I can’t think, off the top of my head, of a more prestigious award in all of sports than to be named champion of the Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge.
And starting this week, you have a chance to add your name to that illustrious list (which you can do by participating in the Eighth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Bocktown).
Here’s a year-by-year recap of our contests — and our champions.
2006: AUCNFFC had a modest beginning. So modest, in fact, that it warranted just a single paragraph in an entry that was mostly about our cat. The modest start attracted a modest field; just seven people, three of whom were badgered by me into participating and a fourth who flat out refused but was entered by me against his will, entered. Of course, that tiny field resulted in a three-way tie for the championship: Mr. Burns (you’ll be hearing his name again shortly), Fred and Yours Truly. I think Mr. Burns and Fred each got a fabulous prize* of some kind, and I may have bought myself a beer.
2007: This was the year that I learned to hate the entire state of Florida; not only did my football Buckeyes lose to the Gators in January’s national championship game, but the basketball Buckeyes lost to UF for the hoops title as well. But it was a good year for Mr. Burns, who won a share of the AUCNFFC championship for the second year in a row.
2008: We had 18 entries, and if I recall, a whole bunch of us picked North Carolina to win that year’s title. Kansas was the champion, and the Most Reverend Father Spoon was one of the few to pick the Jayhawks making it to the title game. I don’t honestly recall what all of the fabulous prizes* were over the years, but because I took a picture of Doug, I know he won a trophy, pictured above, and an autographed, circa-1984 picture of me, which I’m sure he still cherishes.
2009: We bounced to 24 entries, including the by-then standard paragraph-long annual opus by Kewyson and the first year that Gina allowed her pets to make her picks for her. Mrs. Crappy was a winner, in the sense that North Carolina won the title — something she didn’t actually witness, because she went to bed early — but Kewyson was our FAUCNFFC champion.
2010: This was the year that the prizes became actually fabulous — because this was the year that Chris Dilla began offering up a Bocktown gift card to the AUCNFFC winner. Who got the first one? Out of 37 entries, Mr. Burns — who would have made me draw his picks for him again, until I threatened to write him down for all 15 seeds — won an unprecedented third AUCNFFC championship.
2011: Another year, another Bocktown gift card — and another increase in the number of contestants, up to 38. This was the year that I swore off ever picking Pitt to win an NCAA tournament game again (good advice for this year, boys and girls); it was also a close one, with Tim and Ted both picking the correct champion — UConn — and Bocktown regular Tim winning on the tiebreaker.
2012: And hooboy, would that tiebreaker thing become important. Three people — Barb, Otimemore and Casey — not only correctly picked Kentucky as the eventual NCAA champion, but Barb and Casey both picked the same total — 151 points — as their tiebreaker. Fortunately for both, Chris Dilla stepped up and gave both a Bocktown gift card, making both Barb and Casey happy and setting a potentially dangerous precedent for the future.
2013: We’re in our eighth year, Bocktown is on board again — and although it’s already Monday, I have exactly zero entries for EAUCNFFC. If you’re not sure how it works, you’ll find everything you need to know right here.
Get your entries in soon, boys and girls — the fun is about to begin.
*Prizes weren’t actually fabulous at that point. That started in 2010, when Chris Dilla began Bocktown’s sponsorship.