A spreadsheet filled with poo emoji for part 2
Yeah, we're actually telling you how to do this. It kinda started out as a joke but now the ball is rolling...

RYP Presents: In Deep Sheet, Part 2: The Rules

Rules are made for breaking... But not these rules... These rules are the flimsy pretense that will hold your NCAA football bowl pick’em together.

Nicky G
Nicky G

Rules are made for breaking... But not these rules... These rules are the flimsy pretense that will hold your NCAA football bowl pick’em together.

(Need to catch up? Read Part 1 Here >>)


Before you build, edit, or make another change to your fledgling NCAA football bowl spreadsheet from part 1, you’re going to need to decide what flavor of bowl pool you want to run.

Believe it or not, there are several kinds of pick’em pools, each with their own quirks and charms. Will you play it Smart like Kirby? Or, will you pull a Mike-Leech-at-a-press-conference and go absolutely buckwild?

Mike Leach at at presser
The man has a certain charm...

First, let’s see what your options are...

Step 2A: Picking “Straight up” (SU) or Against the Spread (ATS)?

Picking games “straight up” — as in, having your pick’em players simply select which NCAA football team they think will win a given bowl outright— is a often a preferred prospect for your own purposes as a first-season NCAA bowl pick’em commissioner. It’s easier and includes far fewer complications.

But let's say you really hate yourself. Like you have some childhood stuff that you haven’t really worked through and the only way you really can manage is through punishing yourself and those who love you.

Then using betting spreads is absolutely perfect for you.

For this route, you’ll need to decide which betting authority you’d like to use for the spreads.

Note: Please don’t make up betting spreads yourself. Unless you’re in the mafia, it’s a bad look.

Godfather GIF
Another shot of Mike Leach, this time with a mustache and a haircut

There are many entities that do this officially. (We use our official partner, BetMGM, to auto-populate our spreads for us because again we’ve been doing this for 15 years and figured out all these problems).

Once you decide on the purveyor of your lines, you’ll need to update the spreads as the days go on (as lines will change day-to-day based on how bets are coming in, players getting injured, traitorous coaches leaving for better-paying programs, etc.). You’ll also need to communicate to your members why you — who we’re assuming is not an expert in betting — picked the betting authority that you picked and establish clear deadlines for the lines. Because again, you’re just Some Dude or Dudette doing this yourself and not the worldwide leader in sports pick'em pools: RunYourPool.com

Step 2B: Regular 1-point per bowl scoring or “confidence points”

Some members will prefer the egalitarian nature of 1 point per bowl scoring. This would make the selection of a National Champion the same “point value” as, say, The Arby’s Meat Sweats bowl.

Arby's GIF
Mmmmm cholesterol.

Other members will prefer bigger, arguably “more important” bowl games, like the Rose Bowl, to be worth more points than the Mattel Malibu Barbie Dream Car Bowl.

In this case, you can award the option to include either your own points system, or allow your members to use “confidence points” on each bowl. In this scenario, since there are 43 total bowls, the preferred method is to allow each member the chance to bet 1 to 43 points on any given game, without the option to use the same point value twice.

Be forewarned that you’ll also need to keep track that all your members used all their confidence numbers properly as well.

Note: We feel like we should add here that NCAA football confidence pools are a lot of fun if you don't have to do the work. Like, say, our confidence pools.

Step 2C: Selecting the tiebreaker to end all tiebreakers

If you’re lucky enough to have a lot of members in your pool, you’re going to need to prepare for the likely event of a tie.

Namely, because ties are both un-football-like and un-American.

Remember, you’ll need to establish rules early to prevent appearing like you’re winging it — even if you totally are.

Common tiebreakers include:

  • Guessing the total combined score of the National Championship game (which also might lead to a tie)
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors (Best of 3) (1-2-3-shoot, then go on shoot, not on 3)
  • Thumb wrestling
  • Staring contests (no squinting!)
  • Greco-Roman wrestling (with or without Italian dressing)
Warning: This tie-breaker might skew who wins the pool by who has better lifting form.

NOTE: In the event that a tie still exists even after one round of tiebreakers, we recommend upping the intensity — and maybe physical pain — of each tiebreaker until someone says "Uncle."

Continue to Part 3: The Formulas >>


Nicky G

Dad of 3. WVian by birth. ATX for now.