It’s always fun when unanimous picks go wrong, especially when those are of a heavy favorite. That was the case for the College GameDay picks of the Duke Blue Devils–Northwestern Wildcats game Saturday, a game where Northwestern was favored by 10. And new GameDay addition Pat McAfee seemed to realize the disaster potential here after all six picks (from McAfee, fellow regular ESPN GameDay analysts Desmond Howard, Lee Corso, and Kirk Herbstreit, and Top Gun: Maverick actor Glen Powell, the day’s guest picker) were in, seemingly saying ‘Lot of Ns’ (it’s hard to make out exactly what he says, as he’s talking under commentary from host Rece Davis, who’s delivering a throw to commercial) and even giving a bit of a facepalm:
Here's how College GameDay unanimously picked Northwestern. pic.twitter.com/eLePXNYLAW
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) September 10, 2022
And McAfee‘s reaction got noticed well before the game started:
The immediate regret of Pat McAfee after realizing what they just did here was amazing. pic.twitter.com/kwagVgbSmf
— Sickos Committee (@SickosCommittee) September 10, 2022
This was far from the only unanimous pick of the day, of course. The start of that clip even shows that the whole panel picked the Arkansas Razorbacks against the South Carolina Gamecocks, and Arkansas was only an 8.5 point favorite there. But Arkansas won that game 44-30, handily even covering the spread. Meanwhile, Duke beat Northwestern 31-23, so that led to some attention for the GameDay pick gone wrong.
By the way. Everyone on College Gameday picked Northwestern. Just sayin.
— Sidelines – Duke (@SSN_Duke) September 10, 2022
Lol everyone picked Northwestern on gameday. https://t.co/Hv9brtvxla
— Ryan Ritter (Gamin’ 4 Aven) (@ndtex) September 10, 2022
Hindsight is 20/20, of course, and it’s not like these predictions were wild in reference to the line. It wasn’t just the GameDay panelists; a whole lot of books figured they’d have to give Duke 10 points on the road to equalize the action. But there were potential factors here to raise some skepticism about how strongly Northwestern should have been favored. Yes, as several of the GameDay panelists noted, the Wildcats got that high-profile season-opening win in Dublin (as a 12-point underdog, no less), but that was against a Cornhuskers’ team that went 3-9 the previous year, and was only by three points. And while Duke went 3-9 last year as well, so did Northwestern. So there were a lot of questions about the Wildcats as a 10-point favorite, even at home.
As discussed before with these posts, the key to avoiding memeage for unanimous picks is Jason Kirk’s strategy of having one person who goes against the consensus no matter what it is. Until networks get to that point, we’re going to continue to see these. And this one was particularly funny considering that McAfee seemed to recognize the disaster potential long before the game kicked off.