Pick pro football underdogs for charity!
I've decided to go for it. Having had countless e-conversations with members of the blogosphere over the years about the pro football underdog pool in which I play, I've decided to take a reader up on a nice suggestion. I'm going to run an informal pool of my own here on this blog, with all proceeds going to charity, and hope that I don't get locked up over it.
Here's how the game works: Every week, players try to pick one (and only one) underdog team on the upcoming weekend's NFL schedule that the player thinks is going to win its game outright -- that is, straight up, without the benefit of any point spread. If the player picks correctly, he or she wins the number of points that his or her underdog team was favored to lose by. The player with the most points at the end of the season is the winner of the pool, and gets to designate all (or the lion's share) of the entry fee pot to charity (see below).
Example 1: Last weekend, Cincinnati was favored to lose by 9 against Baltimore. Cincinnati in fact won the game, 17-14. Players who picked Cincinnati get 9 points.
Example 2: Last weekend, Kansas City was favored to lose by 9 points against Dallas. Kansas City lost by 6 points, 26-20. Players who picked Kansas City get no points because Kansas City didn't win its game outright.
We will start in Week 7 -- the weekend of October 25 -- and go through the end of the playoffs. That gives us time to drum up more players. We'll still have a dozen weekends or so -- the NFL season is a long one. (You can use this coming weekend as a warmup.)
Here's what our pool is about: It's all for charity. If you win, you will get to direct the pool entry fees to your favorite charity, which must be a section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Depending on how many players we get, we may allow the second- and third-place finishers to designate smaller (much smaller) portions of the pot to their favorite charities. All entry fees will be paid to one or more charities.
And so basically, what's in it for you is bragging rights and the chance to be a local hero for your favorite charitable cause.
Here's how you can play: You enter by sending me $20. Check or money order only, please. E-mail me here and I'll shoot you my snail mail address. The absolute deadline for my receipt of your payment is 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on Friday, Oct. 30.
You can enter now and pay later, so long as it's before midnight Friday night the 30th. To enter, just shoot me an e-mail message here to that effect.
Privacy: We will be posting everyone's picks and the standings of the players every week. Please be sure to let me know how you wish to be identified in those postings. Any work-safe nickname will do. If I don't hear otherwise, I'll use your first name, and if there is more than one player with the same first name, I'll use your last initial as well.
Fine print: Details about how weekly lines are set, and the rules for sending me your pick each week, are here.
UPDATE, 10/20, 11:47 p.m.: The first week's lines are up! They are here.