Sunday, March 13, 2016

2016 March Madness Files Are Ready!

UPDATE: I've updated the Participant file ("Individual Picks") after several of you reported a bug that prevented you from using the Pool Setup & Results Summary functionality due to a "Run Time Error 1004" issue dealing with a cell being protected. I've addressed that issue, which was a problem in the Participant sheet. That's the good news. It's fixed. The not great news is that if you're a pool admin, you'll need to get all of your pool participants' picks into this updated sheet for that function to work. I'm truly sorry about that.

Here we go, everyone! The much anticipated ExcelGeek.com March Madness pool manager spreadsheet (and associated individual picks spreadsheet) is out!

The system works the same as in previous years. There are two files: The first is the "master" spreadsheet, used by the pool organizer to track the results of everyone's picks vs. who actually wins, etc. This is where you determine how many points a correct pick in each of the rounds is worth, as well. Also, the pool manager can make his or her picks in this file, too. The second file is the simplified "individual picks" spreadsheet used by the participants in the pool to make their picks and send the file to the pool organizer to automatically pull their picks into the master.


Once again, the individual picks spreadsheet is free, but the more complex "master" spreadsheet is not. It is ONLY $2.00, though. The files are both locked down and protected. In the case of the master spreadsheet, it requires a "key code" to unlock the magic.

Like I first did in 2012, I won't make you email me the "lock code" the file presents to you when you first open it and then email you back a "key code" to unlock it -- I've automated the process.

What you will do is the following:
  1. Download the "master" file by clicking on the link above.
  2. Open the file. Make sure you've got macros enabled. If you didn't have macros enabled when you first opened the file, enable them, then close and reopen the file, making sure to enable macros. If the file doesn't display a "Lock Code" when you open it, something didn't work right. Try again.
  3. Copy the "lock code" the file presents you.
  4. Paste that code (be sure to delete any trailing spaces added when you paste it -- it normally adds an extra trailing space for some reason) into the "Lock Code" field below.
  5. Click the "Buy Now" button below to pay the $2.00 for the file via PayPal. You do not need to have a PayPal account to pay this way. Any major credit card will work just fine.
  6. At the end of the transaction, you'll be redirected to a confirmation page with my pretty little avatar on it. It will display (among other things) the "key code" you'll need to activate the file.
  7. Copy and paste that code into the spreadsheet into the proper place, click submit, accept my terms and conditions, and you're off and running!
Again, if you don't paste in your Lock Code and complete your transaction, you won't receive a "Key Code" that will actually work to unlock your file. Do not forget this part! You may have to pay another $2.00 if you mess it up.


Lock Code


Best of luck, everyone!

Excel_Geek

Monday, December 28, 2015

2015-16 Bowl Pool Spreadsheet with Scenario Analysis

I promised this in my previous post about this year's college football bowl pool spreadsheets, and now I'm delivering, even if a touch later than planned.

I've now got a version of the summary file out there with the aforementioned scenario analysis built in. Here's how it works:

  • I'm using the betting lines (point spreads) for each game to determine the probabilities of the favorite teams winning. Essentially, I used the College Football table found on this website to convert the point spreads to the probabilities.
  • I then run all not-yet-played games (meaning, the winner hasn't been set on the Picks tab) through 1,000 random scenarios, where the outcomes are weighted accordingly. That is, if I run 1,000 scenarios of a game that is a 7 point spread, the favorite in that game should come close to winning 70.3% of the time, but it's still random, so it make be more or less to some degree.
  • For games that have already been played, I always use the actual winner in the scenarios.
  • Then I apply the winning teams from each scenario to each participant's picks and points, and see which participant ends up with the most points and thereby wins each scenario. Actually I rank all participants' score for each scenario.
  • Then I calculate each participant's overall odds of finishing at each possible rank, including their chances of winning the pool, based on that sample of 1,000 scenarios.
  • Finally, I do some analysis for each participant to highlight which games are of particular importance to each person. For example, it might be that for a given participant, 100% of the scenarios for which they win the pool involve California beating Air Force in the Armed Forces bowl. It'd be handy for everyone to know that.
  • This functionality is all found in two new tabs -- ODDS OF WINNING and CRITICAL GAMES -- as the rest of the sheet remains unchanged.

It's worth noting that running these 1,000 scenarios on my PC -- which is a decent Dell Latitude E6520 (2.40 GHz Intel i7 CPU with 8 GB of RAM and a Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB SSD) -- takes a touch over a minute. I do think that only running 1,000 scenarios is likely way under-sampling things, particularly when there are 20+ games remaining, which means there are over a million and up to 4.4 trillion possible outcomes! Given that, I could build out an option to run 10,000, 20,000, or even more scenarios. It's just that run time for such an option will go up in a linear fashion as you add more scenarios, meaning for 20,000 scenarios it could be half an hour or longer probably, and I don't know that folks really want to wait that long for what still amounts to a sampling of potential outcomes. Also, I don't know that the overall precision of the estimated odds to win for each participant will become that much better.

Without further ado, here are this year's college football bowl pool management files:

If you plan to migrate your data from the prior Summary file version to this one, you should be able to simply copy-paste all of the participants' picks and points from one to the other. I'd do each participant separately, and ALWAYS use the Paste Special... Values option.

As always, the file is protected, but not with a password, so feel free to unprotect the workbook and then unhide some of the sheets running this stuff behind the scenes to see how it works. And if you add some cool hacks/additions, pass them along, so we can all enjoy them.

Enjoy, everyone!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

2015-16 NCAA Football Bowl Pool Files Are Ready

UPDATE as of 12/14/2015: Initially, I left off one of this year's now 42 bowl games -- actually the very first one: the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, featuring Alcorn State and North Carolina A&T. Thank you, readers "Anonymous" and Tron Guy, for setting me straight. For some reason this bowl doesn't appear on the NCAA's website, nor on Wikipedia. And none of the betting line service websites I looked at to get odds shows it. Odd. This has been corrected in both files now.

UPDATE as of 12/28/2015: I've now got a version of the summary file out there with the aforementioned scenario analysis built in. I'm using the betting lines (point spreads) to determine the probabilities of the favorites winning, and then running 1,000 random scenarios, where the outcomes are weighted accordingly. Then I apply the winning teams from each scenario to each participant's picks and points, and see who wins each scenario. Then I calculate each participant's overall odds of winning the pool, based on that sample of 1,000 scenarios. Finally, I do some analysis for each participant to highlight which games are of particular importance to each person. For example, it might be that for a given participant, 100% of the scenarios for which they win the pool involve California beating Air Force in the Armed Forces bowl. It'd be handy for everyone to know that. It's worth noting that running these 1,000 scenarios on my PC -- which is a decent Dell Latitude E6520 (2.40 GHz Intel i7 CPU with 8 GB of RAM) -- takes a touch over a minute. I do think that only running 1,000 scenarios is likely way under-sampling things, particularly when there are 20+ games remaining, which means there are over a million and up to 4.4 trillion possible outcomes! Given that, I could build out an option to run 10,000, 20,000, or even more scenarios. It's just that run time for such an option will go up in a linear fashion as you add more scenarios, meaning for 20,000 scenarios it could be half an hour or longer probably, and I don't know that folks really want to wait that long for what still amounts to a sampling of potential outcomes. Also, I don't know that the overall precision of the estimated odds to win for each participant will become that much better.

At long last, here are this year's college football bowl pool management files:

It took me a bit longer than normal to get the files out this season, and I've gotten many comments, emails, Facebook messages, etc., asking when they'd be ready. Well...they're ready.

For those unfamiliar with the two-file system, the idea is that pool managers can distribute the simple, single person Entry Form version to those in their pool to make their picks and assign confidence points. The participants them email back that file, and the manager can simply copy, paste special... values those picks and points into the Summary file, which is where they manage everything.

Note: Here's how I dealt with the playoff semi-finals and championship: I've used formulas to automatically fill in the two winners of the semifinals for the left part of the summary file. For each person's picks, they'll have the two teams they selected to win those semi-finals to pick from in the championship. Let me know if that doesn't work well or if you're confused by it. It does make the Individual Chart for the championship game a bit odd if a participant picked a team to win that game that didn't even play in it, but the points system still works fine.

Another note: I don't have the final record for the Navy team, since they're currently playing in the annual Army-Navy game this weekend. I've also left that cell unprotected so you can easily update the record for the Midshipmen if you want to.

Also, I don't yet have my personal picks completed, but will add them, as well as those for my wife (MRS. EXCEL_GEEK) and son (EXCEL_GEEK, JR.) and update the files once we're ready. Some of you have voiced a preference to have those picks included, to give you a benchmark for your own picks (and to see me lose each year to my wife.) UPDATE: Our picks are now included.

Finally, I'm planning on working in a new feature that I'll release in a few days that will enable the pool manager to run a series of simulated scenarios to see which Participants, given their picks and points vs. games that have already been played vs. point spreads, have the greatest chances of winning the pool. It should be a neat feature.

Enjoy, everyone!

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

2015-2016 NFL Pick 'Em Pool

At long last, I've completed this season's NFL Pick 'Em pool. Some of you have diligently been pestering me for weeks now. I am truly sorry to make you wait up to the night before opening game. Truly. That said, I had an ambitious list of new features -- several that have been requested for a few years now -- to integrate into the old spreadsheet.

For example, many, many of you wanted the ability to not just pick winners and losers, but to pick against the spread. Done. This is now an option on the all new Settings tab. Selecting this option will un-grey-out a new row where you input each game's favorite and point spread, which is then taken in to account when determining correct picks.

Similarly, lots of you have requested support for a Confidence Points system -- so not all games counted for the same amount of points if picked correctly. Not only this, but some of you wanted a traditional "1-X" system where you assigned 1 point to a game, 2 points to another, 3 to another, all the way up to 16 or however many games there are to pick that week. Others wanted a "Pool of Points" system wherein you start with a defined pool of points that you must spread across all of that weeks games as you see fit. I've added support for both. Enabling Confidence points of either type will un-grey-out new columns next to each participants picks in which to input their confidence points, which are then taken into account when calculating overall weekly points.

Also, lots of you wanted more capacity for participants. 100 wasn't enough. I've upped it to 300. I could keep adding more capacity, but it comes at a file size trade-off. I'm already up to over 3 MB now!

I did a few other things, too, like cleaning up and exposing the Schedule tab. Many of you have expressed interest in a college football pick 'em. Well, just un-protect (it's not password protected) and change that Schedule tab to whichever games you like. I also fixed the often reported bug with the sorting buttons. Those should work now. Finally, one this I didn't do this year is create the companion "picks" version of the sheet. No one ever really said it was that helpful, and it was just something else to maintain. If you need a way to have your participants easily send you their picks, they can just use the same file -- sorry again, about that 3 MB file size.

Without further ado, here's the file: 2015-16_NFL_Weekly_Football_Pool.xlsm

More than a handful of folks, as they were pinging, pestering, checking-in with me offered to pay me or donate to me for the sheet. This, like the college bowl pool sheet I do, I do for free. That said, if you are so compelled to contribute to my son's college saving plan, feel free to PayPal me whatever you like. PayPal just recently launched this great new feature called PayPal.me that makes it really easy to request any amount:

$5.00

$10.00

$25.00

$50.00

Really you just have to change that dollar amount in the URL -- https://paypal.me/excelgeek/50.

Anyways...please enjoy this year's NFL Pick 'Em. If you encounter a bug or need help with using the sheet, let me know.

Later,

Excel_Geek

Monday, March 16, 2015

2015 March Madness Brackets are Ready!

Here we go, everyone! After a year off (sorry about that), the much anticipated ExcelGeek.com March Madness pool manager spreadsheet (and associated individual picks spreadsheet) is out!

The system works the same as in previous years. There are two files: The first is the "master" spreadsheet, used by the pool organizer to track the results of everyone's picks vs. who actually wins, etc. This is where you determine how many points a correct pick in each of the rounds is worth, as well. Also, the pool manager can make his or her picks in this file, too. The second file is the simplified "individual picks" spreadsheet used by the participants in the pool to make their picks and send the file to the pool organizer to automatically pull their picks into the master.


Once again, the individual picks spreadsheet is free, but the more complex "master" spreadsheet is not. It is ONLY $2.00, though. The files are both locked down and protected. In the case of the master spreadsheet, it requires a "key code" to unlock the magic.

Like I first did in 2012, I won't make you email me the "lock code" the file presents to you when you first open it and then email you back a "key code" to unlock it -- I've automated the process.

What you will do is the following:
  1. Download the "master" file by clicking on the link above.
  2. Open the file. Make sure you've got macros enabled. If you didn't have macros enabled when you first opened the file, enable them, then close and reopen the file, making sure to enable macros. If the file doesn't display a "Lock Code" when you open it, something didn't work right. Try again.
  3. Copy the "lock code" the file presents you.
  4. Paste that code (be sure to delete any trailing spaces added when you paste it -- it normally adds an extra trailing space for some reason) into the "Lock Code" field below.
  5. Click the "Buy Now" button below to pay the $2.00 for the file via PayPal. You do not need to have a PayPal account to pay this way. Any major credit card will work just fine.
  6. At the end of the transaction, you'll be redirected to a confirmation page with my pretty little avatar on it. It will display (among other things) the "key code" you'll need to activate the file.
  7. Copy and paste that code into the spreadsheet into the proper place, click submit, accept my terms and conditions, and you're off and running!
Again, if you don't paste in your Lock Code and complete your transaction, you won't receive a "Key Code" that will actually work to unlock your file. Do not forget this part! You may have to pay another $2.00 if you mess it up.


Lock Code


Best of luck, everyone!

Excel_Geek

Monday, December 08, 2014

2014-15 College Football Bowl Pool

You've all been waiting very patiently for me to update my annual college football bowl pool spreadsheets, and here they are!

There were all sorts of changes this year. Five all new bowl games, one discontinued bowl game, and a few renames. Plus, we're in our first year of the College Football Playoff era! That's right, we've got one game in the list for which we won't even know the teams playing until later on.

Here's the new bowl games:

  • The Camellia Bowl. This one will be played in Montgomery, Alabama between a Sun Belt Conference and Mid-American Conference teams. The bowl is owned by ESPN Regional Television.
  • The Miami Beach Bowl. This one will be played in Miami in Marlins Park. We always need more Florida bowl games, right?
  • The Boca Raton Bowl. This one will be played at Florida Atlantic University stadium in Boca Raton. It's also owned by ESPN Events, and features Mid-American conference teams until 2019.
  • The Popeyes Bowl. Officially the Popeye's Bahamas Bowl for its sponsor Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, this one will be played in Nassau Bahamas and features Mid-American conference teams through 2016. This will be the first game played outside the U.S. since 2010 International Bowl in Toronto.
  • The Quick Lane Bowl. This bowl will be replacing the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. This isn't merely a renaming, though. It's a whole new bowl organization. The Little Caesars Bowl is no more (for now).
Here's the renamess:
  • The former Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl is now called the Foster Farms Bowl.
  • The former Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl is now called the Cactus Bowl.
  • The former BBVA Compass Bowl is now called the Birmingham Bowl.
  • The BCS National Championship is now called the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship, as we enter the CFP era. Bye bye, BCS.
Here are the files:

For those unfamiliar with the two-file system, the idea is that pool managers can distribute the Entry Form version to those in their pool to make their picks and assign confidence points. The participants them email back that file, and the manager can simply copy -- paste special... values those picks and points into the Summary file, which is where they manage everything.

Note: Since I wasn't sure how you folks would be dealing with the fact that we don't currently know which teams will be playing in the CFP Championship, I've made it so that you can easily edit those teams later. Some of you may prefer to have everyone pick a winner for that game upfront, filling in the teams playing with their two picks for the initial two playoff games. Some of you may opt to have folks send in their picks for that game later, once the teams are known. It's up to you, I guess.

Another note: I don't have the final record for the Navy team, since they play in the annual Army-Navy game this weekend. I've also left that cell unprotected so you can easily update the record for the Midshipmen.

Finally, I don't yet have my personal picks completed, but will add them, as well as those for my wife (MRS. EXCEL_GEEK) and son (EXCEL_GEEK, JR.) and update the files once we're ready. Some of you have voiced a preference to have those picks included, to give you a benchmark for your own picks (and to see me lose each year to my wife.)

Enjoy, everyone!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

2014-15 NFL Pick 'Em Pool

For those of you who've been eagerly anticipating this year's rendition of my NFL Pick 'Em Pool, it's ready to roll!

I've baked in a few notable enhancements:

  • I've rearranged some things to make it easier to copy-paste from the picks area of the sheet or to select large ranges and delete to clear out picks. Before I had some hidden and protected columns in between each of the game columns that made this not possible.
  • I added in conditional formatting that automatically formats the top Home and Visitor team cells to match the team colors of the teams. Snazzy! I got this idea from a past user of my spreadsheet who'd implemented the color schemes himself, though not with the conditional formatting.
  • I've also included a companion worksheet to the one that the pool administrators will use -- one that participants can simply pick the week, and then make their picks, and then send them to the administrator, who can now copy and paste them easily into the "master" sheet.
Here are links to the two files:

Pool Administrator "Master" sheet

Pool Participant "Weekly Picks" sheet

Enjoy everyone!

Excel_Geek