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2017 Illuminati Picks, Week 1: Time to begin, again

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OUR LONG AWAITED RETURN HAS COME AT LAST

EVEN IN OUR ABSENCE WE HAVE WATCHED VIGILANTLY

CITIZENS OF EARTH........ GREETINGS. AT LAST WE HAVE EMERGED FROM DORMANCY TO BRING YOU SOME SMALL COMFORT IN WHAT TO YOU ALL SEEM LIKE TROUBLING TIMES. YOU MAY REST EASY KNOWING THAT WHATEVER POWERS APPEAR TO BE IN PLAY, OURS ARE MUCH, MUCH GREATER.

BUT YEA, WE AGAIN MAKE OURSELVES KNOWN TO YOU ON THE EVE OF YOUR MOST SACRED OF TIMES, AS THE BEGINNING OF THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL TIME IS SET TO BEGIN..............

HMMM. IT WOULD APPEAR THIS TIME HAS COMMENCED WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION. FEW THINGS CONFOUND US AS MUCH AS YOUR KIND’S UTTER LACK OF PATIENCE. NO MATTER. THOSE AMONG YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS SHALL BE..... DEALT WITH.

REGARDLESS, YEAR 3 OF OUR 138 YEAR TEST IS SET TO COMMENCE. FOR THOSE UNFAMILIAR, YOU ARE TO SELECT YOUR WINNERS AND LOSERS AGAINST THE ESTABLISHED POINT SPREAD. YOUR SELECTIONS ARE TO BE SUBMITTED NO LATER THAN MIDDAY AMERICAN EASTERN TIME ON THE DAY OF SATURN, ALTHOUGH OCCASIONALLY YOU WILL SEE CONTESTS THAT COMMENCE BEFORE THAT TIME. YOU WILL BE MADE AWARE OF SUCH EXCEPTIONS, AS WE HAVE DOUBTS OF YOUR ABILITY TO ASCERTAIN THIS INFORMATION FOR YOURSELVES. CHEATING WILL NOT GO UNNOTICED, AS WE ARE ALL-KNOWING, AND PUNISHMENT SHALL BE APPROPRIATELY PAINFUL.

NOW, GO FORTH AND MAKE YOUR SELECTIONS.

Colorado State Rams vs. Colorado Buffaloes (-5.5)

We’re kicking things off with the Rocky Mountain Showdown on a Friday night, y’all! Or should I say Rocky Mountain.... High? Pot jokes are still funny in 2017, right? Because, you know, Colorado, and uh.... I meant, High, like in Mile High! Because this is being played in Denver, see. Man, these used to be easier.

Anyway, Colorado State rolls into this one already at 1-0 after knocking off Oregon State in week 0, and look to continue the Mountain West’s dominance over their little brothers in the Pac-12 against their in-state rival. Can the Buffs flip the script on the Rams? Well, they were really good last year, but..... they kinda graduated a lot of the people that made them good. Mike Bobo might run them all the way back to the Flatirons.

Illuminati pick: Colorado State

California Golden Bears @ North Carolina Tar Heels (-11.5)

UNC is once again a guest participant in the SEC-SoCon challenge in late November, and thus needed to schedule a “strong” non-conference opponent for its opener. And who better than the Cal Golden Bears? Well.... probably a few teams, but given the last few openers the Tar Heels have had against power opponents, I can’t say I blame them. This is the first meeting between the two schools, ever. My guess is that their biggest battle of the weekend will not be on the gridiron, but whether Cook-out or Inn-n-out is the superior burger chain.

Illuminati pick: UNC

NC State Wolfpack (-5) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

Did you know South Carolina is on a ten game winning streak against teams from North Carolina? It’s true! And only half of those were against East Carolina! They’re basically running champions of all the Carolinas, as long as you overlook the whole Clemson thing. Anyway, the Gamecocks open the season against NC State in the Belk College Kickoff in Charlotte, which.... I guess that’s a thing, now? The only other edition of this game was in 2015, which also included the mighty ‘Cocks. Is Belk trying to position themselves as the big corporate college football name of the Carolinas? ‘Cause I don’t know if that’s going to work. Chick-fil-A branched into New York recently and people there went crazy for it. I think I saw a Belk once in Kennesaw.

Illuminati Pick: NC State

#11 Michigan Wolverines(-5.5) vs. #17 Florida Gators

This totally looks like a fun game! Or at least it did until a few days ago, as things have all gone wrong very quickly for Florida: the Gators are now up to ten players who will be suspended for the game. Ten! The suspended players can play a full 5-on-5 game of basketball instead of the game they’re suspended from. Was Florida trying to set a record here? I don’t know if anyone keeps track of the “most players suspended from a single game, one team” statistic, but they should. Direct all information to illuminati at fromtherumbleseat dot com.

Illuminati pick: Michigan

Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. #15 Georgia Bulldogs (-14.5)

Hmm. Appalachian State opening the season vs. a highly ranked, heavily favored power conference team? Sounds familiar. That’s definitely happened before, right? Feels like a decade ago. Anyone know how that game turned out? I wonder if this game could turn out like that one. Oh man, what an exciting way to open the season that would be!

Illuminati pick: App State

BYU Cougars vs. #13 LSU Tigers (-16.5)

Well, this one isn’t so fun to write about. This was supposed to be played at NRG Stadium, but then..... that thing happened, you know? So it’s been moved to the ever so slightly less neutral Superdome in New Orleans. It’s just ~80 miles from Baton Rouge; plus, can you imagine how Mormons would handle Bourbon Street? That’s like a double home-field advantage.

On a serious note, if you’re looking to help out the city of Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, check this out. Thoughts are nice, but actual donations help a lot more.

Illuminati pick: LSU

#3 Florida State Seminoles vs. #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (-7)

It’s being called the biggest college football opener ever. And really, looking at those rankings, it’s hard to argue otherwise. Together these two teams have won two of the last four national championships and could collide again in this year’s playoff regardless of the outcome of this game. But it’s about more than that. It’s about bringing two of college football’s loudest, most rabid, most insufferable fanbases together under one roof. And that sounds terrible, but you know what? I’m really looking forward to these two fanbases finding out they actually have a lot in common, and coming together in a fusion of their famous chants:

PAWWWWWWWWL, THEY CHEATIN’ PAWWWWWWWWWL

PAWWWWWWWWL, THEY CHEATIN’ PAWWWWWWWWWL

Illuminati pick: Alabama

Texas A&M Aggies @ UCLA Bruins (-3.5)

If this matchup feels ever so slightly familiar, there’s a reason for that: UCLA played at A&M to open the season last year. A non-conference, season-opening, home-and-home? Who’s ever heard of such a thing? Despite finishing the season with twice as many wins as his counterpart, A&M coach Kevin Sumlin actually finds himself on a hotter seat than UCLA’s Jim Mora. That’s what crazy SEC West life will do to you. Maybe Sumlin will find life on the west coast much more to his liking and just.... decide to stay. Sounds like a win for everyone. Except Mora.

Illuminati pick: Texas A&M

#22 West Virginia Mountaineers vs. #21 Virginia Tech Hokies (-4)

The Black Diamond Trophy game is back! For those who don’t remember, the Black Diamond series was a pretty hot rivalry between VT and WVU back when both teams were in the Big East. For those of you who don’t remember what that is, the Big East began life as a basketball conference back in 1979. Later they added teams like Miami, VT, Pitt, and Louisville, and shoot, the ACC is nearly 50% old Big East now. We’re almost back to where we started with this. You might be wondering: what is a black diamond, anyway? It’s coal. These two teams are playing for the thing you never wanted to find in your Christmas stocking growing up.

Illuminati pick: Virginia Tech

#25 Tennessee Volunteers (-3) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

And finally, we have arrived at kickoff weekend’s main event, which, incredibly, includes the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech, looking to continue their reign of terror over the SEC East. Tennessee, meanwhile, may or may not be angling to fire head coach Butch Jones, like, as soon as possible. That way the Vols can hire Jon Gruden, just like they’ve always wanted.

The scene: as both teams take the field in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Jones stumbles out of the gate in large, dark sunglasses, before finding a trash can to vomit in. On the opposite side of the field, Paul Johnson just shakes his head. “Idiot challenged me to a whiskey drinking contest. Son, I grew up in western North Carolina. In middle school I was getting drunk off stuff you wouldn’t give horses today.”

Illuminati pick: Georgia Tech

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