Welcome to the 2019-2020 football season! What does that mean? It's time for another football pool!

For those of you who haven't played before: it's really easy, there's a lot of luck involved, and you don't even need to know much about football. Just ask those who played last year!

How long does the season last?

The season lasts 17 calendar weeks, with an additional "Bowl Week", for a total of 18 weekly competitions. It starts with the first full weekend slate of college and NFL games on Thursday, September 5 (Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears) and goes through the end of the NFL regular season on Sunday, December 29.
For those keeping track, the college games mostly run until November 30, with a few straggling championship and rivalry games going into December. This will give a slate of mostly (or all) pro games on the weekends following November 30. The "Bowl Week" is a separate set of picks that will take place before the first bowl game on December 20 (subject to change).

How do I make my picks?

Each player selects a team in any 10 games (college or pro) that they wish.

Each player must also select a winner for the tiebreaker game and guess the total points the two teams will score. This will be used in case of a tie, described below.

All picks must be submitted before the cutoff time of Friday 5:00pm PST.

Over the past few years, more and more games have been schedule for Thursdays, Wednesdays, and even Tuesdays. Players have the option of selecting individual games prior to their start time if they wish to make their picks a few at a time until the final cutoff described above. Once a pick is submitted, it may not be changed. Additional picks may be made at any time, and a player may make all 10 picks plus the tiebreaker selection at any time before the games have begun (and prior to the final cutoff time).

In the case that a player does not make their picks, and does not send them to the account administrators in a timely fashion (to cover cases where the site is having problems, loads of work, etc.), the player will have a computer-generated random selection of teams made for them. However, a player who is randomized cannot win the week. In the case where such a player would otherwise win, the next highest finisher will be awarded the victory for the week, though the randomized player will keep their points as part of their cumulative score.

Rule change from 2002-2003: You may choose to be randomized during the normal picking time. The remainder of your picks on the pick sheet will be filled in for you, but you must submit those picks yourself on time. If you make your picks in this fashion, you are eligible to win the week.

The Bill-Sally Exception
Previous years had a rule which stated that players could not make game selections opposite from those of another player. However, logic dictates that it is just as difficult to correctly pick teams which will lose as it is to pick teams that will win. Therefore, the Bill-Sally Exception has been repealed. Players may, if they choose, collaborate with each other before submitting their picks into the system.
When do the spreads come out?

The current plan is for spreads to be made available on Tuesday afternoons. A reliable supplier of consistent spreads is being investigated at this time.

How do I win?

Points are given for picking teams which beat the spread, and taken away for selecting teams which fail to cover the spread.

  • Win: 2 points
  • Lose: -1 point
  • Tie (underdog chosen): 1 point
  • Tie (favorite chosen): 0 points
The maximum score for a regular (non-bowl) week is 20 points. The minimum score for a regular (non-bowl) week is -10 points.

If the team you pick is the favorite, that team must win the game by more points than indicated on the point spread for you to win.

If the team you pick is the underdog, that team must lose by fewer points than indicated on the point spread--or win the game!--for you to win.

Should two or more players end up with the same number of points from their 10 game selections, the following tiebreaker process is used:

  1. The player who correctly picked the winner of the tiebreaker game will be declared the winner. If two or more correctly picked the winner,
  2. The player whose point total is closest to the total combined score of the tiebreaker teams will be declared the winner. If two or more are equally close,
  3. The player who submitted their picks first will be declared the winner.

How is the bowl week different?

The bowl week is a week in which all games must be picked, not just 10 games of the player's choice. All games must be submitted at one time--there will not be the "Thursday" option as there is during the regular season. This gives players the chance to make a stunning comeback from unlucky circumstances earlier in the season--or to completely destroy their hopes and dreams for the remaining weeks! And keep in mind you may NOT be "randomized" for the bowl week--you MUST make your own picks!
This week is even more unpredictable this year, as there are 35 bowl games to be chosen!

How do I view my picks for the week?

The player selections for the week, including your own, will be visible as soon as you have selected all 10 picks for the week, plus the tiebreaker (or all the picks for the "Bowl Week"). If you have not yet made all of your selections, the current picks may be seen by selecting the "Pick Games" link.

How do I join?

The first step is to complete an on-line application. This will hold an account for you. The second step is to pay Todd (this year's treasurer) for the entire season up-front. It's $90 for 18 weeks of fun and excitement! Further instructions on how and where to send your $$ will be e-mailed to you when you register.
Please note that you cannot win a week if your payment has not been received by the closing time for picks--so please don't put yourself in that position!
When the site administrators have confirmed that your payment has been received and that you're ready to go, your account will be activated. We will also request (okay, require really) that you spend a few moments filling out some information (largely humorous) that will be placed in a profile page so all the players can get to know each other a little better.

What do the winners get?

Weekly winners receive a portion of the funds proportional to the number of players involved in the pool. That amount will be calculated and posted in the rules when we find out how many people are participating! It's roughly $4 per person participating, depending on how many people are playing and how that impacts the end-of-season percentages.
Each week, roughly $1 per player goes to the end-of-season pool. At season's end, the top three players will receive a payout from this account as follows:

  1. 1st place: 50% - 60% (TBD)
  2. 2nd place: 20% - 30% (TBD)
  3. 3rd place: 15% - 20% (TBD)
Depending upon the number of players, the exact amounts may be tweaked a bit to try and find the correct balance. Once we have the total number of players, we'll run the numbers and post the exact values here.

Does the weekly winner have any responsibilities?

The first responsibility of a weekly winner is to provide a pick of the week for next week's pool. This pick is to be e-mailed to the site administrators by Tuesday afternoon. This pick will be prominently displayed in several locations on the site, so everybody has a chance to see if you've still got the right stuff the following week.
The Pick of the Week (POW) is intended to be your "100% sure thing," that is the pick about which you feel the best. As such, you must select your own POW as one of your ten picks. If, for some reason, you should fail to pick your POW as one of your games, one of your winning games will be replaced by a loser--you will be penalized for not picking your POW. We're working on something that will allow the POW to be automatically selected for you so this never happens, but that hasn't happened yet.

Does the season winner have any responsibilities?

The season winner has historically been responsible for purchasing a kegger for the annual Super Bowl party (mark your calendars now for February 3rd!) However, we don't feel that will be happening this year, due to a number of factors:

  • We have lowered the percentage payout for the season winner
  • We are becoming more geographically dispersed
  • "We just don't drink like we used to"
Of course, if anybody feels compelled to buy beer for everyone, we won't complain. ;)