Greetings from the catbird seat, lovely readers.
I've waited a month to make my subtle yet direct rise to the top of the Daily Beacon Pick 'Em Pool and I'm pleased to report the weather is quite nice on top – a balmy 75 with a slight breeze and a cold beverage in hand, if you're curious.
But unlike sweet Melodi and eager Troy, I'm learning from their misfortune.
See, there's a stigma, a hex if you will, surrounding the idea of first place. Once the spotlight drops, it's easy to fold under the pressure.
But it's not happening this week. It can't. I have seniority, I'm handsome and I know my way around the college football sphere. That's basically the trifecta of succesful picking 'em.
We'll start from the cellar and build up. Our dear arts and culture assistant editor, Cortney Roark, has been the forgotten step-child of our Pick'Em, constantly the victim of trash talk and pick criticism.
That ends today.
She wised up, picking Tennessee to lose and picked each higher ranked team.
What does that mean? She's learning.
Although, her performance thus far begs for an "Oh, honey..." response, ala How I Met Your Mother.
David, my trusty sidekick on the UT Athletics beat, is lurking in the background, scrounging in the shadows of the standings. The optimist in me believes our sports editor will get it together, but the realist in me knows David doesn't care.
He's slightly more preoccupied with enhancing his Twitter follower-to-following ratio. Because, let's be honest, ratios are totally a thing (By the way, @DavidWCobb is the aforementioned Twitter handle, and it's not too late to give him a follow #ShoutOut).
If anyone gets a VFL award, it's Ken.
Our resident homer Vol fan has picked UT in almost every game, even the drubbings received from Oregon and Florida.
He even offered up some words of optimism this week.
"Tick tock, tick tock...the clock winds down for the pick 'ems clowns to finally get on board and support our Vols in the trenches," our Associate Dean of Students wrote in with his picks this week.
Sadly, nice guys and optimists finish last, or – in our case – fourth.
As for Melodi and Troy, instead of flaunting my boldness or touting my superiority, I'll just remind the readers that Mel and Troy are like two teddy bears.
So adorable, so precious and so beautifully un-threatening.
Melodi smiles a lot, wears trendy outfits and left last season's Florida-UT matchup at halftime. Cue an "Aww" from the audience.
Troy, on the other hand is trying (I mean really trying) to beat me, and it's darn cute.
Just remember, there's no shame in silver, guys.
Gage Arnold is a senior in journalism and electronic media. He doesn't really care about Pick 'Em but kind of does. You decide. If you'd like to track the lifestyle of a true winner, Gage can be followed on Twitter @GageArnold or reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.