Monday, December 06, 2004

Half idiot. Half savant. Half lucky.

"Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein." -- Joe Theismann

A friend of mine named Pete has a football pool that I play in each week. Everyone chips in $5 and makes their picks for the week. Point spreads are used, so in theory it should be a pretty much 50-50 chance of getting a correct pick for each matchup. Right? I mean, that's the whole point of the spread... so that the oddsmakers can keep everyone from betting on the obvious favorite.

I'll admit right off that I don't know squat about which team the "smart money" should bet on for any given game. But like I said, I believe the spread system pretty much turns each pick into a crapshoot. So why bother doing all the painstaking research on win/loss home/away records and who's out with a pulled hamstring and so forth? The oddsmakers already took this stuff into account and did their best to equalize it with the spread. My random picks have just as much of a shot at being correct as Johnny-Sporto's picks.

This year I decided to have some fun with different methods of randomly choosing my teams. I gotta tell you, it's been working pretty well! This past weekend was Week 13 and I just won the pool for the third time. And that's with missing at one of the weeks because I forgot to get my picks in on time. I might have even missed another week in there towards the beginning of the season, I'm not sure. This with about 14 or so people playing each week.

So, how am I choosing my teams?

I have been trying to come up with different ways each week, more or less. Here are some of the more interesting ones:

Week 3 Was "Alphabetically First Week" (so if Atlanta was playing Detroit that week, I would have chosen Atlanta. Bad strategy. I ended up with the least amount of correct picks (3 and 10). But dammit, if I would have been listening to the voices inside my head a little closer, I would have realized they were telling me to pick alphabetically last, not first! Then I would have won that week as well with a 10 and 3 record.

Week 5 "Underdog Week". That also didn't do so well. Wound up somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Week 6 was "Longest Team Name Week", so San Diego had to beat Atlanta, Tennessee had to beat Houston, etc. I actually didn't do all that bad that week, but not enough to win it.

Week 8 My first win, using the most basic of things: a coin toss. Heads went to favorite and Tails went to underdogs.

Week 9 Tried the lucky quarter for Week 9 as well, since it brought me my first win and all, but this time it netted me the bottom slot with something like 3 and 10. Once again, I should have done the opposite, which would have snagged another win.

Week 10, another winning week for me was a flashback to my misspent teenage youth playing D&D in the basement with my friends. Using an online dice generator, I rolled two regular 6-sided virtual dice for each matchup that week. If the roll was an even number, I chose the favorite, odds went to the underdog.

Week 12 "Poker Week" went like this: Each matchup was dealt five cards, and the one with the best poker hand was my pick. I did not bad, with around 11 wins, I think (going on memory here), but not quite good enough to win.

Week 13 Another profitable week for me. This time teams were chosen based on the the game Scrabble®. Each team name was tallied up on how many Scrabble® points it was worth, and the higher-scoring team name was my pick.

So now I come to you, InfoNation Readers and Readerettes... how should I choose my picks for these last few weeks of the NFL season? I am considering some sort of a dartboard thing, perhaps having my two-year old son pick teams one week... any ideas? Feel free to put 'em in the comments!


Candid photo of me making next week's picks!

Pete, the guy who runs the pool, has even been so kind as to construct a little tribute page to my glorious achievements. At least that's what I'm telling myself. I checked, and the words "idiot" and "moron" do not appear on that page anywhere, so I'll take that as a good sign.

PS. Just to keep the good mojo flowing, I ought to mention that if you need to buy or sell a house, Pete is your man. Just look at that mug and tell me whether he could steer you wrong. Merits and awards up the ying-yang. He was even his Neighborhood Association's Dog Park Meetings Coordinator for cripes sake.

No comments: