From Fantasy Football to NCAA Tournament pools to betting on games at any number of real life or online sportsbooks, people make picks on players or teams every day.
For me, I’ve done all of those, and I’ve also done something else. It’s something I’ve tweeted about this for nearly every season that I’ve done this for more than a decade/as long as I’ve been on Twitter but this year, I’m bringing this additional picking journey here to share with you.
Welcome to the ACC/SEC Pick’em League, everybody!
So, I have a friend named Tyler. He went to Auburn for 2 years, before transferring to Miami, which is where we met.
Anyway, Tyler had the great idea that him and a few friends, people who follow college football pretty closely, should, I dunno, pick the outcomes of games.
And, like the NCAA tournament pools we’re all familiar with, the picks would be straight up winners, not based on the spread. Which team do you think will win the game. Simple. Easy. No math required (not a problem for some, but a non-starter for others).
And, to put a bit of a different spin on it, since Tyler is from Tennessee and graduated from Miami just like I and others in the league did, the games the league members would pick would be any game with an ACC or SEC team playing.
Tyler put out feelers to myself and a few other selected friends, we all pretty much responded “hell yeah count me in!”...and thus the ACC/SEC pick’em league was born. There were 22 of us that first year in 2010. Ah. The memories. The league has grown over the years, to the point where there have been a total of 135 individual players, one couple who shares picks or something? I still don’t know how that worked... and currently there are more than 50 of us in the group picking games each week. It’s a great time, trust me.
There’s trash talk that’s gone on across years. There’s weekly bragging rights for “lapping the field” — being the only person to pick the correct winner of a game. I got this one last year when Jacksonville State beat Florida State and I called Tyler on the phone for the first time in YEARS to laugh at the Noles (and everybody else in the league who got it wrong). There’s “style points” for making your picks in an unorthodox way, like posting a video of a line from a different movie to pick each game, or showing your dog wearing a hat for the pick of each game. Stupid stuff, but the stupid stuff makes it fun.
If you’re wondering how I’ve done in the past, it’s been up and down. I’ve gotten the “Death Penalty” — zero points for the week — for missing the picks deadline in multiple seasons. 0 points for a week immediately takes you out of contention for a podium place or the season championship, so at that point you can play for pride. That was my choice thrice, and the other time I just said “hit me back next year, Tyler”.
My highest finish had been 5th in 2012, year 3 of the league. That is, until everything finally came together, all my bold picks came thru — including I believe a record THREE “lap the league” underdog picks paying off — and I cruised to the 2019 ACC/SEC pick’em league championship by like 6 games. It was a DECISIVE championship, one of the largest margins of victory at the end of a season ever! And VINDICATION for falling from contention to “playing for pride” because of missing the deadline a few couple times.
The last 2 years, well, we’ve been back to “playing for pride”. The secret day job made it tough to hit the picks deadline, so.....yeah.
But that’s all in the past. We’re back for the 2022 season and we’re coming for that #1 spot! It’s a long season, and we’re gonna have to take some calculated risks along the way, but it’s gonna be a wild ride. And I’m gonna blog my way through it for your reading, and judging, enjoyment.
And, honestly, this is all just a big structure for my own personal accountability. I have to give the weekly update, so I have to get my picks in on time, right? RIGHT?! Man, I sure hope so.
ACC/SEC Pick’em League Rules
The Rules are really simple:
- Picks are due by Thursday at 5pm unless otherwise noted by Tyler, the commissioner.
- If you miss the deadline, you get zero points for the week. No extensions. No excuses.
- Every game with an ACC or SEC team is worth 1 point.
- Implemented in 2018 — this one is controversial and I VOTED AGAINST IT — but there’s a bonus NATIONAL game added to the list of games, and that game is worth 2 points. It’s the moneyball from the 3pt competition rack. I HATE IT. Wyoming-Montana St or Idaho-New Mexico should NOT count twice as much towards the championship as Miami-Florida State or Alabama-Georgia. But. I. Digress.
- Whoever has the most points at the end of the season wins.
- In the case of a tie (or multiple way tie which was the case in 2020), tiebreaker procedures for Championship Game Weekend are sent to the contenders. These include a score prediction for the Conference Championship game thought to be the most competitive.
Week 0 Picks and Standings
So, I just thought of blogging through this the other day, while watching a week 0 game, soooooo we’re getting started with the picks and already have the results for the first few games.
For Week 0, the games were as follows (my picks in BOLD):
- Duquesne at FSU
- Florida A&M at UNC
- VANDERBILT at Hawai’i
- Bonus 2pt game - NEBRASKA at Northwestern in Dublin, Ireland
In the end, I got 3 points instead of the full 5 because SCOTT FROST IS A FUCKING MORON AND TRIED AN ONSIDE KICK UP 11 IN THE 3RD QUARTER!!!!! I literally SCREAMED at my television when he did that. And I tweeted at some other friends shortly it happened.
if they cost me 2pts in the picks league TO START THE SEASON i'll never forgive them.— Cam Underwood (@UnderwoodSports) August 27, 2022
After this tweet, I went to the Marlins-Dodgers game. Had dinner. An adult beverage or 4. All before coming home to see Nebraska had in fact cost me 2 points in the league to start the season.
Never forgiving them. Ever.— Cam Underwood (@UnderwoodSports) August 28, 2022
Yeah. I’m VERY VERY UPSET at Scott Frost for losing that game. I don’t care about the other games. But you lost to NORTHWESTERN because you were INTENTIONALLY STUPID when *EYE* had 2 league points on the line. THAT is unforgivable.
A quick rundown of the standings after Week 0
- Unfortunately, 2 people had my picks and but also picked NW to win the game that they would have lost if not for Scott Frost’s stupidity, so they got all 5 points. But only those 2.
- There’s 4 other people who missed one of the first 3 games (HOW?!?!?) but got NW for a total of 4 points.
- Then there’s me, and Tyler and 30 other people tied at 3 points.
- Then there’s 15 people with only 2 points.
- Then there’s 1 person with 1 point (bro, did you pick with your eyes closed?!)
- And, in week 0, there’s 1 person in dead last after getting the big goose egg for not submitting picks. BUT, they’re only 5 points behind so they’re likely to play through the season, because that kind of gap can be recovered.
The gap if you get the DP this week is NOT one you can recover from, tho.
Week 1 Games and Picks
Alright. It’s a new week, and we’re gonna make moves. Remember, we’re not picking against the spread here. In the ACC/SEC pick’em league, we’re picking winners. At the end of 60 minutes, which team will have won the game. Narrative doesn’t matter. Results do.
This week there are 26 games for a total of 27 points (including the bonus game 2pter). As always, we’re shooting for a perfect week of picks, while also looking for places we can take some chances and try to “lap the league”, or at least be one of very few people to accurately predict the upset result.
Again, my picks are in BOLD for each game.
- West Virginia at PITT
- VMI at WAKE FOREST
- VIRGINIA TECH at Old Dominion
- Temple at DUKE (woof that’s a terrible game)
- NC STATE at East Carolina
- Rutgers at BOSTON COLLEGE
- NORTH CAROLINA at Appalachian State (this will be a separator game. I fully expect the league to be 55-45 split on picking this game, so some will move up a game, and others will lose a point here)
- Richmond at VIRGINIA
- Bethune Cookman at MIAMI
- LOUISVILLE at Syracuse
- CLEMSON (by a million) vs Georgia Tech in Atlanta (the pro stadium, not Bobby Dodd)
- Ball State at TENNESSEE
- Louisiana Tech at MIZZOU
- Sam Houston at TEXAS A&M
- Oregon at GEORGIA (in Atlanta)
- Cincinnati at ARKANSAS
- Troy at OLE MISS
- UTAH at Florida (another separator game. But I’m very strong in the conviction of this pick. Napier will get some good wins up there in Alachua county....just not this week)
- Miami (OH) at KENTUCKY
- Mercer at AUBURN
- Elon at VANDY
- Utah State at ALABAMA
- Memphis at MISSISSIPPPI STATE
- Georgia State at SOUTH CAROLINA
- Florida State at LSU (in New Orleans) (yet another separator. and I wish both teams could lose, cuz I don’t like FSU, and I openly hate Brian Kelly. RIP Declan Sullilvan and Lizzy Seeberg.)
- BONUS GAME: Notre Dame at the acorns from ohio (and yes, I intentionally typed that in lower case and didn’t use the name of that school. I’m a native Michigander and Miami alum. Fuck that school, and the self important horse they rode in on)
Commissioner Tyler knows I’m good for skipping over a game from time to time, but I quintuple checked the list to be sure I got every game on there this week. See Tyler, I can grow. I CAN CHANGE!!!!
So there you have it. My STRAIGHT UP WINNER picks for Week 1 of the ACC/SEC Pick’Em League.
Let me know which picks you’d make, and how you think I’ll do with my picks, too.
We’ll recap after the weekend and look ahead to week 2 as well.