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Illuminati Picks, Week 12: The calm before the storm

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THE END DRAWS EVER NEARER

OUR MESSENGERS TAKE MANY FORMS

GREETINGS, EARTH CITIZENS. WITH SEVERAL PRETENDERS TO COLLEGE FOOTBALL SUPREMACY HAVING BEEN VANQUISHED IN THE PRECEDING FEW DAYS, HOPEFULLY IT HAS BECOME CLEAR TO SOME OF YOU WHY WE DEIGN TO OPERATE IN THE MANNER IN WHICH WE DO. AN ELEMENT OF UNCERTAINTY ALWAYS MAKES THINGS MORE..... INTERESTING.

BUT WE DIGRESS, FOR THE CLIMAX OF THIS FOOTBALL PERIOD RAPIDLY APPROACHES. BUT BEFORE THAT COMES THE CALM, AS SEVERAL COMBATANTS USE THIS WEEK TO PREPARE FOR THEIR UPCOMING TRIALS. BUT FOR US REST IS NOT A CONCEPT THAT IS RECOGNIZED, AND FOR YOU IT IS NOT ONE THAT IS EARNED. YOU WILL CONTINUE TO PARTICIPATE.

YOU WILL.

VIEW LAST WEEK’S RESULTS

VIEW SEASON STANDINGS

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-6.5) @ Duke Blue Devils

Every year the common refrain from Georgia Tech re: Duke is, “oh, it’s Duke, that should be an easy win,” and I think, when was the last time Duke really made it easy? It took Justin Thomas having the performance of his life just to not go winless in his career against the Blue Devils! That’s very real, and no amount of drinking will make it less real. Look, Georgia Tech might win comfortably here. But Duke will make the Yellow Jackets sweat it at some point. It might not be for the entire game, but it will happen, so just be ready for that.

Illuminati pick: Georgia Tech

#12 TCU Horned Frogs (-7) @ Texas Tech Red Raiders

TCU and Texas Tech are a storied rivalry - they go back to their days in the Southwest Conference before they were temporarily separated following its dissolution. Now that they’re back together, the rivalry is back on - and this year comes with a new addition: the reemergence of the Saddle Trophy! Initially presented in 1961, the two fought for the trophy for a decade before it was lost, never to be seen again..... They didn’t find it, they just made a new one. Winner has to provide their own horse for the saddle - having it be provided would be an NCAA violation.

Illuminati pick: TCU

Texas Longhorns @ West Virginia Mountaineers (-3.5)

Now that the Longhorns have finally put their Kansas demons to rest, it’s time for them to turn to something slightly more difficult and vastly more drunk on moonshine: the West Virginia Mountaineers! The ‘Eers are still looking at an outside shot at the Big 12 championship, while Texas is sitting a 5-5, which is exactly where they sat at this point last year. I’m sure that what they were expecting when they hired Tom Herman.

Illuminati pick: WVU

#24 Michigan Wolverines @ #5 Wisconsin Badgers (-7.5)

Everyone keeps wanting to talk about Ohio State this, Ohio State that when it comes to the Big Ten and are trying as hard as possible to ignore the 10-0 fifth ranked Badgers. Sure, most of their wins haven’t been great - a 17-9 squeaker over Purdue never looks good, and who cares how bad they beat Indiana - but there are still zero Ls, and the alternative here is someone who lost to Iowa, and lost extremely badly. Wisconsin beat Iowa handily. Just hand them the championship now.

Illuminati pick: Wisconsin

Navy Midshipmen @ #8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-18)

I probably don’t need to rehash the history between Navy and Notre Dame for y’all - they play every year because the Irish owe Navy big time, there was a 43-year streak involved - so instead I’ll talk about what’s up for grabs here: the Rip Miller Trophy, of which scant few photographs exist. It’s named after.... well, Edgar “Rip” Miller, one of Notre Dame’s “seven mules” who later coached at Navy. It’s also split into two halves, with each half belonging to and remaining with its respective university, seemingly defeating the whole purpose of having a trophy to begin with.

Oh, yeah. Last year, Notre Dame scored halfway through the fourth quarter to cut Navy’s lead to one point. They did not get the ball back.

Illuminati pick: Navy

Illinois Fighting Illini @ #9 Ohio State Buckeyes (-41)

Y’all remember last week when I talked about all of the Big Ten’s trophies, and specifically mentioned the Illibuck Trophy? That’s this game! Despite it’s portmanteau of a name, the trophy is not some unholy abomination of a hybrid between a buckeye nut and.... whatever an Illini is, but a wooden turtle - or rather, a series of them, as a new one is made for each decade. Why is it a turtle? Well, because back in 1925 live animals were apparently considered acceptable as sports trophies, and so an actual turtle was chosen, as turtles have long lives and the rivalry was expected to be similarly long-lived.

The turtle died only months later.

Illuminati pick: Illinois

Boston College Eagles (-21.5) vs. Connecticut Huskies

Boston College - UConn is a very important game, and we know this because only very important games are held on neutral sites, right? Especially on such hallowed grounds as Fenway Park. Some legendary names have walked on this field - Babe Ruth! Manny Ramirez! Terry Francona! - and now it’s Randy Edsall’s time to etch his name in history. Assuming he doesn’t run away terrified at the first sight of Wally the Green Monster, that is.

Illuminati pick: UConn

Florida International Golden Panthers @ Florida Atlantic Owls (-15)

AWW HELL YEAH IT’S TIME FOR THE SHULA BOWL Y’ALL. The Lane Train has been full steam ahead in Lane Kiffin’s first year at FAU, with the Owls sitting pretty at 6-0 in conference play and having all but secured a spot in the C-USA championship game. But those no good Golden Panthers from down the beach roll into Boca Raton Saturday hoping they can steal that spot for themselves. Now, I’ll be honest: I’ve probably watched zero minutes of C-USA football this season. But I can tell you FAU has low-key rolled through their conference schedule so far, and Devin Singletary has no qualms about running over you if he has to. So, good luck with that, FIU.

Illuminati pick: FAU

UCLA Bruins @ #11 USC Trojans (-16)

Rivalry week is still another week away, but the Pac-12 California schools are getting theirs out of the way a week early this year, for some reason. (Notre Dame has something to do with this. Seriously. Can’t y’all play Stanford earlier in the year?) That means it’s time for the Battle of Los Angeles, where the stakes are..... pretty much nonexistent this year, as USC already locked up the Pac-12 South and UCLA kinda sucks. The REAL competition here will be which quarterback NFL scouts think is dreamier. I’ve got Josh Rosen over Sam Darnold, personally.

Illuminati pick: USC

California Golden Bears @ #22 Stanford Cardinal (-16)

Meanwhile, at the exact same time USC-UCLA is happening, the Big Game will be going on just a few (hundred) miles up the road. For those of you suffering from East Coast Bias and haven’t paid much attention to the Golden Bears, their three wins over FBS teams came against UNC, Ole Miss, and..... a 37-3 victory over a then top-ten Wazzu, in what might be the most #Pac12afterdark game ever. Does this mean much for Cal-Stanford? The Big Game set the modern-day standard for college football weirdness, so I’m gonna go with “nah”.

Illuminati pick: Cal

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