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Tues, Oct 23, 2001

Man's 1,400 Pages of Spreadsheets Still Result in 4-9 Pick 'Em Week

by Willy P. Ondabich

IOWA CITY, IA – Dennis Shulmeyer doesn't understand what went wrong with his NFL picks this week.

     "Look 'it here," said Shulmeyer, showing us 78 pages of his research. "The Saints should have whupped Atlanta by 30 this week."

     Shulmeyer, self-proclaimed football picking expert and part-time father of three, went a paltry 4-9 in his Iowa City Post Office Pool last week, and he has reason to be concerned. He keeps over 1,400 Excel spreadsheets on NFL statistics, updating and studying them continuously.

     Shulmeyer described to us in length the types of data he collects. "You know, I keep statistics on total points, total offense, total defense, total yardage, turnovers- fumbles, interceptions, blocked punts, team vs. team dominance, safeties, sacks, away records, home records, division win-loss records, vs. AFC records, vs. NFC records, ties, the basic stuff," which includes recent (the last five years) and historical (going back to 1906) performances.

     He also has additional spreadsheets tracking weather patterns, astrological trends, and personality traits of the players, including their religious associations.

Randy Moss' Breakfast 10/21
Food Protein (g) Carbs (g) Stamina Endurance
2 Eggs, Scrambled  14 0 Good Fair
Yoplait 8 20 Fair Good
Pineapple Juice 2 27 Poor Fair
Likely overall impact on performance: Slight-to-mild

Above: Page 1,021 of 1,426 of Shulmeyer's data.

     "I've discovered an interesting correlation between the Pittsburgh Steelers' religious fervor from 1976 to 1978 and the success they generated in those years," said Shulmeyer. "When you apply this to the current St. Louis Rams, you'll see that knowing this particular statistic is a godsend."

     "Plus, we found out that Coach Seifert (Carolina Panthers) didn't get any from his wife on Saturday night, our 'inside source' told us there," beamed Shulmeyer's son Robert, 14, an avid follower of his dad's research. "That could possibly explain their futility against the 'Skins," Robert said.

     Twisted Fans asked the elder Shulmeyer what he does when some of his data contradicts itself, e.g., if Team A has won the last 6 games against Team B yet is losing the battle 24-10 lifetime.

     "Right, when a situation like that comes up, I just...." Shulmeyer's voice trailed off slightly. "I just, I just guess, I guess," he whispered, mumbling quietly.

     Professional NFL prognosticators throughout the land say they feel Shulmeyer's pain and can relate to the uncertainty faced by many amateur pickers. "The week that the Pats blew out Indianapolis 44-13, no one could have predicted that," said Fox's NFL expert Cris Collinsworth. "Except Jerry (Glanville); somehow he had New England in that one. He bragged about it the entire week-- even though he went 5-9 with the rest of his picks that week."  Added Collinsworth: "Good call on that one, though."

     Shulmeyer's wife, Marlene, has no comment on her husband's work. So... with all of the mind-boggling surrounding each week's picks, what strategies does Shulmeyer recommend to the novice picker?

     "I guess you should just try and play God like I do," Shulmeyer said. "Like the world's great scientists and the guy from that movie Pi, I will crack this enigmatic code one day. We should keep in touch--one of these seasons I will go 512-0, and that's a promise."

Willy P. Ondabich went 12-1 this week in Pick 'em by employing the strategy of picking the team he initially thought would lose.

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