Welcome to Cheddar Bay Reality Football, 2013.
Entering its fifth year, Cheddar Bay is now well-established as the pre-eminent football game on the internet. For this year Frowns has handed the operations to me and my goal is to maintain the excellence and fun from the past years.
The Cheddar Bay Concept: a study in elegance.
The game was devised by Frowns in 2009 with the idea that since so many people wager on football in some form or otherwise pay so much attention to the game anyway, why not pool their thoughts regarding the best football bet every week and why. Then that community could all profit from tribal knowledge and at that same time have friendly competition among respected peers. The corollary benefit is its superiority to fantasy football: you’re never in the insane position of rooting for a Roethlisberger TD against the Browns because he’s your fantasy QB. Instead you’ll wind up finding and adopting a new pet inevitably culminating in your joining me in touting Willie Taggart for any future Browns head coaching vacancy.
Frowns captures the essence perfectly:
Reality football in its most basic form is what some folks would call a pool or a pick-em league. When done correctly, reality football is all the fun of fantasy football plus much more, with none of fantasy’s meaningless restrictions and useless distractions. Reality football means never having to worry about where a team’s playbook happened to end up at the end of a scoring drive, or whose number was called for a score. In reality football, any player can be yours, or not, every week. Injuries can’t wreck reality football seasons, nor can the vagaries of a randomly determined draft order. And reality football means only watching the games you want to watch.
Reality football is a chess match every week. Fantasy football is spinning a roulette wheel once at the beginning of the season, with a few even more meaningless roulette spins as the season wears on, depending on how crappy your first spin went (“Do I start Roy Helu or Deion Branch at flex this week?” /chews own face off). One is no more “wagering” than the other, yet the NFL itself relentlessly promotes fantasy — which requires exponentially less skill and analytical ability than the alternative — because the NFL wants you to be stupid so it can control you.
And of course, there’s also the fact that no one should wager a dime on a football game if he can’t come up with at least 100 words to explain why.
CHEDDAR BAY 2013 RULES AND REGISTRATION
You must note in the comments to this post that you wish to enter (include user name if you wish), and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know you are a real and verifiable person, at which point you will be added to the official 2013 Cheddar Bay email list (your identity will remain confidential unless you choose to make it otherwise). Instructions for submitting the $100 entry fee by PayPal will then be provided by email. All that’s left from there is to start playing to post your six weekly picks and your essay in the weekly Cheddar Bay Open Thread at this website.
Each week you will make six college or NFL football picks against a point spread. You must pick at least one college and one NFL pick. The Cheddar spreads are locked in Wednesday AM and available as a pdf linked in the sidebar scoreboard. I also tweet out a notice and link when it’s up.
Essay pick: One of these picks is your essay or money pick and Cheddar’s reason to be. It’s your pick of the week and must be accompanied by 100 words or so on why this is the pick of the week. This pick is worth three points; the other five are worth one — eight points available each week.
ALL-PLAY: Another of your picks will be a weekly all-play in which the Executive Committee decides on the biggest or most interesting game that week. You may elect to make the all-play your essay, it will be worth three points, and you must round out your slate with five more games.
Eight points each week: The essay is three points, the rest are one point.
Your picks and essay should be posted in the comments thread of the weekly Cheddar post here at Kanick an hour before kickoff. You may stagger your picks (e.g., some Thursday night NFL is begging to be played but your essay isn’t ready). If you do stagger the picks in that way submit your final post as a new comment (and it is helpful if you note any earlier play in that post).
Scoring (minor change): Essay wins are (back to) 3 points; all-play wins are (now) 1; the other four picks are worth one point. Pushes (ties) earn half the point values.
The essay policy (minor change): The essay component is the centerpiece of Cheddar and its most important component. That said, everyone needs a week off so one essay-free week is allowed. After you have used your bogey, failure to submit an essay will result in all picks to be scored as normal (one point). In other words, your max score is six instead of eight.
SPECIAL WEEK 1 SCORING RULE: The scoring for week 1 will be cut by half, both to encourage late entrants and to recognize that the first week is just one small step of a long haul.
Playoff qualification (no change): The playoffs start after week 18 of Cheddar (the end of the NFL season). 20% of the entries (and ties) will qualify for the playoffs. If there is a tie for the final slot(s), those entrants will have their own sudden-death the next week with the loser eliminated from the larger playoffs.
Playoff scoring (no change): In the playoffs, you carry over your regular season totals as your starting point. From there weekly points are bumped to 25 with your essay worth five bonus point. E.g., Conference Championship Week has only two games: your essay is 15 points, the other is 10. The exception is Wild Card week which includes the BCS; that week has 30 points available. In the playoffs all picks are submitted to Exec Committee and published simultaneously to reduce gamesmanship.
Prizes: The fee money will go entirely to the winners as always. The breakdown will be 50% to first place, 20% to second place, and 30% for weekly winners starting at Week 11 to keep folks in the game.
Let me know what name you’d like to go by and it shall be done. By convention I will link to your twitter or your webpage or your facebook or nothing in the sidebar standings. Let me know which you prefer.
You give me your twitter, I’ll add it to the ‘cheddarbay‘ public twitter list. It’s a recommended subscribe if you’re joining up; tends to be good dialog.
I use the lines found on Scores and Odds. We know lines move, use the spread in the “Current” column. No over/under picks.
Navigating the scoreboard.
I record all picks in a public Google Doc spreadsheet on the ‘picks’ tab. Here is the 2013 link, this is link is also found in the sidebar standings. For this review, though, open up the 2012 speadsheet. Here are some things to know:
- The entries are all based on the Cheddar Lines which go up early Wednesday. The math and is automated, the entries and win/lose/push are not so please be sure to double-check me. We always have your posts for auditing and haven’t had big problems. But we have had cases where entrant will catch a mistake a couple weeks later.
- I track your awards and your ‘no-play’ weeks under your name in the left column.
- I use nicknames for pro teams, school names for college. Thus “Houston” means the Cougars, not the Texans; Cincy = Bearcats, not Bengals.
- The picks tab is linked to the ‘table’ tab which ends up published as the Sidebar Standings.
Navigating the sidebar standings.
Ok, this was a good idea that has gotten better. If you’re old, it will remind you of the morning boxscores/standings in your old Citizen-Journal. You can find the standings at my site and at Frowns. (If you’ve got a blog/site and want to run let me know and I’ll happily give the html embed code.)
- Entrant column. Shading in the entrant column indicates you’ve hit at Lobsterfest or Admiral’s Feast. Multiple hits means darker shades of orange. Boldface means you hit that week. As playoffs near, I’ll signify clinched slots with an ‘x’ prefix; eliminated with a ‘y.’
- Delta. Pretty proud of this feature. It shows your progress versus the field from last week.
- Updates. I update the scoreboard manually and cannot do it remotely. So if I’m around, the updates are fast. Sundays are typically late as I’m typically not around.
- The red dashed line. It was pretty cool that when I added that line, it needed no explanation.
A perfect week earns you LOBSTERFEST acclamation. An Admiral’s Feast is awarded if your week is marred only by a push. A Virgin Lobsterita? Oh I think you know what a Virgin Lobsterita signifies.
I have been promoted to head of the one man executive committee so petty adjudications will be handled here. However, it’s fair to think of Frowns as the Chairman Emeritus. Cheddar’s Jim Haslam Sr. if you will.
Why is it named Cheddar Bay?
Because Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay biscuits are delicious and that will never change.
The contest is consistently exciting. Going back to my first year, 2010 had a dramatic ending. Entering the Super Bowl Titus held a 24.5 point lead. Since I’m writing this you’ve already guessed something bad happened to him and you’re right. He picked the Steelers, P4 took the Packers and took home first place.
Last year’s battle for last playoff slot went down to the last game. GRR had closed the year at 77.3 point and a lackluster final week (one point) which let quite a few people back into the chase, five (TA, Acto, Bup, OXR, GG) in fact. It came down to the final game and the legend of Teddy Bridgewater includes getting GRR into the Cheddar 2012 playoffs.
People do get hot. MPLS had three perfect weeks (LOBSTERFESTS). Dennis has three as well and also managed a three week stretch of 15-3-0. ClevTA also had a 15-3-0 stretch. But Jeff Rich tops them all with 20-3-1 run that included an 11-0-1 stretch.
So people get hot but can it be sustained? P4, Sneeda, Zara are all right around 54% over three years, that’s consistency. But the champ in my mind, the player I watch, is CLTIL and her money picks. She was an unbelievable 14-2 in 2011 on her essays (we interchange money pick and essay pick.. same thing) and followed up with 12-6 last year. That’s 76% (26-8) winners over two years against the spread on CLTIL’s pick of the week.
- 2009: Frowns
- 2010: P4EVA
- Titus Pullo
- 2011: Dood
- 2012: Harbaugh Handshakes
- Dennis Hemingway
Hall of Fame.
I wouldn’t call any HOFers just yet, but from here CLTIL and P4EVA are first balloter when the time comes unless they blow an ACL or test positive for PEDs.
This one’s easy. I’m sure there are a bunch of worthy nominees, we all have them. But in 2011, week 8 Stanford was giving UCS +7.5 at USC. Mind you Stanford was like 7-0 ATS at this point in the season. Gavin had won with them five out the six prior weeks. There were five essays picking Stanford that week. Frowns alone took USC as his essay. You know where this is going.
Stanford scores late to send it to overtime. No problem if you’re Frowns. What are the chances that Stanford will get first possession, score a TD, convert a two pointer, then force a USC fumble, and recover it? They’re very low, especially when that didn’t happen after two OTs. But in the third OT, that’s exactly what happened: Stanford 56, USC 48.
We’ll kickoff with a college-only Week One with points to be half-value same as last year. The Week One point spreads and open thread will be up August 28th.
That about wraps it up. I’m looking forward to another year, I hope you are too.