Wednesday, November 12, 2014

All alone in tenth place

I haven't mentioned it in a while, but the NFL pick'em pool is still going and with the conclusion of this week's MNF blowout in Philadelphia, I finally managed to win a week. I'd like to say that my carefully devised system of analysis finally paid off, but the fact that I got 11 out 13 scores (against the spread) right probably comes down to luck as much as or more than anything. Still, a win is a win and I will take it! I can't remember how long it's been (read: I don't feel like sifting through old blog posts to see if I mentioned it) since the last time I won a week in the pool, but it's probably been a couple years at least. Definitely the first time this season (my memory is bad but not that bad) and I'm pretty sure I had a consistently lackluster performance last season, week in and week out.

It's good to get one victorious week of my own, because my New York Football Giants are having a dire sub-.500 slog through the fall so far. But also, it's good to have a moment now because it is looking unlikely that I will win the overall season prize for total correctly called games. At the moment I am ranked a solid 10th in a field of thirty-six (or thirty if, as I do, you only count the people who actually submit picks every week, and set aside those who've taken one or more mulligans and can't possibly win the big prize).

Rainbow swarms of shooting stars aside, that's not fantastic, but it's still a significant improvement over the last couple years; I finished the season tied for 25th out of 30 last year, and tied for 19th out of 32 the year before that. My high-water mark was clawing my way into a six-way tie for 3rd out of 36 back in 2011. I still harbor dreams of cracking the code, maxing out my luck, and winning the whole pool one of these days, but it isn't looking likely that this will be my year, either.

Of course, there's winning, and then there's at least doing better than your rival(s), which in my case means my extended family, including my grandmother, my dad, Very Little Bro, two of my uncles, and three of my cousins (although one coz is among the doesn't-always-bother-making-picks jetset). I'm actually ahead of all of them at the moment. One of my cousins won two separate weeks, but none of my other relatives have managed to top a week. And somehow, I'm now ahead of all of them for the season, the nearest one being good ol' grandma just a couple points and one position back from me.

Ah, but I seem to have neglected to mention my beautiful, charming and very sports-savvy wife, whom I cajoled back into the casual gambling fold this season and who is currently in fifth place overall for the season in the pool, handily outpacing me. She came close to winning one of the weeks my cousin took, a week where she got an impressive 12 games correct but he managed 13. But her performance has been steady and she's not showing any signs of slowing down. (Although it occurs to me now that she usually sets her picks on Tuesday nights, but forgot to last night because the whole Veteran's Day holiday threw our household schedule for a major loop. Not that we're not grateful for the service of our men and women in uniform. Go troops.)

Anyway, six weeks of (non-playoff) football left, and it's anyone's guess where the season will end up!

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