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2016 Illuminati Picks, Week 1: We Usher in a New Era

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BEHOLD FOR WE HAVE RETURNED

WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN WATCHING

GREETINGS, EARTH CITIZENS.

AT LONG LAST WE HAVE EMERGED FROM OUR SANCTUM TO BRING TO YOU THAT WHICH YOU HOLD MOST DEAR: THE GIFT OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL. FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVED THE CROWNING OF PRAETOR SABAN AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS YEAR WAS THE LAST YOU HAD SEEN OF OUR INFLUENCE, LET US UNBURDEN YOU FROM SUCH THOUGHTS. LAST YEAR WAS MERELY THE FIRST OF OUR 138 YEAR EXPERIMENT, AND EACH YEAR WE TIGHTEN OUR GRIP ON THIS PLANET AND COME CLOSER TO OUR ULTIMATE GOAL OF CONQUERING THE COSMOS.

BUT YOU SHOULD NOT WORRY ABOUT SUCH THINGS.

YOU ARE NOW BEING MADE AWARE THE PARAMETERS OF OUR EXPERIMENT HAVE BEEN MODIFIED FROM LAST YEAR’S: YOU ARE NOW MERELY PICKING FOR OR AGAINST A “POINT SPREAD”, AS LAST YEAR’S RESULTS INDICATED INCLUDING THEM RESULTED IN FAR TOO MANY OPTIONS FOR YOUR FEEBLE HUMAN MINDS AND HAD A DELETERIOUS EFFECT ON THE END RESULT SET. THIS SHOULD PROVE TO PROVIDE A MORE INTERESTING CHALLENGE THAN SIMPLY PICKING WITHOUT SUCH CONSTRAINTS, OR “STRAIGHT UP”, AS YOUR SOCIETY WOULD SAY.

DO NOT FORCE US QUOTE YOUR INANE HUMAN IDIOMS AGAIN. THEY CAUSE US PHYSICAL PAIN.

DO ALSO KEEP IN MIND YOUR TIME TO CHOOSE IS FINITE. AS THE SLATE OF GAMES BEGINS AT NOON EASTERN AMERICAN EARTH TIME, ANY PICKS SUBMITTED THEREAFTER SHALL BE CONSIDERED NULL AND VOID. DO NOT THINK YOU CAN CHEAT US; WE ARE ALL KNOWING AND ALL SEEING, AND YOU SHALL BE PUNISHED IN WAYS IMAGINABLE ONLY TO US.

NOW, GO FORTH AND MAKE YOUR CHOICES.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-3) vs. Boston College Eagles (at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland)

As the Eagles and Yellow Jackets take the field, Boston College coach Steve Addazio slowly stumbles out, wearing large sunglasses and asking his players to keep the yelling down. Meanwhile, on the other sideline, Paul Johnson simply smiles to himself, muttering, “shouldn’t have challenged me to that whiskey shooting contest, Steve.”

This game kicks off at 12:30 local time, proof that even on another continent an ocean away, Georgia Tech will never, ever, ever escape a noon kick.

Illuminati pick: Georgia Tech

#3 Oklahoma Sooners (-10) vs. #15 Houston Cougars (at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX)

Heyyyy, it’s Big Game Bob, playing his rival’s little second cousin in an NFL stadium. Oh, sure, I know Houston won their conference and the Peach Bowl last year, and everyone wants to hire their coach but still, you can beat them, right? Because if you don’t beat Tom Herman now, how are you gonna do it anytime in the next decade after Texas hires him to replace Charlie Strong?

Oops, um, spoilers, I guess?

Illuminati pick: Houston

#16 UCLA Bruins @ Texas A&M Aggies (-3)

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen has stated he doesn’t believe Kyle Field - a stadium that seats over 100,000 people at maximum capacity - will be loud for the Bruins’ game against Texas A&M. What Rosen may not have realized was that each seat at the Hate Barn was specifically placed to honor a different Aggie tradition. Yep, each one. Rosen might think he can handle the crowd noise, but nothing can prepare you for the pressure of all that tradition.

Illuminati pick: UCLA

#5 LSU Tigers (-10) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI)

College football games played in NFL stadiums tend to be the worst thing about college football’s opening weekend (seriously, look - half of these picks are being played in NFL stadiums), but Lambeau Field gets a pass for being one of football’s most hallowed cathedrals, as opposed to, say, Jerry Jones’ billion dollar dome that’s totally not compensating for anything. Green Bay is the NFL’s college town - hours from civilization and with a stadium that could hold at least half the town’s population - so having a college football game played here makes perfect sense. Especially if the Wisconsin players get to execute the traditional Lambeau Leap after scoring - wait, what’s that?

DAMN YOU NCAA IS THERE NOTHING FUN YOU CAN’T RUIN

Illuminati pick: LSU

#18 Georgia Bulldogs (-3) vs. #22 UNC Tar Heels (at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta)

Unlike the last Chick-fil-a kickoff Georgia participated in, this edition thousands of bewildered Boise State fans to Atlanta the same weekend as DragonCon. There is the potential here of watching Georgia lose again to a different team in blue, spoiling Kirby Smart’s coaching debut and giving us yet another opportunity to hear despondent fans calling in to local radio blubbering about how Nick Chubb should have gotten the ball more, even though Georgia is starting a freshman quarterback and Chubb will likely get 40+ carries that evening.

One can only hope.

Illuminati pick: UNC

#20 USC Trojans vs. #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (-11) (at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX)

Dang, Alabama, didn’t you just play here last year? Twice? I know Jerry Jones is desperate to see actual championship caliber football in his very own Legion of Doom headquarters, but this is getting ridiculous. Dude might be a Razorback, but don’t think he’s above dumping everyone on the current Cowboys roster and paying y’all instead. He’ll pay better than anything you’ll get at Bama, too, cheatin’ or not.

Illuminati pick: Bama wins but USC covers PAWWWWWWWWWL THEY CHEATIN’ AGAIN

#2 Clemson Tigers (-8) @ Auburn Tigers

Alright, a season opening Tiger fight! Not only are these teams both Tigers, they also both suffered soul-crushing losses to Alabama last year! Some might tell you there is some intrigue to this game, as former Tigers (of Clemson) DC Kevin Steele has literally changed his stripes and now does the same for the Tigers (of Auburn). Given that Steele is responsible for this, the only real point of intrigue is how long Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson plays and how many touchdowns he scores before getting a rest.

Illuminati pick: Clemson

Arizona Wildcats (-2) vs. BYU Cougars (at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ)

Rather than playing this at their home field, the Wildcats are traveling two hours up the road to face the Cougars at University of Phoenix Stadium, which seats a whole 6,000 more people. BYU fans must have exhausted their ticket allotment. This game is the coaching debut for BYU’s Kalani Sitake, a man who looks like he could toss Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez around a few times in a wrestling ring.

Illuminati pick: Arizona

#10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-4) @ Texas Longhorns (Sunday, September 4)

In a season where you find yourself at a crossroads, like Charlie Strong has found himself, opening against the number ten team in the land is probably not the way you’d want to start things. Strong has to be wondering if Texas’ gaze is wandering toward Houston, with an eye on who they want for their next coach. Wait, I already spoiled this up above, didn’t I?

(By the way, if Texas wins and OU loses to Houston, go ahead and bet your house on the Sooners winning the Red River Shootout. Just trust me on this one.)

Illuminati pick: Notre Dame

#11 Ole Miss Rebels vs. #4 Florida State Seminoles (-5) (Monday, September 5 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando)

A low rumbling reverberating throughout the Internet is heard. The rumbling slowly gets louder.

“wwwwwwwwwwwwhhhhhhYYYYYYY AIN’T YOU TALKIN’ ‘BOUT THE NOLES??”

Um. Well, they play on Labor Day so I was just-

“WE’VE BEEN SKIMMING THIS ARTICLE FOR TWELVE SECONDS AND YOU HAVEN’T TALKED ABOUT THE NOLES ONCE”

Look, I’m trying to get through these in order and FSU-Ole Miss is the last game of the weekend-

“HOW CAN YOU PUT TOGETHER A WEEKLY LIST OF THE TOP PICKS AND NOT EVEN MENTION THE NOLES”

FINE. Look here, at the bottom. Noles vs. Ole Miss in the....

*looks at sheet*

Camping World Kickoff? Okay. Have fun with that.

“AHEM. Thank you.”

Illuminati pick: FSU