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Illuminati Picks, Week 9: Jacksonville’s siren song calls once again




Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ Virginia Tech Hokies (-3)

For seemingly the millionth time, the two Techs meet on a weekday. Okay, it’s actually only the eighth, but given this is just the sixteenth Techmo Bowl ever, it seems like it’s a bit too often. By the way, did you know Justin Fuente is the only coach to lose to Georgia Tech each of the past two years? It’s true! Sure, the Hokies have lost basically their entire starting defense, and their starting quarterback, but they’re still pretty good, which should terrify you. Georgia Tech? .....I’ll get back to you.

Illuminati pick: Virginia Tech

#2 Clemson Tigers (-17) @ Florida State Seminoles

Time was, the Game Formerly Known as the Bowden Bowl was the premier game of the ACC Atlantic. The winner has represented the Atlantic in the ACC championship every year since 2009, after all. Can you believe that was all of..... [checks notes] two years ago? Jimbo Fisher got beat so bad his last visit to Clemson he left the conference entirely for a new coaching job. (He’ll be back next year.) The Tigers are barreling their way toward their fourth straight playoff appearance, while the Seminoles...

[leaves to check the current status of Nole message boards]

[returns, clothes charred, hair still on fire]

....yeah, you get the idea.

Illuminati pick: Clemson

#9 Florida Gators vs. #7 Georgia Bulldogs (-6.5)

If you look closely on the field at Everbank TIAA Bank, you can still see the impact crater from Jim McElwain’s career. It’s crazy to think that was Georgia’s biggest win in the series since 1982, and just their seventh since before 1990. Some might say numbers like that would qualify this series as “not a rivalry”, but certainly not I! Despite the Bulldogs’ setback in Baton Rouge a couple weeks ago, this edition of the World’s Largest Outdoor Bud Light Festival stands to be one of the biggest, thanks to Dan Mullen having the Gators ahead of schedule. But remember: this is Jacksonville, the Bermuda Triangle of football. An upset could happen, or the crowd could be terrorized by swamp monsters. Who knows!

Illuminati pick: Florida

#18 Iowa Hawkeyes @ #17 Penn State Nittany Lions (-6.5)

Some teams get lucky with your cross-division scheduling. Others have to play Clemson or Alabama every year, or, like Penn State, find themselves playing the two toughest teams in the opposite division. The Nittany Lions are getting a three week stretch that sees them play both Iowa and Wisconsin from the B1G East, which sandwiches a trip to the Big House. (Having Illinois on the schedule is supposed to even that out..... somehow.) If they can somehow get through all that, a New Year’s Six Bowl seems to be in their future. But here’s the thing: they ran a god dang zone read on 4th and the game against Ohio State and I’m still not over it.

Illuminati pick: Penn State

#14 Washington State Cougars @ #24 Stanford Cardinals (-3)

Now that Wazzu has hosted College GameDay and come away from it with a win over Oregon.... there really aren’t any rules left, are there? Stop renewing your car registration. Show up to work in shorts. Don’t look before crossing the street. Washington State’s a top 15 team now, and nothing matters. The Cougars get past Stanford, and what’s stopping them from making their first Pac-12 Championship? Washington? Wait, yeah, definitely Washington.

Illuminati pick: Wazzu

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