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2019 Illuminati Picks, Week 1: a great reawakening



GREETINGS, EARTH CITIZENS. ONCE AGAIN THE THE TIME HAS COME FOR US TO GRACE YOUR WORLD WITH OUR PRESENCE. THIS SOLAR CYCLE, OUR TRIALS SHALL BE EVEN MORE RIGOROUS. THE WEAK WILLED AMONG YOU WILL — okay, I’ve been doing this for four years, and to be honest, I need a break. Being the Illuminati is hard! Controlling the universe, knowing the outcome of every game in this sport you hold so dear — it’s exhausting! Maybe I just want to be a normal Earth citizen, like the rest of you guys, just trying to predict how this crazy sport might bounce. So I’m just going to do that this year. Sound good?

For those of you new to this, the concept is simple: I provide a list of college football games, and you try to guess the winners. It used to be 10 games every week, but sometimes, that was a stretch, and might be even moreso this season with every one having an extra bye week. I will guarantee at least 5 every week, no fewer. You are picking against the spread, because otherwise some of these would be too easy. A team listed at -7 is favored by that many points, and thus must win by at least that many points to cover. A push is not considered a cover at some casinos, but for the sake of simplicity, it is here. Picks are due at noon Saturday, or at kickoff of any games that start before then. So for this week, if you submit at 11:00 am on Saturday, you’ll get credit for those games, but not the ones on Thursday and Friday. And no double submitting! Google keeps track of this so I don’t have to. Your first set of picks are the only ones that count, unless you can provide me a compelling reason they shouldn’t.

Now that the boring rules stuff is out of the way, here’s this week’s spread. Get to pickin’, ya filthy animals.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ #1 Clemson Tigers (-36.5)

Man, hasn’t this offseason been great for Georgia Tech? The new coach has so much energy. He’s built up the brand in a huge way. He’s leaning into the Atlanta thing. Waffle House! Everyone loves that. And it’s great that he’ll get a (relatively) easy start next week when the Yellow Jackets play South Florida. Don’t look at the big scary tiger two feet away, staring right at you, Geoff Collins. It can smell your fear.

Pick: Georgia Tech

#14 Utah Utes (-6) @ BYU Cougars

It’s the Holy War to end.... er, begin all wars? It’s week 1, y’all, these big rivalries are supposed to happen at the end of the season. The Utah schools tried to pretend they didn’t want to play each other anymore after 2013, but then they got paired together in the 2015 Las Vegas Bowl and have resumed playing annually like none of that ever happened. And unfortunately for BYU, what has happened is a lot more losing. Feels like starting their own TV network and going independent hasn’t worked out for the Cougars quite as well as they would have liked. (Take notes, Texas.) Kalani Sitake would probably like this win, both for BYU and his security as head coach there. But the odds of him getting it don’t feel that great.

Pick: Utah

Duke Blue Devils vs. #2 Alabama Crimson Tide (-34.5)

Ah yes, the traditional Alabama neutral site season opener. This year, they’re playing in the Chick-fil-A kickoff, again, against...... hmm, the sheet says Duke. That can’t be right.


Huh, Google says it’s Duke too. Well, sometimes Google is wrong, there’s a time for everything. Let’s check the official site....

Wow, okay. It really is Duke. Y’all remember the last time these two played? It looked like this. That’s in Durham, too. That stadium, by the way, is named after one Wallace Wade, who coached at Bama back in the 1920s, and won three national championships there. After the last one, he got bored and moved to Duke. Given the outcome of that 2010 game, I’m gonna venture to guess the Tide still weren’t over it, and still won’t be when the two meet Saturday.

Pick: Alabama

Boise State Broncos vs. Florida State Seminoles (-5)

You know, I’m sure this sounded like a great idea on paper. “Let’s bring a bunch of mountain people from Idaho and a bunch of people who like singing fake Native American war chants together..... in Jacksonville!” And good lord, these collective fanbases are going to drink Duval County dry of Fireball (the official chuggin’ drink of Duval County, Florida). But then, well.... things happened to FSU, and they’re not doing so hot right now. Boise have played more than their fair share of marquee kickoff games, and have been up to the challenge more often not (most hilariously in 2011 against Georgia). This one might have Nole fans checking to see if there’s any more Fireball left to chug.

Pick: Boise

#11 Oregon Ducks vs. #16 Auburn Tigers (-3.5)

The first thing you need to know about Oregon-Auburn is: Michael Dyer was down. The second thing you need to is: Michael Dyer was down. I had stopped being mad about this years ago, but this rematch of the 2011 BCS Championship game brought it alllllll back. The wrist being down counted in that year’s Fiesta Bowl, when it helped an SEC team (Arkansas; yes, the Razorbacks did in fact play in a major bowl game in our lifetimes), and here, it didn’t, when that helped an SEC team. I have a 500 page manifesto on how this is part of the greater conspiracy to prop up the SEC and — hey, where are you going?

Pick: Oregon

Houston Cougars @ #4 Oklahoma Sooners (-23)

I like to think that when Houston and OU met to kick off the season in 2016 the Sooners told the Cougars, “hey, yeah, we’ll let you into our conference..... if you can beat us!” And then Houston beat them, and OU’s been avoiding their calls ever since. But they forgot it was a two game series, so the Sooners finally picked up again and told the Cougars, “well, that one didn’t count because we weren’t ready! You have to beat us again, and then we’ll let you into the Big Twelve!” knowing full well Houston is not what it once was. That’s why you don’t trust people from Oklahoma; they’ll steal your land before you can claim it, and they’ll lie about letting you join their boys’ club.

Pick: Houston

(If you’re trying to do this on mobile, that tends to give people problems. Something about ads? Anyway, you can click here to view the form directly. Your entry will still count, I promise.)