Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bowl Season, Year 2!

Here we are, my friends, in year 2 of the Bowl Season Pool. The participation numbers have increased from 35 to 43, a stunning 22% growth rate in the span of a single year. If we were a business, we'd be talking about hiring new employees and going public.

A lot of old faces are back this year, and we welcome some new blood as well. Day 1 of Bowl Season is officially in the books, so let's take a look at the first standings of the year:

Now, in the grand tradition of Bowl Season, let's break out the features.

The Undefeated Club

This is a feature that's destined to last only a few days, but we'll ride with it while we can. The undefeated club will exist only as long as at least one contestant has picked each winner correctly. After Saturday's games, the membership of the undefeated club is as follows:

Mike Curry, Shane Ryan, Will Byrum, Greg Blanco, Alan Shaw, Dan Ryan, Sean Marshall, Richard Sarver, Brendan Mooney, Fred Cacchione, and Kyle Seymour.

That's 11 of 43 contestants, for a perfection rate of 25.5%. If we had a computer randomly select winners of each game, we'd expect it to be perfect over a 3-game stretch exactly 12.5% of the time. Which means that our group is twice as smart as a computer. If that's not inspirational, then I don't want to be inspired.

The Schneid Watch

This is the opposite of being undefeated. Here, we track the worst records in the game. While I'm happy to report that nobody went winless after the first three games, we did have several contestants finish at 1-2. They are the current occupants of...The Schneid:

Phil Kairalla, Dylan Hulser, Adam Hammerschmidt, Emily Radford, Dan Mooney, Jeremy Forsythe, Robin Cohen, and Tom Cowell

Congrats to these 8 contenders, but know this: only one can truly rule The Schneid. Emily Radford is the early favorite, having finished second-to-last in 2009-10.

Helter Skelter vs. Shouting Siblings

Last year, Patricia "Helter Skelter" Curry thrilled and delighted audiences all across America by deciding each winner with a flip of a coin, and choosing her priority numbers by picking slips of paper from a hat. This year, the coin and hat were back in action.

Last time, we compared her random tactics to the strategy of Dave Ryder, who picked the favorite in each game and assigned priority based on the spread; higher spread got a higher priority. When all was said and done, Helter Skelter finished 7th and Dave, with his by-the-numbers approach, finished 14th.

This year Dave has learned his lesson, so we can't compare. However, Emily Radford contacted me about ten minutes before picks were due, wanting desperately to be in the pool but lacking the time to fill out a sheet. The obvious solution was to have my brother and sister on the couch behind me shout the winners based on an extremely limited knowledge of college football, and then have them yell "Stop!" as I scrolled up and down the columns, randomly assigning priority numbers one by one.

Long story short: in this section, we'll scientifically determine which strategy is more successful. Is it better to flip a coin, or seek the advice of ignorant children? Here's how it looks early on:

Helter Skelter: 56
Shouting Siblings: 25

Young vs. Old

Last year, Spike Friedman, all of 25, matched up against Tom Cowell, the wily old veteran who boasts 70+ years of existence. Spike held the lead for most of the way, never suspecting that the old codger was playing possum. After trailing for most of the bowl season, Cowell loaded up on metamucil and unleashed a stunning come-from-behind victory after New Year's.

Spike has been spending the last year weeping in his bedroom and writing emo poetry. Now he's back as the youngest competitor, ready to take on Cowell in a no-holds-barred rematch. Did he learn his lesson from last time, or will Cowell outfox him with tricks he learned during the Great Depression? So far, Spike's leading in a nailbiter, 13-12. As with 2009-10, their picks are both very poor.

Eric(k)s vs. Toms vs. Females

In this pool, there are three people named Eric or Erik (Grell, Kallevig, Thomason), three named Tom (Fisch, Cowell, Cacchione), and three females (Megan, Robin, and Emily). It's important to know who wins this strange, vicious battle.

(Note: Patricia is also a female, but since she already has her own feature and since she uses the robot coin flip picking method, we'll rule her out for this one.)

Here's how they stand now:

Eric(k)s: 99
Toms: 87
Females: 65

The ladies have some catching up to do!

The Shane Ryan Memorial Award for the Person Who Lost their 35 Priority Pick on the First Day

This goes to Erik Grell, who wagered 35 on Ohio of all teams. He took a big hit when Troy came through, just like I took a hit when Fresno State took a dive last year. It's a tough world, Erik. Keep on smiling.

Family Time

Certain families or couples are represented more than once, and what could be more fun than pitting them against each other? This one's for pride:

Curry (Mike & Patricia, husband/wife): 134
Ryan (Dan & Steve, brothers): 90
Ryan/Radford (couple): 85
Kairalla (John & Phil, father/son): 80
McLaughlin/Moore (cousins): 73
Mooney (Brendan & Dan, brothers): 55
Cacchione (Fred & Tom, father/son): 65
Cowell/Fisch (father/son-in-law): 45

Fan Favorite

This one will change day by day. Today's fan favorite is Kyle Seymour. Despite going 3-0 in his first picks, Seymour is dead last in the pool with 6 points. That's because he assigned the lowest possible priority numbers to each. In these economic hard times, the country can appreciate a man who plays it cautious and puts an emphasis on savings. He's a symbol of the new penny-pinching nation, and an icon for the hard times to come.

That is all for today. Next update comes Wednesday after the Louisville-Southern Miss game is in the books.

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