In my office pool of 32 people, I was in a solid 25th place after last weekend's first two rounds. I'm sure that stat won't improve after this weekend, especially since I just lost Duke, which I had picked into the title game.
After last weekend's games, I had already lost three elite eight teams and seven sweet 16 teams. That was a lot of games yet to be played that you knew you weren't going to get any points out of.
I was in Denver last weekend watching second and third round games at the Pepsi Center. The crowds always get all giddy for lower seeds and upsets. The fans in Colorado were ecstatic when Morehead State shocked Louisville and when Richmond dumped Vanderbilt.
I like a dramatic finish as much as the next guy, which both of those games had. However, I just like the drama a lot more when my team wins. I had gotten my tickets through Vanderbilt and was sitting in the Commodores section so I found myself cheering for the SEC school. I also had watched Louisville make an impressive run to the Big East tournament final a week previous.
Thus, I had picked Vandy and the 'Ville to win first round games and Louisville to reach the Sweet 16. I wasn't chiming in with the masses and pulling for Morehead State and Richmond. On a side note, I won't knock Morehead State fans, but the Kentucky school's fans did look like they attended a lot of NASCAR races as well.
The frustrating thing for me and my bracketology has been that I take a little pride in doing pretty well in the old office pools. I'm usually still in the hunt to win the pool going into Final Four weekend and more often than not, my pick to win it all is often still playing when the tourney's final games roll around. Plus, I seem to win the pool every few years, like I did last year.
At least I can still say that my champion is alive. I picked Kansas to cut down the nets. I try to avoid picking the sexy pick everyone jots down, like Ohio State this year. Certainly Kansas is not Cinderella but if you pick the overall favorite and they win, you still have to fight a bunch of other people in your pool for the top prize.
I guess you could say I've got the bracket blues. It's tough to not be in the hunt this early still. The likes of Pittsburgh, Texas A&M, Missouri and Syracuse losing early killed my bracket in a big way.
I shouldn't get too down. As I said, most years I'm still in the office pool hunt which makes the games even more interesting. It's just an off year. Now, here's what makes the whole situation a little tougher to handle. My son may be the most sports savvy five-year-old out there, but he's in third place right now.
I'm getting whooped by my five-year-old. If he wins, as his guardian I'll have to oversee that spending of his $150 in winnings. It's only the right thing to do.
If he does indeed win the pot, hopefully, he'll buy me some ice cream. That's what I'd do for him.
Dan Eckles is the Sparks Tribune's sports editor. He can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org