-backup-turned-starter-again Matt Johns back under center. None of this even matters, anyway; the Cavs are now coached by one Bronco Mendenhall, which means this game will be decided by a no holds barred fistfight between him and Paul Johnson airing live on pay-per-view.
Illuminati pick: Virginia
#11 Oklahoma State Cowboys @ TCU Horned Frogs (-5)
Hey, don’t look now, but at 6-1 in conference play, Oklahoma State is totally in contention for the Big 12 title. And might be for the playoff, too, if it hadn’t been for an early season loss to Central Michigan that should have been a win. Of course, none of that matters at all if they can’t get past TCU, who were last seen giving Baylor the beating of their lives. Baylor, the one blemish on the Cowboys’ schedule. Should be interesting!
Illuminati pick: Oklahoma State
#23 Florida Gators @ #16 LSU Tigers (-14)
In the middle of the boring, pre-Thanksgiving slog that is the SEC-SoCon Challenge, we have an SEC game of actual* significance! Sure, that’s only because LSU and Florida’s previously scheduled game got moved because of a hurricane and they both had to cancel their week 12 FCS games to make this happen, but still. In a week where six SEC teams are playing FCS or lower P5 teams, there’s actually a game worth watching. And in a league where no team other than Alabama has more than seven wins, that’s pretty impressive.
*Maybe Florida will get to be destroyed by Alabama in the SEC championship! Or maybe it’ll be someone else!
Illuminati pick: LSU
Oregon Ducks @ #12 Utah Utes (-14)
Oregon has had a pretty rough 2016, and they can probably trace all their troubles back to their last meeting with Utah, when the Utes firebombed them to the tune of 62-20. In Eugene. Utah has had some stumbles this year to Washington (respectable) and Cal (less so), but Oregon..... it’s been ugly. Uglier than their early 2000s uniforms. Phil Knight doesn’t have a checkbook big enough to write away a 3-7 season that probably isn’t getting better Saturday.
Illuminati pick: Utah
Georgia Southern Eagles (-3) @ Georgia State Panthers
We’re in year 3 of this intrastate showdown and, uh, yeah, I think you could say this is a real rivalry now. I’m sure Georgia Southern, with their six FCS championships and devoted fanbase, thought football infant Georgia State and their “State not Southern” rallying cry were cute - right up until the Panthers rolled into Statesboro the first time and whipped the Eagles 34-7. Now it ain’t cute. Now it’s Modern Day Hate.
Illuminati pick: Southern, not State
Buffalo Bulls @ #21 Western Michigan Broncos (-35)
It’s been a magical season for Western Michigan, culminating in them getting a visit from College Gameday! In a week when they’re hosting 2-8 Buffalo, but that’s what happens when you schedule them during SEC-SoCon challenge week, Broncos. P.J. Fleck is a crazy man who showed up in Kalamazoo one day yelling “ROW THE BOAT” at the football team over and over again until the administration decided to hire him as the head coach. Since then, he’s been rowing that boat everywhere: up rivers, across lakes, over mountains, all the way to the Bahama, and many other places. Now he’s rowing toward a New Year’s Six bowl, and he’s already more than three quarters of the way up the waterfall.
Illuminati pick: Buffalo
#22 Washington State Cougars @ #10 Colorado Buffaloes (-5)
Washington State-Colorado is one of the most important Pac-12 games of the year, a statement I’m sure you all totally expected to hear back in August. But it’s true: once again, the two Pac-12 division leaders will duke it out in the afternoon to establish divisional supremacy, albiet with somewhat lessened stakes than the last one: Wazzu’s path to the Pac-12 championship is going to go through the Apple Cup no matter what, and the worst case for Colorado is they lose and fall into a 3-way tie in the Pac-12 South with USC (who they lost to) and Utah (who they play next week). So just enjoy this game for the unexpected clash of titans it is.
Illuminati pick: Wazzu
#24 Stanford Cardinal (-11) @ California Golden Bears
It’s been 34 years since the most famous edition of the Big Game - you know the one, with the kickoff return and the Stanford Band - and at this point, I have to wonder: what the hell was the Stanford Band doing out on the field to begin with? Was it some kind of tradition to immediately spill out once the clock hit all zeroes? Why couldn’t they have waited to hear a whistle? Why did the band move so quickly? Seriously: not seven seconds after the first contested lateral (of two), which occurs at midfield, the band comes into frame at the twenty. I’m not saying the band being out on the field definitely helped Cal score that touchdown, but they definitely could have avoided the humiliation of that poor trombone player had they just been paying more attention.
Illuminati pick: Stanford
#9 Oklahoma Sooners (-3) @ #14 West Virginia Mountaineers
OU-WVU is kind of a sneaky important game in the Big 12 title picture, because it really could all come down to this game between the Sooners, who opened the season with a 10 point loss to Houston, and the Mountaineers, who are West Virginia. An OU win and rival Oklahoma State is all that stands between them and the trophy, assuming the Cowboys don’t blow it against TCU. A WVU win puts them in control with just Iowa State and Baylor remaining - which, this being the Big 12, they’ll find a way to mess that up.
Illuminati pick: OU
#13 USC Trojans (-14) @ UCLA Bruins
I can’t imagine how two schools can be so close together (14 miles, give or take), hate each other so much, and not have leveled southern California at this point. This year’s Battle of Los Angeles is in the Rose Bowl, where the USC band won’t be doing a thing they usually do because UCLA doesn’t much care for it. That worked out alright the last two times for the Bruins, but with quarterback Josh Rosen long gone due to injury and Clay Helton - who is already 1-0 vs. UCLA - itching to win his debut in the Rose Bowl, things might turn out differently this time.
Illuminati pick: UCLA