chump? not so much.


After watching Texas Tech absolutely lock down Michigan State in Saturday’s semifinal, Sports Chump — if he had been following the possible outcomes of the Thirteenth Practically Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub) — was probably sweating.

Mr. Chump picked a high score in the final, so if it came down to the tiebreaker, his pick was looking a little rough.

The Chump and Scooter From The Land of  Suburban Shooting Guards both finished with six points, on the strength of UVA making it to the title game. Scooter’s tiebreaker total was 136 points — a feasible guess as it turned out, given Tech’s defensive strength. Chump’s tiebreaker total was 164 points, which, as previously mentioned, would require more offense than Tech generally allows.

And here’s the interesting thing. At the end of regulation, the score was tied at 68 — or a combined total of 136 points.

Scooter? I’m sorry. You were so close.

But the 26 points scored in overtime gave this year’s TPAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) title to Sports Chump. I know Mr. Chump is named Chris, and that he lives in the Tampa, Florida, area — Jackets in seven, by the way — but we’ve never met in person. Mr. Chump, the choice is yours — if you’re going to be in Pittsburgh anytime soon, I’ll be happy to offer you tips on spending $50 at Piper’s Pub; if you have a local pub or brewery where fifty bucks might come in handy, I can PayPal you or send you a check — if that’s the case,
email me the pertinent details.

I wasn’t going to do AUCNFFC this year. But once again, it made the tournament more fun than it would be if I were just watching my office brackets go down in flames. Will I do it again next year? Uh. Maybe?

(Will I post anything on Uncle Crappy between now and then? C’mon, guys — let’s not get too crazy here.)

Regardless of what happens here in March 2020, I appreciate your participation, your support, and your lousy basketball picks — I mean, I almost won this thing myself.

Thanks, yinz.

ok. fine.

North Carolina v Duke

The traffic on Uncle Crappy always seems to bump up a bit about the middle of March, even when I haven’t posted anything here in … let’s see … JESUS CHRIST, NOT SINCE LAST YEAR’S TOURNAMENT ENDED.


I am no longer good at this blogging thing — mostly because that part of my brain is currently occupied by newsletters — but I think I can still run a pretty decent college basketball pool.

(Note: I’m going to be a terrible college basketball bettor this year — as in, even worse than usual — because my only real interest has been in making sure Zion Williamson is healthy when the Cavs draft him in June)

So. Here is your formal announcement of the Thirteenth Practically Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub), or what we’ll refer to as TPAUCNFFC (BTYBPP).

If you’ve done this before you know the drill. And if you haven’t (or if you need a refresher)? I present … the drill:

  • Once the tournament is set on Sunday, find yourself a copy of the bracket. If you can’t manage that, I should probably disqualify you from the TPAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) right now. Print it and fill it out, using whatever method you prefer.
  • After consulting your bracket, pick the four teams — one from each region — that you think will win the regional championships and travel to the Final Four in Minneapolis.
  • After consulting your bracket again, pick the two teams you think will win the national semi-final games on April 6.
  • Consult your bracket once more, and pick the team from your semi-finalists who will win the title game April 8.
  • How do I figure out who wins? You get two points for picking a correct Final Four team, four points for a correct semi-finalist and six points for a correct national championship pick. Assuming I can add correctly (and there is no guarantee of that, boys and girls), the entry with the highest point total is our winner.
  • Yes, there is a tie-breaker and, yes, as we’ve seen several times, tiebreakers are important. When you submit your pick, please also include your projected score for the championship game. If it’s necessary, the entry whose total score is closest to the real thing will be our winner. Note: We do NOT follow the Price Is Right rule; the closest total, over or under, wins.

Still confused? I’ll be back on Monday with examples, along with a series of nagging posts to make sure I get as many entries as possible. Until then, here are a couple of other things to keep in mind:

  • One thing to make sure you don’t do: Send me money to enter. As has always been the case, TPAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) is free.
  • In the first four years of the contest, we were competing for cheesy trinkets and I usually included a disclaimer that our FABULOUS PRIZES weren’t actually fabulous. And then Chris at Bocktown Beer and Grill blew that out of the water by putting up a gift card to the contest’s winner. As my beloved Bocktowns have since closed — one very big factor in the decision to take a year off — I am putting up a similarly Actually Fabulous Prize — a $50 gift card at Piper’s Pub, on Pittsburgh’s Historic South Side. And I make this promise without any actual knowledge if Piper’s actually offer gift cards. Whatever. We’ll figure it out.
  • Note: If you’re an out-of-town contestant, you may opt for the equivalent cash value of the gift card, which is, uh, approximately $50.
  • The tournament’s real games (the ones that used to be called the first-round games) get underway around 12:15 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, March 21; I’m not a huge stickler, but I’ll need to have your entries by noonish that day for you to be eligible (see the Melo Rule below).
  • How do you enter? Comment. Email. Twitter. DM. Text. Facebook. Carrier pigeon. Please feel free adding whatever commentary you wish regarding how you arrived at your picks; each entry will be listed in a comprehensive post that’ll show up at some point Thursday, not unlike this example from a year ago.

And finally, the fine-printy things:

The Juan Rule: As is tradition, Juan, oh he of very little basketball knowledge, will once again be entered against his will, using either the Phil’s Mom Method or, if Phil’s mom isn’t picking this year, the Penny-Flipping Method.

The Melo Rule: Should an unforeseen thing happen with a player, a coach or a booster that might, in your opinion, have an impact on your already-completed entry, fear not. You may tinker as much as you like until I close the entries at noon on the tournament’s opening day.

The Crappy Rule: If I were to come out on top of my own contest (and believe me, boys and girls, there is very little chance of that happening), the Piper’s gift card would be awarded to the next runner up (although I retain full bragging rights, which I would exercise almost daily until next year’s contest). Mrs. Crappy, should she remember to get her entry in on time, does her own work and is therefore eligible to win the Piper’s gift card (as long as she uses it to take me to dinner).

To summarize:

  • Free.
  • Easy.
  • Deadline is noon Thursday.
  • Fifty bucks at Piper’s for the winner.

Have any questions? Let me know. Otherwise, good luck to everyone — especially me Mrs. Crappy.

oh, you.

thad laughing

You thought there wasn’t going to be a Tenth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Bocktown)? Heh. That’s funny.

teh suck.

The NFL’s season is underway, and that means I’m once again immersed in far too many fantasy football leagues for a rational person to keep track of. Moreover, I’m already not doing so hot, in large part to an injury to one player in particular:


In terms of pro football stuff, I’m not a homer, at least not in the sense that I go out of my way to pick up Browns players. Because that would be stupid.

But I do look for former Buckeyes who can contribute, and this year, Gonzo was going to be the guy. With the departure of Marvin Harrison from Indy, he was moving up to the No. 2 receiver slot and, I thought, was set for a big year.

And then I recall hearing about his injury Sunday, while I was trying to nap on the way back home from Columbus.

In my Plurk league, I lost to Trannyhead by 14 points; I think Gonzo’s presence could have turned that into a win. I get BurghBaby in that league this week; she’s 1-0, but she could manage just 89 points on the first weekend — I had 102, the highest point total of any loser — so I think I’ll be in decent shape there.

In the YinzTeam league, the story was the same. I lost to Justin by around nine points — a healthy Gonzo probably would have made me a winner. Instead, I’m 0-1 and ready to get spanked by the Mean Gene Machine on Sunday.

I don’t have Gonzo in the Greater Bridgewater Area Press Association League. And it didn’t matter. We don’t play head-to-head here, and my 175 points were good for just third place out of four. Yikes.

And how goes The Bet, the annual pick-’em extravaganza between me and Mrs. Crappy? She’s up already, but that has more to do with me being an idiot than Gonzo’s injury. Nothing unusual there.

Sigh. It’s going to be a long season, fantasy-wise.

fantasy-tastic, week six

The word this week? Rough.

Yinz League — Butler Bernies

I knew this loss was coming, from the moment I saw it on the schedule. The Bernies played STBD Gets Sporty, owned by last year’s champion — and we got waxed. That loss drops me to 4-2 — still good for the season, but last among playoffs-bound teams if the postseason were to begin today.

The good news? This week I get Norm’s Keystoners, who play like they’re, well, keystoned. Norm’s team has been scoring just 66 points a game, and I think I should be able to take ’em.

GBAPA League — Butler Braylons

No. I didn’t change in the team name because its namesake has had a lousy season so far.

No. I also didn’t play him in Monday’s game, when he had a freaking career night. Oh well.

I’m still stuck in fourth place here. The gap between the leader and me, however, is growing.

Pick ‘Em

College: Still in third place, 10 points down. Pro: Still in third place, eight points down.

The Bet

I made conservative picks this week. So did The Wife. In fact, our picks were exactly the same. That’s a wash, and I maintain my narrow lead.

fantasy-tastic, week five.

While I had a setback in the league I want to win the most, I’m happy with the season so far. Here’s a look:

Yinz League — Butler Bernies

The inevitable finally happened — the Bernies lost. My team actually came through with a solid day — 106.23 points was outstanding, compared with with my scoring average of 89.35 through the first four week — but TehJim crushed me anyway by scoring 141.97.

Next up is STBD Gets Sporty, the team that sits just behind the Bernies in fifth place. Justin is the defending league champion and his team has been scoring at a 98-points-a-game pace, so my work is cut out for me once again.

GBAPA League — Butler Braylons

Sucking. Absolutely sucking. Actually, that’s not true — I’m still in fourth place here, but it just doesn’t seem like I’m getting any traction. A major lineup juggling session is on the way.

Pick ‘Em

Third in the college pool (meh), third in the pro pool (yay!). Time for a run.

The Bet

The Wife and I split the college and pro games we picked differently, so I’m maintaining my lead. I was brilliant in picking Vandy to upset Auburn; I was clearly stretching when I picked Nebraska to beat Missouri.