College Football Playoffs FAQ

The College Football Playoff adds a wrinkle to Bowl Pick'em and this explains how it will work and what options are available.

The main issue: While the four playoff teams will be announced in early December, the two semi-final bowl games (the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl) will be played on December 29, and only then will the National Championship matchup be determined.

What will the picksheet look like?

All the bowl and playoff games are available to be included on the picksheet, including the championship game. Before the semi-final games are played (Dec 29), the team selections for the championship game will show as "TBD". As you select your winners for the two semi-final games, the teams you pick will be "advanced" to the championship game, replacing "TBD". You can then select a National Champion from one of those two teams. If you want, you can use a late pick deadline so that people can go back in and change their picks on the final game, as described below.

What options are available for setting the Pick Deadline?

There are at least three options with the pick deadline:

  1. Set it for an early time, say the first game, and don't change it. This will make it harder for people to get the championship game correct since you will have to commit to one of four teams, rather than just two (it's like a mini-bracket in that way). This is especially difficult if your pool is against the spread.
  2. Set it for an early time, and check the box to "Unlock Championship Game once all other games are over". This will open up the picksheet again so that people can change their pick for the Championship game based on the two teams that actualy advance to the final (and based on the spread, if applicable)
  3. Set it for a late time, like kickoff of the Championship game () and leave it. That way you can change your picks for any game that hasn't started yet, and will have plenty of time to lock down your Championship winner after the two final teams are known.

Will the National Championship game be scored "against-the-spread" or "straight up"?

If your pool is set to be scored against the spread then by default, the National Championship will also be scored against the spread that we enter into the system (roughly the day after the teams are decided). If you do not want that to be the case, then you can force a "straight up" pick by going to POOL ADMIN>Set Custom Spreads, and setting the spread to "0.0". You can do that in advance, and you should also make it clear in your written rules (POOL SETTINGS>Written Rules) that the National Championship game will be scored straight up.

Confidence Ranks (confidence pools only)

If you're running a confidence pool, it's going to be difficult to put a confidence number on the final game when you don't know the teams and spread. For that reason, we would recommend using a deadline (option 3 above) so you can shift your ranks around (for the games that haven't started) after the final teams are known. Realize that there are 0 bowl games still to play between and and so you'll still have 1 ranks (including the National Championship) to shift around once the final teams have been determined.

Otherwise, if you have to have an early pick deadline, then as mentioned above, the pool manager can shift the deadline to open up the picksheet again once the teams are known. If the pool manager opens up the picksheet right after the semi-finals are decided, then you actually have 1 ranks to play with. So when you make your picks before the initial pick deadline, use some strategy and assign a nice spread of ranks on those final 1 games. You will then be able to shift them around to reflect how confident you are in the Championship matchup.

If you want to force everyone to use the same specific rank on the National Championship game write us and we can set a fixed rank for that game.

Key Picks (key pick pools only)

If you're running Key Picks pool, read the above paragraphs on Confidence Ranks as the same issues apply.

We hope this helps

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Best Regards and Happy Holidays,