First underdogs listed for our charity pool
It's that time, folks. The lines are out for this, the first week of our charity pro football underdog pool. We've got 17 participants lined up, each ready to pick one and only one underdog (in caps below) who he or she thinks will win its game outright this weekend -- without the benefit of the point spread. The point spreads are relevant only in that they determine how many points a player who picked that team will win if the chosen underdog prevails. We'll repeat this process every weekend through the playoffs, and the three players with the highest point totals at the end of the season will each get to name a favorite charity as recipient of part of the entry pool. All proceeds will go to charity. Winning players here will get nothing but bragging rights and a rosy glow. We'll all get a new way to watch pro football.
If we stay at 17 players, there is going to be $340 in the pot, and the winners will designate the following amounts: first place, $250; second place, $60; third place, $30. If our final pot is more or less than $340 (the pay deadline is a week from Friday, Oct. 30), we'll adjust those amounts accordingly.
Players out there, do you know how to submit your entries? The details of that are here, but let me reprint the pertinent rules:
Your pick can be made in any of three ways: (1) by e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org; (2) by posting a comment on this post; or (3) only in case of an emergency, by phone (see below). Picks posted on the blog are readable by everyone; picks sent to me by e-mail or phone won’t be revealed until the week’s deadline has passed, and at that point other players’ picks can’t be added or changed. It would probably be to one’s tactical advantage not to post the pick on the blog much before the deadline, but how you play is up to you.If you're not playing in the pool, of course you're free to chime in, in the comments section of this post. But if you are playing, please be sure that you send me one, single, unambiguous designation of your pick before the deadline. Side chatter on the blog is permitted, so long as I have a clear pick from you by the deadline.
DEADLINE: ***YES, I WILL ENFORCE THIS.*** The deadline for getting your pick in is midnight Pacific time on Saturday night/Sunday morning. There is a grace period -- if you have the pick in by the time I post the picks early Sunday morning, you got away with your tardiness. But if I post the picks and you desperately try to e-mail in a pick afterwards, tough. It's an unfair advantage to make your pick after seeing everyone else's pick, so I do enforce this rule. So -- seriously, don't mess with the grace period. Do it by Saturday midnight.
If you're picking a Thursday or Saturday game, obviously, that pick has to be to me before that game kicks off.
If you don't send in a pick, you sit out the week. There is no "default underdog." No pick, no points.
In the event you're having computer trouble, feel free to phone in your pick to me at the number listed here, but by the deadline, please.
O.k. enough with all the preliminaries -- here are this week's games. Good luck, players!
15 TAMPA BAY vs. New England
13.5 ST. LOUIS vs. Indianapolis
7.5 BUFFALO at Carolina
7 CLEVELAND vs. Green Bay
7 MIAMI vs. New Orleans
7 WASHINGTON vs. Philadelphia
7 ARIZONA at NY Giants
6.5 OAKLAND vs. NY Jets
5.5 KANSAS CITY vs. San Diego
4 MINNESOTA at Pittsburgh
3.5 ATLANTA at Dallas
3 SAN FRANCISCO at Houston
1.5 CHICAGO at Cincinnati
No Buffalo at Carolina yet (probably Trent Edwards's injury). We'll keep looking until Thursday, and if there's no line by then, it'll be off the board. UPDATE, 10/21, 9:53 p.m.: Buffalo at Carolina has been added.
And last but not least, here is the list of players so far. If you're not on this list and want to be, just sign up as indicated earlier. And if you're on here but would rather be identified differently, just send me an e-mail message to that effect:
Meanwhile, a certain electronic payment system that we were using to collect entry fees has informed us that this sort of thing is not allowed in their book, and so any future entries will have to be by check or money order. If you've already paid via that electronic system and you're on the list of players, however, you're fine.