Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Final Standings, 2010-11

Well done, everyone. The top 5, with their prize money, were as follows:

1. Brendan Mooney - $300
2. Greg Blanco - $150
3. Dan Ryan - $75
4. Andy Watson - $50
5. Dave Bragg - $25

Thanks to everyone for playing. Briefly, here's how the features played out:

Family Time - Mooney Brothers, Brendan and Dan

Old School v. New School - New School

Tom vs. Eric(k) vs. Females - Toms and Eric(k)s tie

Spike Friedman (youth) vs. Tom Cowell (age) - Tom Cowell

Dirty Vegas vs. Shouting Siblings vs. Helter Skelter - Dirty Vegas

Last Year vs. This Year - This Year (55.8% wins-loss mark, 59.2% point conversion)

See you next Bowl Season!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Standings etc., 1/10

Only hours away from the national title game, the standings look like this:

Here's how it will play out in either scenario.

If Auburn wins:

1. Brendan Mooney - 523
2. Greg Blanco - 447
3. Dan Ryan - 443
4. Andy Watson - 420
5. Dave Bragg - 419

If Oregon wins:

1. Brendan Mooney - 497
2. Dan Ryan - 431
3. Greg Blanco - 422
4. Eric Thomason - 418
5. Dave Bragg - 414

I would finish 6th in that last scenario, which is highly annoying to me. But the real tragic hero of this is Keith Farrow, who is currently fifth but can't finish in the money unless the game is permanently canceled or ends in a tie. Dan Ryan, interestingly, is put in the position of rooting against his national championship pick. If Auburn wins, as he guessed, he moves from 2nd to 3rd by virtue of Greg Blanco's higher priority on Auburn, and loses out on $75. Dave Bragg will finish 5th either way, taking home $25, which means only 4th place is up for grabs. Eric Thomason and Andy Watson will be dueling for $50 tonight.

As I mentioned before, the Mooneys have won family time, and Dan has joined his brother on a victory lap. It was truly a Mooney pool this year. If Oregon wins tonight, though, the fabulous Ryan/Ryder team can vault ahead of Steve and Dan Ryan for second place. I think that would make the people happy. Final standings will be updated tomorrow.

The Old School has thrashed the new school.

Tom Cowell and Spike Friedman's enduring battle of the ages culminates tonight. If Oregon wins, Spike takes the crown and gets revenge for last year's harsh lesson. If Auburn wins, Tom strikes a second blow for the elderly.

Hollyyy COW, take a look at the Eric(k)s vs. Toms vs. Females standings:

Toms: 1027
Eric(k)s: 1015
Females: 853

And this is even crazier: if Auburn wins, the Eric(k)s and Toms will finish in a dead tie at 1062. If Oregon wins, the Toms take it. Ties are extremely rare in this kind of pool, and ties with teams of three are almost impossible, odds-wise. CRAZY.

Dave Ryder, again, is the Dirty Vegas champ over Shouting Siblings (dead last) and Helter Skelter (4th to last).

The best record in the pool STILL belongs to Dan Ryan at 24-10. He has clinched the title of best wins and losses picker, because the two people at 23-11, Brendan Mooney and Andy Watson, also have Auburn tonight. Well done, Dan.

The Schneid Award for the worst record goes to Robin Cohen! At 13-21, she's clinched the title. Dan Mooney is at 14-20, but again, both players have Auburn tonight, so this one is over. Congrats, Robin.

In the battle of this year versus last year, it's pretty clear that this year will trump its predecessor.

Last year: 543-513, 51.4% picking success, 54% point conversion rate.
This year: 809-652, 55.4% picking succes, 58.8% point conversion rate.

Final update tomorrow or later tonight!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Standings, Features 1/8

I'm a big fan of the longevity and fluctuation of the Bowl Season Pool, but one of the unfortunate downsides is the potential for an early end to the 1st place drama. And while the jockeying for positions 2-5 will come right down to the wire, we now have an official grand champion. That man is:


After missing out on a 3rd place finish and a Family Time championship on the final game last year, he's been in top form this time around. With three games remaining, his score is already higher than the maximum possible scorer of any other competitor, and therefore he has clinched first place. Congratulations, sir. All that remains is to see if he'll break the mythical 500-point barrier. Legend has it that Ezekiel "Wishbone" Fontana scored 501 points in the 1894 Bowl Pool, but that was before calculators, so nobody's exactly sure. Regardless, Mooney has already won his money; now he's on a quest to make history.


Family Time

This is probably the most interesting feature, so it's time we gave it second billing. Dan Mooney, who up to this point had struggled with the emotional disappointment of losing Family Time on the final day last year, struck big with an LSU-28 pick. Brendan joined him with LSU-29, and the Mooneys have raced out to a 61-point lead over their rivals and last year's Family Time winners, the Ryans. I wasn't there to see it, but I can only imagine that Mooney brothers gave each other an emotional hug as the hard feelings from a year ago were buried. Cathartic.

But it's not over yet. The Ryans are still lurking, and Shane Ryan and Dave Ryder have snuck up to third place, just a point behind their cousins. A 60-point lead can evaporate in a single game in Family Time, a reality the Mooneys know all too well.

Elsewhere, McLaughlin and Moore have made a surprising move up to fourth, the Kairallas and Cacchiones are stuck in the middle, and the once-proud Currys are in danger of slipping all the way to last place.

Mooney (Brendan & Dan, brothers): 752
Ryan (Dan & Steve, brothers): 691
Shane Ryan/Ryder (uncle/nephew): 690
McLaughlin/Moore (cousins): 670
Kairalla (John & Phil, father/son): 669
Cacchione (Fred & Tom, father/son): 660
Zehringer/Sarver (father/son-in-law): 659
Curry (Mike & Patricia, husband/wife): 646
Cowell/Fisch (father/son-in-law): 610

The Health Report

Again, we look at the top 10 in the "Max Potential" category to see how they differ from the actual top 10. As the pool gets closer to its end, the disparities will obviously become fewer. But as of now there's still plenty of room for movement. The scores below reflect what each player would get if their last 3 picks played out perfectly. Here's the top 10:

1. Brendan Mooney - 522 - Actual place #1
2. Greg Blanco - 447 - Actual place #2
3. Dan Ryan - 443 - Actual place #3
4. Shane Ryan - 440 - Actual place #15
5. Megan Tateishi - 424 - Actual place #13
6. Andy Watson - 420 - Actual place #8
7. Dave Bragg - 419 - Actual place #4
8. Eric Thomason - 418 - Actual place #20
9. Phil Kairalla - 416 - Actual place #10
10. Keith Farrow/Sean Marshall - 412 - Actual places #7/#9

There's still a lot of pool left to play for the money positions outside of #1.

The Cream of the Crop

Dan "Shoeshine" Ryan just keeps on winning, staying one game ahead of his competition. His record is now a sterling 22-10, and he's on pace to break the all-time winning record of .667% (last year's best finishers were 22-11). Behind him, still only a game out, are Brendan Mooney, Andy Watson, and Shane Ryan.

The Schneid Watch

Robin Cohen correctly picked LSU, but she stays on the Schneid with a 12-20 record. Now, though, Dan Mooney and Jim "Senate" Bennett are only game back at 13-19. It's conceivable that the Mooneys could win Family Time with both the best and worst records in the pool.

Old School v. New School

This one is starting to get surprisingly close. Is there enough time for an Old School miracle? The margin is back in the single digits for the first time in a long time. STAY TUNED.

Old School Average: 322.2
New School Average: 332.1

Helter Skelter vs. Dirty Vegas vs. Shouting Siblings

He's clinched it, folks! Congratulations to Dave Ryder. He has his revenge on Patricia Curry for the embarrassment of '09-'10, and now he can concentrate on the all-important Family Time victory.

Dirty Vegas: 346
Helter Skelter: 295
Shouting Siblings: 208

Young vs. Old

These two are still clinging to each other down in 40th and 41st place, where they've been for most of the pool. Instead of a rivalry, this is starting to seem like a co-dependent relationship. Is it a sign that the age gap in America has been bridged? Or is something more sinsister? (Don't know what I mean by that.) In any case, this will come down to the final game. If Auburn wins, Tom Cowell wins. If Oregon, it goes to Spike. You couldn't ask for more.

Tom Cowell: 275
Spike Friedman: 261

Eric(k)s vs. Toms vs. Females

The Eric(k)s just won't go away, folks, while the Toms are sweating bullets...

Toms: 944
Eric(k)s: 813
Females: 805

Last Year vs. This Year

The improvement continues as minor gains are made with the LSU victory.

Last year: 51.4% picking success rate, 54.1% point conversion rate
This year: 53.7% picking success rate, 57.0% point conversion rate

More updates tomorrow after Pitt-Kentucky.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Standings, Features 1/7

Gang, Brendan Mooney just keeps on winning. It's kind of disheartening, if you really hate Brendan Mooney the way I do. Haha! Just kidding! I've only met him once and he seemed nice.*

*But seriously, I hate that guy.

Quick features today since I'm finally back at home and tired from plane travel.

The Health Report

As I've said before, points on the board are better than potential points, but it's kind of fun to take a look at the top 10 in the "Max Potential" category. That score reflects what each player would get if their last 4 picks play out perfectly. Here's the top 10:

1. Brendan Mooney - 522 - Actual place #1
2. Eric Thomason - 453 - Actual place #14
3. Greg Blanco - 447 - Actual place #2
4. Dan Ryan - 443 - Actual place #3
5. Phil Kairalla - 441 - Actual place #7
6. Shane Ryan - 440 - Actual place #21
7. Fred Cacchione - 432 - Actual place #15
8. Megan Tateishi - 424 - Actual place #12
9. Jeremy Forsythe - 422 - Actual place #20
10. Andy Watson - 420 - Actual place #16

Other than the top 3 in the real pool, who are also in the top 4 here, the two top 10s look pretty different. We can still expect a lot of movement, and hopefully some of it comes from me. If I win the rest of my games, I'll roar from 21st place to 2nd and laugh all the way to the bank.

That being said, the second highest PPR, belonging to Eric Thomason, is only 27 points above Brendan Mooney's actual score. Which means, at the risk of ruining any drama, that Brendan's LSU-29 pick in Friday night's Cotton Bowl could put him over the threshold and seal the deal. And even if they don't win, it will take a miracle for anyone to unseat him. In fact, I bet if we looked at a process of elimination type thing with point differential between his picks and the other leaders, we could find that he's already clinched, but I'm just not going to do that kind of leg work. For all intents and purposes, though, the race for $300 cold cash is over.

That has to be satisfying for Mooney, who came a Texas win away from finishing 3rd and in the money last year, and also saw a Family Time (called 'Battle of the Brothers back then) victory slip away at the last moment as well. More on that later.

Luckily, the race for the money spots, #2-#5, is still fairly wide open.

The Cream of the Crop

The best record in the game still belongs to Dan Ryan at 21-10. Hot on his trail at 20-11 are Brendan Mooney, Mike Curry, Andy Watson, and Shane Ryan.

The Schneid Watch

Robin Cohen is holding on to the lead at 11-20, but Dan Mooney has crept to within one game at 12-19. Emily Radford, who finished second-to-last a year ago, is currently dead last points and close to Robin at 13-18 overall.

Old School v. New School

New school all the way.

Old School Average: 306.2
New School Average: 322.1

Helter Skelter vs. Dirty Vegas vs. Shouting Siblings



(Nobody will get this reference.)

Dirty Vegas: 333
Helter Skelter: 292
Shouting Siblings: 205

Young vs. Old

Spike's not out of this one yet! Youth is hope!

Tom Cowell: 249
Spike Friedman: 244

Eric(k)s vs. Toms vs. Females

The Eric(k)s creep closer...

Toms: 908
Eric(k)s: 878
Females: 879

Family Time

The Ryan Brothers, last year's Family Time winners, have moved all the way up to 2nd! The Mooneys CANNOT like to see that! And this calls to mind some interesting history. Last year, these same two pairs of brothers were battling for supremacy. The Mooneys had a slight lead going into the final game, Texas vs. Alabama. Both Ryans picked Alabama, but Brendan Mooney went out on a limb and took Texas. The Tide victory put the Ryans over the top, and the Mooneys have been bitter ever since. Dan Mooney clearly has not recovered from the emotional shock, going 12-19 this year, but Brendan Mooney set out to work harder than ever and is carrying their team to a possible title. Can he finish strong, or will he choke it away again? Can his brother Dan ever forgive him for last year?

And uh-oh, who's that lurking in 4th? Shane and his new partner, Dave! Looks like dropping my girlfriend might have paid off after all. This is still anyone's game.

Mooney (Brendan & Dan, brothers): 695
Ryan (Dan & Steve, brothers): 670
Kairalla (John & Phil, father/son): 660
Shane Ryan/Ryder (uncle/nephew): 651
Cacchione (Fred & Tom, father/son): 650
Curry (Mike & Patricia, husband/wife): 643
Zehringer/Sarver (father/son-in-law): 638
McLaughlin/Moore (cousins): 616
Cowell/Fisch (father/son-in-law): 584

Last Year vs. This Year

We're evolving, albeit slowly, as a bowl picking civilization.

Last year: 51.4% picking success rate, 54.1% point conversion rate
This year: 53.0% picking success rate, 56.3% point conversion rate

More updates tomorrow after LSU-A&M.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Standings, 1/5

I'm way too pissed to deal with features right now. Also, that game took approximately 7 hours. New School is still winning, Tom Cowell is beating Spike by 10, Dan Ryan has the best record at 20-10, Toms are beating Eric(k)s and Females, and the Mooneys are leading family time by 3 over the Kairallas. Arkansas just cost me a shot at some $$, I'm going to bed.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Standings, Features 1/4

Brendan Mooney continues his hot streak with a Stanford-32 pick. He's now at 381 points, putting a stranglehold on the rest of the field.

Quick note before the features: It's pretty rare for a pool with this many potential points to end in a tie, so I don't bother with tiebreakers. Still, if it ended today, we'd have a tie between the 4th, 5th, and 6th place finishers. So in case of a tie, the tiebreaker is overall picking record. If that's also a tie, the money is split. It wouldn't be fair to create an artificial tiebreaker beyond the obvious win-loss one at this point.

Feature Time!

The Health Report

You couldn't ask to be in a better position than Brendan Mooney right now, though I personally think he's about to lose big on tomorrow's Ohio State-33 pick. Still, he's the unquestioned leader of the pack. Let's check out the rest. You'll see that the volatility is decreasing as the number of remaining games dwindles.

1. Brendan Mooney. Health: 9.0. CURRENT FAVORITE.
2. Dan Ryan. Health: 8.0. Projected Finish: 2nd.
3. Greg Blanco. Health: 8.0. Projected Finish: 3rd.
4. Dave Bragg. Health: 7.0. Projected Finish: 6th.
5. Alan Shaw. Health: 7.0. Projected Finish: 7th.
6. Dylan Hulser. Health: 7.0. Projected Finish: 8th.
7. Phil Kairalla. Health: 7.5. Projected Finish: 3rd.
8. Mike Curry. Health: 4.5. Projected Finish: 13th.
9. Fred Cacchione. Health: 7.5. Projected Finish: 4th.
10. Keith Farrow. Health: 6.0. Projected Finish: 9th.


Andy Watson (314 points, 106 PPR), Julio McLaughlin (308 points, 123 PPR), Shane Ryan (296 points, 165 PPR), Eric Thomason (282 points, 171 PPR).

The Cream of the Crop

Three contestants are currently at 19-10, and they lead the pack as the cream of the crop. Tips of the expensive hat to Dan Ryan (2nd), Fred Cacchione (9th), and Shane Ryan (20th). The best record last year was 22-11, a .666 winning percentage. 19-10 calculates out to .655, slightly below last year's pace but well within range.

The Schneid Watch

After a rough 0-6 New Year's Day performance, Robin Cohen seems to have this one on lockdown at 9-20. Last year's Schneid winner was 10-22 overall. As above, Robin has a good shot to set a record. Only Dan Mooney, at 11-18, presents any obstacle.

Old School v. New School

Sad to say, this one looks to be wrapped up. The new kids on the block got off to a fast start and never looked back. WHIPPERSNAPPERS! GET OFF OUR LAWN.

Old School Average: 280.0
New School Average: 301.9

Helter Skelter vs. Dirty Vegas vs. Shouting Siblings

Dirty Vegas, the player of the odds, seems to have triumphed over random methods this time around. If he can hold on over Helter Skelter, it's sweet, sweet revenge for last year's embarrassment. But this one ain't quite in the books yet.

Dirty Vegas: 305
Helter Skelter: 283
Shouting Siblings: 205

Interesting note: With her coin-flipping method, Patricia Curry was 18-13 last year. This year, she's 13-15. That's an overall record of 21-18. The coin has treated her kindly, but will it correct itself before this is all over?

Young vs. Old

It looked for all the world like Tom Cowell was going to surge ahead of Spike using his veteran wiles, just like last year, but all the sudden Spike is making a surge. With a Stanford-28 pick, he's right back in this thing! Maybe the youngster had more heart than any of us thought...

Tom Cowell: 241
Spike Friedman: 231

They have the same picks over the next five games, albeit with different values, but Spike made a rare Oregon-15 pick for the national championship while Tom opted for the more conservative Auburn-34 selection. This one will more than likely come right down to the wire!

Eric(k)s vs. Toms vs. Females

The Eric(k)s made a move on the Toms tonight, but still trail by 40 points. The females, meanwhile, are in a shambles.

Toms: 828
Eric(k)s: 788
Females: 679

Family Time

This one is an absolute classic! With 6 games left, the difference between 1st place and 8th place is a mere 31 points! What a cluster! What excitement! Who has the strongest genes? We may not know until the very end...the Kairallas are the current leaders, but moves are being made all over the place. The Cacchiones in particular have shown great upward mobility, shooting from last to fourth in the matter of two days.

Kairalla (John & Phil, father/son): 632
Mooney (Brendan & Dan, brothers): 620
Curry (Mike & Patricia, husband/wife): 619
Cacchione (Fred & Tom, father/son): 616
McLaughlin/Moore (cousins): 610
Zehringer/Sarver (father/son-in-law): 609
Ryan (Dan & Steve, brothers): 607
Shane Ryan/Ryder (uncle/nephew): 601
Cowell/Fisch (father/son-in-law): 538

Other Stuff

The overall success rate of points converted for every contestant in the entire pool is holding steady at 55.1%. To date, 46% of possible points for the entire pool have been converted, meaning there's only a short distance to reaching the magical 50%. With 6 games left, the odds are looking good, though an Oregon win could put a kink in the plan.

For comparison's sake, last year's pool converted 54.1% of all possible points when things were said and done. We're slightly ahead of the curve!

In terms of wins and losses, last year's pool went 543-513 for a winning rate of 51.4%. This year, we're already 643-604, for a 51.6% rate. Very, very close.

See you tomorrow with updates after OSU-Arkansas. Go Razorbacks!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Standings, 1/2

Well HOLLL-EEEE COW, ladies and gents, things just got topsy-turvy.

A lot of scoring was done on New Year's Day, and we have a new leader: Brendan Mooney. He went an unbelievable 6 for 6 on Saturday, accumulating 157 points and taking a 3-point lead over Dan Ryan. What's more, he has 173 PPR, the third-highest in the pool, making him the overwhelming favorite to walk away with the top prize.

As predicted over the past couple days, the honeymoon is over for the Currys. Patricia's days of hanging around are over, as she plummeted to 29th place on a 3-3 day. Mike is out of the money for the first time in a long while as well, falling to 7th with little hope of regaining any ground.

In family time, they've dropped from the lead for the first time in over a week. Our new leaders are the Kairallas. They're followed by Rob and Richard and the Ryan brothers. It's still anyone's game with a week and change left.

The New School, on the other hand, seems to have stomped the Old School into submission. Leading 290 to 262 in average score, they look all but uncatchable.

The Toms have taken a big lead on the Eric(k)s and Females, with the females taking a particularly hard hit when poor Robin Cohen became the only competitor to go 0-6 on Saturday.

Just like last year, Tom Cowell has surged ahead of Spike Friedman late, striking a blow for all old-timers against fresh-faced upstarts.

Interesting statistic: Of all points wagered thus far in the bowl by all competitors, 54% have been converted successfully. Before January 1st, that number was 44%. This was a very successful day for the field. In all, 43% of possible points for the entire pool have already been earned with a week still to go. It looks highly likely that the overall success rate will be above 50%.

Also: Herman Rodriguez won last year's pool with 393 points. It's likely that number will be surpassed as early as tomorrow, and the eventual winner this year should annihilate the total. 500 is a real possibility. And it's not because the favorites are winning more than they did last year. In fact, favorites are only 13-15 straight up, compared to a final total of 16-17 a year ago. For the second straight bowl season, it's better to be the underdog than the favorite. However, there have been several match-ups that nearly everyone identified as easy wins for the favorite, and many points were converted on them. The two most glaring were Oklahoma over UConn today, BYU over UTEP, and Boise State over Utah. Those kinds of gimmes weren't as prevalent last year. This year, though, those three games alone produced at least 90 points for a majority of contestants.

That'll do for now, more updates tomorrow.