Monday, December 09, 2019

2019-20 College Bowl Pool Files Are Ready!

Ok, everybody! This season's college football bowl pool files are now ready! I'm sorry I didn't get it out last night per usual, but I was feeling a touch under the weather.

Some noteworthy items:

  • Navy has made a bowl game again, and I'm again not waiting until after the (now traditional, "final week") Army-Navy game, so I don't know Army's final record, so I've simply listed them as "[23] Army (10-2 or 9-3)". I've found this to be simpler than leaving that cell unprotected, allowing you all to edit it, and then dealing with the possibility that you do that AFTER picks are entered and thereby cause the picks for those game to no longer match.
  • The bowl line-up is essentially the same as last year -- no new bowls and no eliminated bowls.
  • We do have one or two sponsor/name changes: The Dollar General Bowl is now the LendingTree Bowl, and the bowl I had listed as the Taxslayer Bowl, which I guess was actually officially called the Taxslayer Gator Bowl starting last year, I've now just listed as the Gator Bowl, matching how I shorten most other sponsor-name-included bowl game names -- at least those bowl games whose names don't ONLY include a sponsor name.
  • Like I started doing last year, in addition to including the teams' records, I've included their rankings (for those in the top 25).
  • I've updated the sheets with opening betting lines for your convenience, but you should probably update these as we get closer to the games, as the lines are constantly being updated until game time. I use the "VI Consensus" lines from Vegas Insider.
  • Finally, I did choose to keep the FCS-level Celebration Bowl as part of the line-up. Feel free to have your participants make picks for that game or not, as you like.
Without further ado...the files:
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.

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.

Finally, as also always happens each year, several folks, as they were pinging, pestering, checking-in with me offered to pay me or donate to me for the sheets. This, like the NFL pick 'em sheet I do, I do for free as a labor of love. That said, if you are so compelled, feel free to PayPal me whatever you like, and I'll put these donations towards website hosting fees:

$5.00     $10.00     $25.00     $50.00

Really you just have to change that dollar amount in the URL --

Enjoy, everyone!

Monday, August 12, 2019

2019-20 NFL Pick 'Em Pool Files Are Ready!

UPDATE Sept 9, 2019:

A couple users of the spreadsheet pointed out that it wasn't pulling scores for yesterday's games. Somehow it was only pulling scores seemingly randomly for Denver (who plays tonight) and Atlanta. Well, embarrassingly, this was due to me leaving in one row of code in the macro that I was using to test pulling scores using preseason games. I'll update the master spreadsheet, so you can re-download, but if you've got yours all set up and everyone's picks added and don't want to have to do that again, you can make a simple VBA code change yourself!

The first thing you'll need to do is enable the "Developer" menu in the Ribbon (if you haven't already). Head to File - Home - Options - Customize Ribbon, and then find Developer in the left list of available menus and commands, and Add it over to the right side of selected menus and commands. Click OK.

Now you'll have a new menu for Developer. Click on that and choose Visual Basic. That will launch what is known as the Visual Basic Editor (VBE). You'll see a sort of project-organized view of things. In the top left part of this view, look for the Modules section and specifically Module2. Double-click on that. The main part of the view now should show the code that enables pulling scores from I want you to look about 9 lines down into that macro code (including the blank lines) for where it says, "'THIS_SEGMENT = "reg" followed by "THIS_SEGMENT = "pre"." You'll notice that the "reg" line has a single quote in front of it and the font is green. Adding the single quote in front of it "comments it out" so it doesn't work. I had commented out the "reg" (regular season) line and added a "pre" (preseason) line for testing. You simply need to un-comment out the "reg" line by deleting that leading single quote and comment out or delete the "pre" line. Done! You're a coder now!

There was one other issue I found once I fixed this, though. Somehow it wasn't pulling scores from the Colts-Chargers or Lions-Cardinals games. I noticed right away that these were the only overtime games yesterday. must have changed out they display overtime games since last season, and the regular expression code that matches "final" games wasn't working. I found it right away. In the past the little box score for final games all displayed a "FINAL" in the top right. Now for overtime games, they display "F/OT". So a simple little tweak to that regular expression was needed. If you head to line 40 in that same macro you'll see a comment line that says, "' This identifies only the Final games." The bottom line in that cluster is what we'll need to tweak. Where it says "FINAL" in that long string of gobbleygook, it needs to say "(FINAL|F/OT)". This will make it match either "FINAL" or "F/OT".

All should be right with the world. At least that I know right now. This does highlight one other issue, though. You'll notice that we did have one game end in a tie -- Lions-Cardinals. The way the sheet is designed, no points will be awarded on this game since there was no winner. If that's not how you do it in real life, make a comment and let me know.

Sorry for the hassle. Feel free to download a fixed version of the master file if you'd rather not hack around in the code yourself.

Folks, I've completed and released this season's NFL Pick 'Em pool. Like past years, many of you have been diligently pestering me for a few weeks now. The good news was that we don't (still) have any new team names/cities to deal with this year. Maybe next year? The other good news (for me) was that didn't decide to change how they display completed games, so the code changes I made last year seem to be working for this year, also. As always, though, if we get into the season, and something doesn't seem to be working right, just let me know. Like years past, I have created a companion "Picks" sheet to distribute to pool participants, so they can simply email back the file for the admins to copy-paste into the master sheet. Just remember to always copy, paste special... values when moving their picks into the master sheet, so as to not jack up formatting or other stuff.

Without further ado, here are the files:

As also happens each year, several folks, as they were pinging, pestering, checking-in with me offered to pay me or donate to me for the sheet. I remind them that this, like the college bowl pool sheet I do, I do for free. That said, if you just _have to_ do something for me for my efforts, feel free to PayPal me whatever you like:

$5.00     $10.00     $25.00     $50.00

Really you just have to change that dollar amount in the URL --

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



Sunday, March 17, 2019

Back Again! 2019 March Madness Spreadsheet System

Guess what?!? After a one year hiatus, I've decided to push out my much anticipated two-file March Madness pool manager spreadsheet system.

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.

You saw that right, folks! Both the individual picks spreadsheet AND the more complex "master" spreadsheet are FREE this year. For those of you new to my March Madness spreadsheets, I used to charge a nominal amount -- $2.00 -- for the "master" file. I first made these free two years ago and asked you all to help out a good friend who needed to raise money for medical expenses. This year, I've just decided to make it free. If you just have to pay me _something_ for my time, etc., feel free. I'll give you instructions for doing so. The files are still both locked down and protected, and just as before, the master spreadsheet requires a "key code" to unlock its Excel_Geeky magic.

Like I began doing in 2015, I don't make you email me the "lock code" the file presents to you when you first open it and then email you back the corresponding "key code" to unlock the file. I've automated the process via a webpage. You'll no longer have to submit a PayPal payment to see the "key code".

What you need to 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 when prompted. 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 into the "Lock Code" field found on this linked page. Be sure to delete any leading or trailing spaces/carriage returns added when you paste it. For some reason it normally adds an extra trailing space or carriage return. A valid "lock code" will contain no spaces -- leading, trailing, or otherwise.
  5. Click the "Submit" button.
  6. If you've done everything right, you'll be presented with 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 or if you do it with leading or trailing spaces, you won't receive a "Key Code" or you'll receive an invalid one, and you won't be able to unlock your file. Do not forget this part! One nice thing about me not charging for the file any more is that you can always try again without having to pay again.

These files are protected with a password, so you won't be able to get into all of the inner workings. Sorry, there's some stuff in here, particularly the lock code - key code stuff, that I want to keep locked down for now. If you have some ideas for cool hacks/additions, pass them along, and I'll see what I can do for next year.

So for you folks who must pay me for my efforts, feel free to PayPal me whatever you like:

$5.00     $10.00     $25.00     $50.00

Really you just have to change that dollar amount in the URL --

Thank you and bless you for helping if you can, and best of luck during March Madness, everyone!