How to Participate

The following comes from the Down the Sidelines forum – learn even more there!

Down the Sidelines is all about predicting what will happen in the sports world, but we’ve created such a format where SMYNjas can participate in some competition, regardless of what level their sports knowledge is. So here’s what you have to do!

STEP 1: Identify your “represented team”

I represent the University of Michigan. Joel represents West Virginia University. Who do YOU represent? Well, it’s easy to determine.

This is a list of the NCAA Division I FBS football schools.

– If you live in the United States and attended one of these schools in your undergraduate college career, you represent this team.

– If you live in the United States and attended a university with no FBS football program, or you have not attended college yet, you represent the FBS team that is geographically closest to where you live in the same state as where you live[/url]. For example, TonyTH lives in Louisville, Kentucky. This means that, even though he roots for the Kentucky Wildcats, he represents the Louisville Cardinals for the purpose of these predictions. This prevents fandoms that may jump over state lines, regardless of if they are justified or due to a bandwagon effect. Feel free to use Google Maps to calculate geographic distance. A difference of 10 miles will be seen as negligible and then it is your decision who to represent.

– If you live outside the United States and did not attend an American university with an FBS football program, congratulations! Feel free to pick any team to “represent.”

STEP 2: Understand how sports odds work

Let’s take a look at this college football line here…
Ohio at Penn State (-10.5)

– The second listed team is the home team
– The number in the parentheses is the over/under point spread
– A negative number in the parentheses means the home team is projected to win by that number
– A positive number in the parentheses means the away team is projected to win by that number
– For those curious, we select these lines from USA Today’s opening odds.

You will not be picking the winner/loser of this game. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

– Predicting PENN STATE in this matchup means that you believe Penn State will defeat Ohio by MORE THAN 10.5 points. For our purposes, the favored team equaling the point spread will result in a WIN if the participant picked the favored team.
– Predicting OHIO in this matchup means that you believe Ohio will defeat by Penn State by any margin OR that Penn State will defeat Ohio by LESS THAN BUT NOT EQUAL TO 10.5 points.

STEP 3: “I don’t know much about sports, why should I participate, again?”

Well then, you have a 50/50 shot! What’s the harm in a little haphazard guessing?

The reason why we run this is to foster some friendly competition between SMYNjas. Can you end up with a prediction percentage better than Joel and I this week? How about at the end of the season? Will you be crowned as this year’s “Prediction Champion” for a given sport, as it will be noted on your forum profile? Not only is there individual competition, but we also hope to bundle SMYNjas together based on divisions of represented schools, so you can compete as a team! We’re also willing to take any suggestions you may have to make this more fun.

Again, it’s not about what you know or what you don’t know. What matters is that we all have fun, here on the friendliest fan forum on the ‘net.

So if you have decided to participate in this, please JOIN THE ROLL CALL HERE!