Competing Against the Poll - Week 4

Competing Against the Poll, Week 4

Quick recap of the rules: Your heroes at don’t have faith in the AP Pollsters and think we can outsmart them. As such, we are buying/shorting teams based on their current “price” (points in the AP Poll) and will profit/lose as they move up/down the rankings.


It’s early, but it’s starting to look like a two-horse race here, as the overall standings sit at yours truly +2110, Mr. Midrange +1644, and the sad, listless DJ Dimes at -202.  Matt had his third losing week (of 4) in the week-to-week section, as the Hurricanes climbed back up to #17 and Pittsburgh couldn’t pull off the massive Purdue upset. None of us saw any real gain in our week-to-week buys, but Ky and I nailed our weekly shorts with Oregon and Syracuse respectively. Arizona’s massive road win at the Zags hurt my long term outlook (I’m shorting them), but I see it as the ‘Cats just building the house of cards even higher before it comes crashing down (against my Mizzou Tigers on Sunday?!).  Ky didn’t see much action long-term, while Matt struggled there as well with Cincinnati taking a tough Butler L and the Zags aforementioned home loss. 

Long-Term Update and Week-to-week Picks

The most interesting note here: Ky re-upped his Florida buy AND Oregon short, sparking a debate among the three of us – should you be allowed to use the same team in back-to-back weeks? The argument against is that’s why we have long-term portfolios; if you want to fade a team for longer than a week, you can do that. On the flip side, I held Wichita State in my long-term portfolio for only a week – shouldn’t a long-term purchase require more time than that?

We settled on allowing all of these things to go through for now. We don’t want to alter the game too much as we are going along, but plan on instituting the following rules in future years (because this is gonna catch on and be a huge thing!): 1) if you put a team in your long-term portfolio, you must hold them for 2 weeks or longer, and 2) short-term teams can only be used for one week at a time – no repeats.

Only a couple small changes in long-term picks: Ky switched out scuffling NC State for Georgetown, meaning 3 of Ky’s long-term teams are the same as mine or Matt’s. And Matt gave up on Cincinnati in the face of a clash with early-season juggernaut Xavier, choosing instead to back up his optimistic preview of South Carolina by buying the Cocks.

Week-to-week picks were hard to come by, as school finals have really thinned out the slate this week. I bought SMU, who kicked around Michigan mid-week, and I’m hoping they earn some incremental points up the polls for that performance. Selling Kansas is entirely contingent on a massive Oregon State Beavers upset this weekend in Kansas City. Ky aimed extremely high with the Gators – with road games against Miami and Michigan State this week, they had great upside (unfortunately, they’ve already lost to Miami). He’s also banking on a second straight road loss to an MWC team for Oregon (at Boise on Saturday). Finally, Matt played it extremely safe with his buy, going with Providence and a weekly schedule of home to Boston College and Bryant – he’s clearly hoping for teams above them to lose. Virginia, on the other hand, played West Virginia on a neutral floor, but DJ Dimes did not get the upset he was hoping for. Again, due to the meager schedule, there just weren’t any great choices this week.  

Best Buy of the Week sponsored by Best Buy (pending): Butler, gained 354 points – followed closely by Baylor (gained 326) and Arizona (gained 307)
Sharp Short of the Week sponsored by Sharpie (pending): Syracuse, lost 618 points – followed by Texas A&M (lost 453 points), and then Gonzaga (lost 389) and Oregon (lost 387)

WE DID IT!! More specifically, I did it!  I cashed in on the Sharpie Sharp Short of the Week, and as a result, I will receive a year’s supply of colorful Sharpie markers from our sponsors at Sharpie (that’s my assumption at least). An aside to that – shout out to the Cuse for going immediately from being the Best Buy of the Week to the Sharp Short of the Week – that’s an impressive bipolar performance.  Honorable mention goes to Ky here, as Oregon was a top pick as well. Matt had the rough luck of owning another one of the shorts (owns Gonzaga long-term)

Looking Ahead

This week starts a sort of lull in the nonconference schedule, with some marquee matchups here and there from which to pick. My sense is that it’s going be difficult to differentiate within our game until after Christmas.