Can You See the Future?

Both Ephrem and Ivan have been after me over the last couple of weeks to set up another Football Picking Contest and I aim to please (where I can), so here it is.

The site is called “Office Football Pool” but this is just a contest, not a pool. It is free to join and your ‘winnings’ will be entirely ego related. Once upon a time I made certificates and offered non-valuable prizes, but I’m about five years behind on that so you’ll have to come up with your own reward if and when you win.

Once you go to the site, you’ll have to set up an account (unless you have one from last year), but it’s free and easy. Also, like last year’s, you’ll be picking against the spread and earning points based on both the correctness of your picks and your confidence ranking of them (earning 14 points for the pick you are most confident about and 1 for the pick you are least confident about).

Good skill to you!

Annual Football Picking Contest

Yes, yes, it’s late (sorry everyone), but it’s ready for you! Last year, Ephrem Rabin rode the chalk all the way to the last week before an untimely vacation stole his championship. The year before, a rookie from a distant land stole our hearts while nearly stealing the title (despite her confusion about what is and isn’t “football”).

What will this year’s story be? Sign up for the Harold Lounge Braggin’ Rights Challenge to find out. Fancy prizes for winners this year! A snazzy certificate for your office if you win! A whiteboard eraser if you come in second! Old Halloween candy if you come in third!

New this year is a confidence rating system–you make your picks (straight up-no line) and then rank them from 1 to 14, earning the points associated. Highly confident in some pick? Well if you hit it you get 14. But if you lose it, well…you get the idea.

Anyway, if you have an account already, you can go straight to the CBS Sports site, sign in and search for “HL13″(password: HL13) or try this link.

UPDATE: New hosting site. Go HERE. You’ll have to make an account, but it should be quick, and then you can make your picks. If it asks you for a password (I don’t think it will, but still…if it does, then type in HL13.

And, regardless of what the name of the website implies, this is NOT a pool. Entry is free for all participants and so in now way, shape, or form can be construed as gambling. It is a game, with your only prize being glory and ever-lasting fame.

The first game is tonight, but if you don’t get signed up today, don’t worry–you can still make picks for Sunday right up until 11:55am. Don’t wait, though.

(And if you try it and have trouble, please let me know in the comments. It’s been a few years since I’ve done this and I don’t remember exactly how the set-up works.)

Harold Lounge Braggin’ Rights Bracket Contest Advice

Just in case you are a living defiance of the opinions of some and immune to the solipsist fallacy (“I do not care, therefore NO one cares”) and are interested in having more than a common person’s interest in the quite probably exploitative and morally questionable national collegiate basketball tournament (perhaps you’d like a chance to beat the President like we ALL did last year) or maybe you’re looking forward to your handsome, frameworthy, certificate of victory (Sabino, I just remembered that I still owe you yours for your victory last year…and the socks–sorry!), but amn’t quite sure how to go about making your choices because you haven’t had any time to follow the college cagers this winter (owing to the spectacular weather), fret not. There’s help on the way.

First a clarification–the Realist’s post implied that the tournament had started already; not so! The play in rounds were last night, but those don’t really count. The first round games start at 11a on Thursday, so you have until then to fill out your bracket. Two steps are required. First, if you don’t already have one, you need to register for an account with–click on “Register” on the right side; it just requires an email address and you make your own password. Once you’ve done that, click here or do a search for “Harold Lounge” on the CBS site and enter “hl2012” as your password. Fill out your bracket and let the smack talking begin.

Who should you pick? Ah, an entirely different question. Here are some options for picking:

~Slate’s bracket help provides the chance to pick by colors and mascots only.

~The Wall Street Journal provides a blind picker with nothing but information about the team’s play this year, so you are not biased by reputation or other irrelevant factors, then when you’re done it shows you all of your picks.

~Slate also has some advice about how a hedge fund manager would pick.

~Or maybe you’d like to take a stand on principle and pick according to the schools’ academic stats using Inside Higher Ed’s analysis. It’s all good.

Make your picks and take your shot at the title and at joining the list of Champions!

2007 Champion: Jennifer Armendarez

2008 Champion: Jennifer Armendarez

2009 Champion: Someone

2010 Champion: Dave Richardson

2011 Champion: Chris Sabino

h/t to Realist for setting up the Bracket this year; thanks!

Braggin’ Rights Bracket Winner(s)!

Final Update:

In third place, the proud winner of an assortment of loose pens from Dave’s backpack outer pocket, with 36 correct picks out of 60 games for 196 points, Anthony Escuadro.

In second place, the proud winner of some Vintage tin of Marshall Fields Frango Mints that I found in a desk drawer last week (at least 8 years old), with 35 out of 60 picks for 202 points, the Connecticut Carpetbagger, Ed Fians.

And in first place, having correctly picked 39 out of 60 games correctly for a total of 213 points, our very own Master of Ubiquity, Chris Sabino! And for his troubles, Chris gets a pair of brand new socks that match, or at least refer to, the colors of this year’s Championship squad.

Among the other notables, Armendarez finished next to last. Barely. Which was probably ok until Kentucky lost. So sad. For her.


Braggin’ Rights Bracket Contest Update

Heading into the Elite Eight, it’s a tight three way contest for the prestigious honor of the HW Braggin’ Rights, and the elimination of Ohio State means the contest is coming down to the wire.

Chris Sabino, Anthony Escuadro, and Ed Fians (a former adjunct, now living in New Jersey and working as a Road Scholar) are bunched at the top with Sabino and Fians tied with 202 points apiece and Escuadro just six back.

Sabino, who has made the most correct picks thus far (38) picked three of the eight remaining teams, but only has one of those teams winning another game (UConn in the Final Four). Fians, meanwhile, picked only 1 of the last 8 teams, but he has them (NC) going to the finals and winning it all. He’s at the top despite having picked the least number of correct games (35) on the strength of some effective upset picking with a few low ranking seeds.

Anthony Escuadro, meanwhile, lies in wait with Kansas and his pick of them to make the finals. Anthony picked 36 games correctly, and was the early leader, riding frequent upset picking (10 of 32 in the first round, five of which were correct–easily the most upsets picked and the most correctly predicted) to the front along with effective second round prognostication (10 of 16 Sweet Sixteen teams) before the fates quashed his bracket.

So, the scenarios are as follows:

If North Carolina reaches the finals, Fians wins. It is not even necessary that they win. If NC makes it to the final four but loses AND Kansas makes it to the finals, Escuadro wins. If NC and Kansas both lose in the Elite Eight, Sabino wins.

In other news, Jenny Armendarez took the “Faculty Caboose” spot, with a disappointing showing, picking only 32 games correctly out of 56 and NOT picking Kentucky. Terrible.

But though she may have been the worst picking faculty member, she wasn’t the worse picker in the bunch. That honor went to our new President and Braggin’ Rights rookie, Don Laackman, with 31 correct picks, including 3 teams of the Elite Eight.

Faculty 1, Administration 0.

Props to all for playing, though. Award notifications will be made next week.

Three Suggestions for Bracket Help (Contest Reminder)

Just in case you’re looking for some help to prepare your bracket for the Harold Lounge Braggin Rights Bracket Contest, I’ve decided to offer up a little:

The Wall Street Journal’s Blind Brackets: This tool takes away the team names and replaces them with code words so you can’t pick by reputation or familiarity and keeps the info you need to evaluate the team’s chances.

Slate’s Team Colors or Mascot Brackets: These allow you to make your picks by either team colors or mascots. I hope the winner is someone who has used one of these.

They were collected and discussed on a post

2nd Annual Braggin Rights Bracket Competion

That’s right–it’s time to show off that hard won college basketball knowledge and/or passion for prognostication and/or propensity toward blind luck: in the spirit of community building, cultural appreciation, and cabin fever, The Harold Lounge presents the Second Annual Braggin Rights Bracket Competition!

As I noted last year, the first two versions of this contest were won by early favorite Jenny Armendarez, but she didn’t compete last year, and so my victory was hollow. To be the champ, you’ve got to beat the champ.

Anyway, the details remain the same:

It is free to enter and so does not constitute gambling (no ethics policy violation!). You don’t even have to know anything about basketball to win (at least in theory). All you have to do is go HERE, sign in (or register a new account if you’re new to this–providing them with an email and a password), and then you’ll be prompted to enter a password which is “CCC”. Then just fill out your bracket and start talking smack!

Check out the rules while you’re there, too. This year’s competition will feature the victory plus seed formula, so if you pick a 12 seed to win in the first round, and they do, you’ll get 13 points (1 + the seed number). This provides some incentive to pick some long shots.

The winner will, as in years past, get a handsome certificate awarding one year’s worth of bragging rights and a ‘Major’ prize (value <$7.99). Past prizes have included a pair of socks, white board markers, and an old bag of candy from my desk.

So get picking, people! Be sure to have your bracket finished before 11am on Thursday. Once the games start, the competition is closed…


New Contest

So the contests have pretty much been a bust so far. The March Madness bracket only drew four players and was won by me because I had one final four team and the other three players had none. Lame. The World Cup bracket was no better–four players and Dave won; again because no one else had any teams in the finals. Lame.

Our “When Will Registration Close for New Students Prediction Contest drew more than four players (hooray), but we all lost since, to my knowledge, the college was still registering students through Friday (leading me to wonder how we could have crazy high enrollment AND a rash of canceled classes, but I digress). Still we had nine guesses:

Carrie, Tues@3:02; Usually Confused, T@ 4:03; ITejeda, Wed @ 11; Philodave, Wed @3:42; TyrannosaurusX, Wed @4; Kamran, Th@11; HelloKitty, Fri @10:42; Mathissexy, Fri @1;  Realist, DNG. So I don’t really know who won. I guess maybe Mathissexy? I’ll leave this one to the Peanut Gallery.

Today’s contest is GUESS WHEN THE DWFDW SURVEY WILL BE SENT OUT TO FACULTY. It was just two weeks ago yesterday that our Provost announced that faculty would “soon receive a survey” about their experiences at DWFDW. Still waiting. Patiently. When do you think it will come? Make your prediction here…

Bonus Critical Thinking Question: What can we justifiably infer about the feedback they got on the evaluation forms if we don’t receive a survey?

Website Wednesday–World Cup Contest!

One final update: For those of you looking to do something fun and exciting on your computer this weekend. Remember, you keep these braggin’ rights until 2014! Play begins in 7 days.

UPDATE: Bumped up to encourage participation!!

Having a social life is just as important to teaching as having new and great web tools, so today’s Website Wednesday is dedicated to…

The First Quadrennial Harold Lounge Braggin’ Rights World Cup Bracket!!

It’s easy to play and you have a whole month to do it. Here are the steps:

~1. Click on this link right here. You’ll need to register for an account with ESPN to play if you don’t have one already (free, easy, and remember, you can give them as much true information as you want, but not all of your info need be true), but it only takes fourteen seconds and its easy.

~2. Once in you can either make your entry or join the group, depending on what you want to do first. To join the group, go to “My Groups” and click on the dropdown for “Join Group.” Search for Harold (which will give you “The Harold Cup Contest” Click on that and then enter “Harold” for the password.

~3. Do whichever one you didn’t do at 2. Picking the teams is a little tricky in the first round, so as you look at each group, pick the team that you think will be the first place team first and the second place team second. And if you screw up, don’t worry about it–you’ve got a month to fix it!

And if you have no idea about any of this soccer stuff, but want some help, you can check this out (notice the links for analysis of each of the groups). To get you in the mood, there’s this…

You’ve got to be in it to win it.

First Prize: A handsome certificate and random object memorializing the winning nation.

Second Prize: A somewhat less handsome certificate and random object memorializing the first loser nation.

Third Prize: A much less handsome certificate and the knowledge that you were tantalizingly close to receiving a random object related to some foreign nation.

Make it happen people!

Braggin’ Rights Bracket–FINAL Update

Pathetic, really, is the word to describe it. Jashed was the only one of the three of us to pick ONE of the final four teams, and he still came in last (as he should have given that he picked 34 winners, which was the lowest total of the three of us).

So, the downright desultory outcome is that the guy who set up the contest won it, without picking any of the final four teams (much less the winner). That is ridiculous, and you all should be ashamed of yourselves.

Especially if you had an idea that Butler could end up in the title game tonight…

And if you’re interested in seeing something that is the polar opposite of pathetic, consider setting some time aside on Tuesday night to watch the Women’s Finals featuring what might legitimately be the most dominant team/program in the history of collegiate sport (University of Connecticut) playing against another powerhouse (Stanford).

UConn has won 77 games in a row (their last loss was in 2008), and they’ve won every game of the streak by ten points or more (by an average of 32.5 points per game, in fact). They are dominant. Stanford lost to UConn earlier this year and beat everybody else. They lost last year in the finals to UConn after beating everyone else. In other words, these two teams have beaten every other team they’ve played (not counting each other) for two years running.

Should be a good game. (In poetry, they call that litotes, I believe)

Braggin’ Rights Bracket–UPDATE

“Hey,” you might be saying to yourself, “I wonder who’s winning the Harold Lounge Braggin’ Rights Bracket contest.”

Well if you guessed Jashed Fakhrid-Deen, you’d be wrong. In fact, he’s in last place. AND his pick to win the championship? Out. He should be mocked with regularity and vigor.

Perhaps you guessed Ed Fians; he’s tall. Maybe he knows something about hoops. Wrong again. Second place and desperate.

If, however, you guessed Dave Richardson, then you, my friend, owe yourself a high five. In a commanding lead, having picked 32 of the first 48 games correctly, with 7 of 8 elite eight teams still alive and all four final four teams just a few wins away, the philosopher is, once again, making his case for Kingship.

And if you’re wondering about how everyone else is doing, well you’ll have to ask them, because the three of us were the only ones to sign up. Gotta be in it to win it people.

Next year.