Before we get started with How to Play in our College Football Pool, let us assure you, this is not rocket science. If big hairy men who can barely do anything but grunt can understand this, so can you! Don’t get intimidated by the definitions and rules below. We are merely putting them in writing but we will be here to help you along the way. Sign up. Pick some teams. Learn a bit each week. That’s it! The fun will come as you grow to understand it more and love the game. So, let’s get started!
Football Pool Terms:
Here are a few definitions of terms you will here around a football pool.
Matchup – the two teams who are playing each other that week
Spread – this is also called points spread or just points. It is set by folks in Vegas and is essentially their way of saying how much better or worse a team is than the other taking into consideration things like who has the better offense or defense, but also things like who is home and who has had any significant injuries. The spread is usually referred to as a half number. For example, it is 3.5 or 14.5 or something like that to prevent a tie. We’ll explain this more with examples below as this concept is confusing for many.
Tie-Breaker – if multiple people have the same record in the pool for a given week (say 15-10), the tie-breaker game will determine the winner. The tie-breaker is a single game where the pool participants are asked to predict the exact score. Whoever is closest to the points, breaks the tie and wins the week.
Over/Under – This is not used on the pool conducted by Flip the Field but you’ll probably hear the term. In this, the pool participant predicts whether the total number of points scored in a single game will be over or under a specified sum.
The Line – This is not used on the pool conducted by Flip the Field but you’ll probably hear the term. The line is much like the spread but it is considered to be the exact evening out between the two teams that are playing. It is the amount that is predicted that if you add to the losing team’s score it would most likely equal the winning team’s score.
Home Team- This is the team who is playing on their own field. Pretty obvious, right? The only catch is when two teams play each other and it is not at either’s official home. This is not very often but certainly at bowl games and maybe some of the opening games. The University of Georgia and the University of Florida do this every year by playing in Jacksonville. Teams rotate as to who is the official home team.
Away Team- This is the team who is playing at their opponents field. See Home Team for exceptions to this.
“They did not cover” – You might here someone say that a team did not cover. That means they won the game but did not beat the other team by as many points as the folks in Vegas thought they should.
“I’ll take the points” – means you are going for the underdog to beat the points spread and even if they lose you are counting on them not losing as badly as people thought.
Playing in the football pool each week:
At the beginning of each week (usually Monday), the matchups will be set by Flip the Field administrators. We will pick 25 games. It will include all games that have a team in the top 25 and as many other games as needed to fill out a 25 game schedule. We think this will keep a national emphasis on the pool.
Anytime after the teams are set and 4 hours before the first game kick off (which may be Thursday night), you can login to the Flip the Field pool on funofficepools.com and enter your picks. It is important to get your picks in before the deadline so you don’t miss the points available each week. You will also receive an email during the week to remind you to enter your picks.
Entering your football pool picks:
The football helmets might change but you’ll see the name of the pool, what type of pool it is, your username that you logged in with, what week of the season we are in and when the picks are due.
Below the header you’ll see a grid with all the teams (matchups) for the week in it.
Note: This shows the results of the week. Before the week starts and the results are in, you will see two differences: (1) The score is not posted (under the Date column) and (2) It shows your pick (which team) and not the results of whether or not you won a point for the game (marked with red X or green check)
To enter your picks, you will simply click on the team you think will win or the team that will beat the spread (not lose by as many points as people thought). To start, we’d suggest just picking the teams you think will win.
At the beginning of the season before you become an expert on such matters, you might just pick the team with the cutest mascot or prettiest colors or cutest quarterback. Just make some picks and after you receive the results, you’ll learn why some picks were better than others. Over the course of the season, you’ll learn how to make a wiser pick. Trust us! Still, so much about this is luck. There are guys in the media who predict who is going to win each week and these guys REALLY know their stuff. Yet, they still get them wrong too. If you win more games than you lose you are doing great!!
What is the spread in college football pool?
This is important to understand when playing a pool. However, not all pools use points or spread. Some are just straight up who won and who lost. If you can learn to understand the spread then you are really flipping the field on the guys! That is why we feel it is important to try.
For the examples which will help you understand, refer to this table from funofficepools.com.
In this table you will see Virginia Tech was playing Clemson with a +7.5 point spread, West Virginia was playing South Florida with a +1.5 point spread and Wisconsin was playing Michigan State with a +9.5 point spread. In this example, the away team was favored by the number of points in the spread. If the home team had been favored the spread would have been a ‘negative’ number such as-7.5.
You will also see that we picked Clemson, West Virginia and Wisconsin. All 3 of our teams won (see the scores in the date column) but we did not get all the points. Why? Well, that is because Wisconsin did not cover the spread. Let’s dig in further…
The final score in the Wisconsin game was 42-39. The spread was +9.5. That means Wisconsin needed to beet Michigan State by 10 points to cover the spread and a pick of Wisconsin to win the point. In this example, Wisconsin only won by 3 points, did not cover the spread and thus anyone who picked Michigan State received the point even though they lost the game.
What is a Tie Breaker in College Football Pool?
This is fairly simple. It breaks any tie that might have occurred in the weekly matchups to know who actually won the week.
It is possible for several people to end up the week with the same record out of 25 games. Let’s say 3 people ended with 15-10 records for the week. It would go to the tie breaker to see who won. Before the games started, each of these participants predicted the final score of one game. In this example, the matchup is Georgia vs. LSU. The actual final score was LSU 42 and Georgia 10 (sorry to Melissa’s husband on that one!!).
One person predicted the score as 13-42 (see below), one picked it as 35-45 and one picked it as 35-24. In this example, the 13-42 is only off by 3 points and would win.
The way funofficepools decides the tie break winner is as follows (taken from their website):
- Whoever picks the winner of the game correctly (had more points on the actual winner than on the loser of the game). If still tied, continue:
- Whoever was closest to the winning team’s score of the game. If still tied, continue:
- Whoever was closest to the losing team’s score of the game. If still tied, continue:
- Whoever was closest to the combined score of both the winning and losing teams. If still tied, then the players tie
With all that, it is still possible to tie, but not likely unless they guessed the exact same score.
How to make the best choice in a college football pool?
This is one of the reasons we really like Funofficepools.com. They provide great information at your fingertips for someone who does not live, eat, sleep and breath football. On the grid above, you’ll see a highlighted word that says Matchup. If you click that a bunch of information will display like below.
Now, you can look at this and see that there are about the same number of green boxes for both Georgia’s and LSU’s offense. Georgia was a better passing offense and LSU a better rushing offense. However, across the board, LSU’s defense had better stats. This might lead you to believe that they would hold Georgia’s passing offense in check and likely win the game. You might also derive from this that Georgia’s score would not be very high given that LSU’s defense seemed so strong.
But don’t be fooled too quickly by these numbers. If LSU had not been playing anyone that was a real threat (early in the season), these numbers could be greatly skewed. Especially if Georgia had already played some big SEC opponents. That is why you see each teams schedule and results to help you out.
While you get started, ignore this. But as you progress and want to know more, this is a great tool to see how each team has been doing and who they’ve been playing. There are basic insights you’ll see as to why one team might beat the other and how badly they might beat them to cover the spread.