Sullivan, Lopez battle for USC pool win

As some of you have doubtless noticed, I haven’t actually gotten around to posting an official update on the USC and Notre Dame prediction contestsall season long. Um, yeah, sorry about that!

Luckily, commenter and contestant Ken Stern has posted several unofficial updates, most recently on November 11… and if that update was correct (and I have no reason to believe otherwise, indeed my spot-checking confirms his calculations), two contestants — Sean Sullivan and Vicki Lopez — remain alive to win the USC pool, with the outcome to be decided by tomorrow’s USC-UCLA game.

Sullivan and Lopez are among 13 contestants with 9-2 prediction records, but they have the lowest “point differentials” of the bunch, meaning they have come the closest to picking USC’s margin of victory or defeat in each game. Lopez is a total of 104 points off to date, while Sullivan is a total of 106 points off. Sullivan picked USC to beat UCLA by 17; Lopez picked the Trojans to win by 27. That means Sullivan will win if USC either loses or wins by 20 points or less; Lopez will win if the Trojans win by 22 or more. If USC wins by exactly 21 points, they would finish tied, with identical point differentials of 110 and no further tiebreakers to separate them.

Interestingly enough, with the point spread set at 20 by most oddsmakers, the prediction contest almost literally comes down to a question of whether the Trojans cover. If they don’t, Sullivan wins. If they do, Lopez wins, unless they win by exactly 20 (Sullivan still wins) or by 21 (it’s a tie).

Anyway, the big question is, can Lopez (a.k.a. “Vicki from NJ”) finally win a contest? Three times — in the 2005 and 2006 Oscar pools and the 2006 women’s NCAA pool — she has been in position to win heading into the final event of a contest, only to lose at the wire. Can the Trojans win big, and break the “Lopez Curse” tomorrow? :)

In the Notre Dame pool, by the way, Sandy Underpants won, clinching early and never looking back even as he went 1-3 through the last four games of the season. He correctly predicted that the Irish would go 3-9, but he managed to get four games wrong along the way (he thought they’d lose to UCLA and Stanford, but beat Navy and Air Force) to finish with an 8-4 prediction record. That was better than anyone else, though. Andrew Long and Ken Stern, who both thought the Irish would 6-6, tied for second with 7-5 prediction records (both missed the Michigan State, Purdue, UCLA, Navy and Air Force games); Stern finished second on the basis of a lower point differential (183 to 197). No one else got fewer than six games wrong.

I’ll try to post full, official standings of both pools at some point. Maybe by the time the baby starts kindergarten. :)

3 Responses to “Sullivan, Lopez battle for USC pool win”

  1. Anonymous says:

    “maybe by the time the baby starts kindergarten.”

    It’s a different world, don’t blink. (Note: stare at your daughter, not the computer screen)

  2. Keri says:

    I’m pulling for Vicki…..

  3. Vicki from NJ says:

    Thanks for the support Keri. I guess the key to doing well in Brendan’s pools is to forget that you’re even in the running. :) Big money big money, no whammeys!