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2021 Staff Pick’em Week 0

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There are 5 games involving FBS teams, so you know we have to make totally intelligent picks against the spread.

Cincinnati v UCLA
This is the face of a man who is 0-6 in nonconference games as the head coach of UCLA.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The writing staff for this lovely website (and former site editor Christian D’Andrea) are back for another season. Last season, we went a combined 351-385. A horrible season by yours truly prevented winning (2018) or sharing (2019) the title for a third straight season. Instead, Andrew stepped up from one half of the split in 2019 to win outright with a 65-59 record. He was only one game ahead of Import, who decided to play the long con to destroy those who bought into the #FadeImport phenomenon of 2019. Tom better improve his performance (53-71), or we might have to bring in someone who actually knows football to run the site.

Early season college football is always prime time for crapshoots. Do the favorites come out clicking and make a statement over an overmatched opponent? Or will there be some struggles on offense and/or defense with new players or schemes not quite at full power? Are the big underdogs chomping at the bit to pull an early upset with the spotlight on them?

We think the favorites will handle their business. Of the 30 total picks, 19 are for the favorites. The Hawaii-UCLA game is the only one where the majority took the underdog to cover. I did not know it until this morning watching GameDay, but Chip Kelly has not won a nonconference game as the head coach at UCLA. In fact, UCLA has not won a nonconference game since Week 2 of 2017 when they beat Hawaii 52-23. That win immediately followed the famous 34-point comeback over Texas A&M. The Bruins lost the next week at Memphis to start a nonconference losing streak that stands at 7.

With that said, let’s run down the rules for a refresher and get to the picks. As always, hat tip to estranged writer/poster VandyTigerPhD. Although that gesture may be insulting since my hat would have no chance of ever fitting properly over that small planet that sits upon his shoulders.

The Rules

  1. Normally, the picks are for all SEC games with one dealer’s choice where I get to choose another game to make us pick. With two new teams set to join in “2025” (Who wants to bet that timeline holds up?), Texas and Oklahoma will have all of their games picked, too. For Week 0, all five of the games with an FBS team involved are being picked.
  2. The picks will be made AGAINST THE SPREAD. Too many games are easy to pick heads up. Also, this will serve as a PSA for why you should not get into sports gambling, which is especially important with sports gambling being legal in Tennessee now.
  3. The lines will be taken from Oddshark’s consensus spread some time Monday, so they may not match what is listed at the time this article is published.

The Picks

GAME DotP Stan Tom VU04 CDA Import
Nebraska (-7)
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Illinois
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UConn (+27.5)
@
Fresno State
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Hawaii (+18)
@
UCLA
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UTEP (-9)
@
New Mexico State
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Southern Utah (+20.5)
@
San Jose State
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