2017: Farside Football Pool, Gory Details

All 2017 Farside Pool Weekly Files The Main Farside Page Current NFL Weather Conditions

Football season is almost upon us and it's time for a football pool! Linked from this memo are the relevant materials to solicit interest in your participation. Here are the key facts:

If you've not done a pool like this before, there are three things you need to do each week:

  1. Select a winner for each game.
  2. Weight your picks. When there are 16 games in a week, you'll rank your picks from 16 (for the game about which you are most certain) down to 1 (for the game about which you are least certain). You can use each number only once. During the Bye weeks, you'll be ranking from 15, 14 or 13 down to 1.
  3. Choose a tie-breaker, the total combined number of points scored in the final game listed on the Entry Sheet. This is usually the Monday Night Game, but sometimes there are two of these and sometimes (late in the season) none, but it will be clear which is the tiebreaker game.

    I highly recommend printing out a Printable Week 1 Schedule sheet to work out your picks before doing them on-line. The Entry Sheets list the games in broadcast order (at least, anticipated broadcast order at the time I enter the schedule in early August), show team records, sparklines to show the winning/losing streaks, how many games there are this week, who is on a Bye, etc.

  4. Enter your selections. These selections are made in the Week 1 Entry Form. . When you hit Submit, they are sent to me in a handy little email. When I enter them in the spreadsheet, you will be sent a confirming email listing your picks. Note that this confirming email is triggered when I enter your picks into the spreadsheet, not when you hit the Send button on the form!


For each game where you correctly pick the winning team, you get the number of points you assigned to the game. If you picked the loser, you don't get any points for that game. Your score for the week is the total of these points when the football week is done (after the Monday Night game). The participant with the highest point total wins the week.

If you pick a game correctly and give it 16 points, you get 16. If you only gave it 3 points, you only get 3, so, as you can see, the outcome of the week is a combination of selecting winners and assigning the points to the games. If you give a game 16 points but get the winner wrong, you get zero points for that game. If you get every game right, your weightings don't matter (but the tiebreaker might! My father once lost a perfect week on a tiebreaker to another participant who also had a perfect week) but if you miss even one game, the weights start to matter a lot. As a matter of record, perfect weeks occur something less than once a season in this pool, and usually on weeks with fewer than 16 games.


Reporting is pretty comprehensive, resaonably informative once you get used to it and brilliantly laid out if I don't say so myself. You get several reports posted to the web. I do not print out and disseminate these to anyone but they're all in Adobe PDF format and can be printed from your computer or just viewed on-screen. The weekly results are best printed on legal-sized paper on which they fit very nicely. This stuff also looks great on an iPad. Man, we've come a long way since this started!

Some fine print:

I actually used to run this in fine print, but it was too hard to read, so now it's full-sized.

Future Improvements:

If you have suggestions about the pool, please let me know. It has evolved over many years, in part due to changes in technology, and I think we have it down pretty well. However, I am always open to suggestions. Continuous improvement, Quality is Job One, Six Sigma, Seven Habits, etc. The whole thing runs on Excel 2010 and Outlook 2010 running on Windows 10 under Parallels 11 on either an exquisite 27" iMac Retina 5K with top of the line processor and 32G of RAM or a late-2008 Aluminum Macbook. It's mostly nicely-implemented Excel, heavily based on lookups and date functions, with heaps of Visual Basic for Applications macros handling much of the routine work. Since the base spreadshet started out as a blank Excel page in 1996, some of the stuff is sub-optimal Excel, but it's been pretty robust. If you have questions about how it works, let me know.

Matthew "Hey maybe I can win before another 20 years go by!" Cole

Page last updated 9/9/2015

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