Except for Rick Neuheisel's NCAA tournament pool--put in $6,400, take home $4.5 million--most office pools are duller than slides of Dick Cheney's angioplasties.
So before you start xeroxing brackets, collecting cash and e-mailing everybody in the office again this year, why not put a little flavor in your office pool for once?
What you need is the Whackit Bracket--devised by my gambler buddy Two Down and overseen with an iron fist by our pool czar, Moodkill Miller, who, I can assure you, came out of the Big House no friendlier than he went in.
The Whackit Bracket is based on a point system. Wins mean nothing. Losses mean nothing. Only points count. Problem is, it's harder to get a point in the Whackit than it is for Ted Kennedy to graduate from Jenny Craig.
For instance, if your team wins but ...
1. you beat a higher seed, you get no point.
2. your team was a university beating a college, you get no point.
3. you didn't cover the point spread, you get no point.
4. you can see your shooting guard's electronic monitoring bracelet under his sock, no point.
5. you can't convincingly name the sex of your team's mascot, no point.
6. you can't convincingly name the sex of your team's cheerleaders, no point.
7. your school's women's team is better than the men's, no point.
8. your coach has a butt that can be considered an at-large berth, no point.
9. the game included the 9,027th shot of Mickie Krzyzewski in the stands, with her head in her hands, no point. (Right. Like she's really worried about Delaware State.)
10. your team has been a member of its conference for more than three days and you can't name it, no point.
You also don't get a point if your team won the game but ...
11. you failed to answer the required follow-up question from Georgia's Coaching Principles and Strategies of Basketball quiz. (Actual question: How many points does a three-point field goal account for?)
12. you tried to use RPI in a sentence.
13. your coach sent his goon in to "break that a------'s arm!" and the guy went over and hacked Billy Packer.
14. your coach wears a two-area-code comb-over ...
15. ... and he flew in Gene Keady to style it.
16. CBS switched away from your game.
17. even Digger Phelps was able to pick the winner.
18. your coach was named Mac Daddy of the Month at the Chi Omega sorority house.
19. that punk J.J. Redick had anything to do with it.
20. more than three of your starters are implicated in under-the-table payoffs.
21. more than two of your starters are implicated in under-the-table payoffs--while checking in at the scorer's table.
22. you have one of those annoying little white guards who slaps the floor on defense.
23. your pep band is still playing Rock and Roll Part II by Gary Glitter.
24. your team's fans did the wave.
25. at some point during the game you went into your lame Dick Vitale impression.
26. you beat a team with a lower party-school ranking.
27. you beat a team John Feinstein wrote a book about.
28. you beat a school with so little chance, it wasn't even on the NCAA's academic-probation list.
29. you beat Fairleigh Dickinson.
30. you are Fairleigh Dickinson.
31. your coach is wearing the Sears Johnny Miller Collection.
32. you beat a team that has an actual living, breathing senior starter on it.
33. you beat a team with a hyphen.
34. you beat a team whose point guard is slower than Maurice Clarett.
35. you beat a school that you never could've gotten into.
36. you thought the phrase "they destroyed their pod" came from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
37. Roy Williams cried.
38. your fans spat tobacco, painted their chests and swore nonstop--even the men.
39. your team is Duke.
You can see why the Whackit has never had a winner. Two Down thought he had won the title last year with UConn, but then he got misty afterward during the One Shining Moment thing, a clear violation of Rule 40. Moodkill ripped the winnings out of his hand and used the money to get his mom a tattoo.
You should've seen Two Down cry then. ‚ñ†
• If you have a comment for Rick Reilly, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Whackit Bracket, if your team wins but your coach has a butt that can be considered an at-large berth, you don't get a point.
PETER READ MILLER