Our esteemed site editor Tom had an incredible stretch run to claim last year’s title with an overall record of 78-68 (53.42%). Andrew and I tied at 76-70 (52.05%). CDA was 74-71 (51.03%). The dearly departed Paul (69-69) and Stan (72-73) put in respectable performances. #FadeImport was out in full force as Import went 64-82 (43.84%). Overall, the staff went 509-503 (50.3%) which is really good for a bunch of guys not using fancy analytics algorithms while picking so many games. We would do a lot better if Import would pick literally the opposite of how he thinks he should.
Let’s go to the rules next, so you all understand how the contest works before I give some commentary on the picks before finally showing off the fancy little logo graphic to show pics. A tip of the hat to former AoG staffer VandyTigerPhD for the templates I use. He had manned the Pick’em before took over in 2018. I think it was 2018. Anyway, rules!
- 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 7 of the games between FBS teams are being picked.
- 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.
- 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.
Make sense? I hope so because it does not get much clearer. Interestingly, there are no clear favorites among the staff for Week 0. Zero games were picked unanimously. We did get to pick a lot of the same teams as last season’s Week 0. Hawaii, Nebraska, Illinois, UConn, UTEP, and New Mexico State all are repeats. It makes sense for Mountain West teams who regularly play at Hawaii to be used to scheduling Week 0 games, but none of those repeat appearances are due to playing at Hawaii in consecutive years. UConn was a 27.5 point underdog last year, too. Also, New Mexico State managed to be 9-point home underdogs back-to-back Week 0s.
The most common picks with 5 of 6 staffers on one team are Vanderbilt and Northwestern. Utah State, Charlotte, and UTEP got us to split 4 and 2. Wyoming-Illinois and Nevada-New Mexico State forced an even split.
My guess is Hawaii’s impressively nasty train wreck of an offseason and Scott Frost’s disturbing comments (and his 15-29 record at Nebraska) about practice referenced above are probably the reasons for those games swinging like they did. Personally, I had no intelligent thoughts about Wyoming-Illinois, so I went with the logic that Week 0 is normally sloppy enough to make double digit spreads safer for team given points. The same is true for UConn-Utah State. The Huskies were horrific last year though, so I understand why some took the Aggies and the points. Charlotte is getting the Will Healy hype bump along with some likely questions about FAU refocusing for a game. Does anyone know anything about UNT-UTEP? No? Okay. Me neither. Finally, I will let Bill Connelly from ESPN explain why I think Nevada (and Hawaii) are probably going to be terribad. Maybe I should have noticed Wyoming’s appearance...
Since 2014, only two teams have returned <30% of production.— Bill Connelly (@ESPN_BillC) August 21, 2022
2015 Kansas went from 3-9 and 102nd in SP+ to 0-12 and 123rd.
2017 Air Force went from 10-3 and 53rd to 5-7 and 88th.
Hawaii's at 27%, Nevada 22%. pic.twitter.com/GbwzvfUZIJ
|North Texas (Even)
New Mexico State