CFB '23 - Week 9 Recap

CFB '23 - Week 9 Recap

The Pullback Before The Storm

Runnin' Rebel flub aides McCombs' claim to top spot

  • Lower Wagering Volumes In Post-Carl World Drive Modest Gains For Field
  • House Of Goss Continues Death-Grip On 9th-Place Despite Best Attempts To Drop Lower
  • Only 5 New Obituaries? Sad!
  • Week 10 Games Already Posted (Sans-Lines, Calm Down)

Your Top 10

The Mature Onioner

We’re in that weird stage of the marathon where we’re past the halfway point but before the final sprint.

The passing terrain that was so enticing in the early morning sunlight when you started, land that speckled with hope and anticipation of the “I-could-see-my-family-spending-some-time-here” grade, is now as barren and uninspiring as a half-full strip-mall of shops near two intersecting 6-lane roads on a grey, cold day (ed. note: Did it seem to anyone else in Week 9 as if the really good games were few and far between?)

There is a water station. Here at the Mile 17 mark, they don’t have as many people to give water to because so many have dropped out, so the sight of a still-functioning human makes them all too giddy. Their enthusiasm annoys you. You wish they’d write shorter emails just hand you the water and mind their own business.

You wonder if that’s a chill coming on, whether you should have kept that light long sleeve top you shed eight miles back. You wonder if you’re weighting on your right leg more than your left, or if the ole sacrum is out of alignment. Is that tingling in my fascia a little too much?

There are a couple Ethiopians way ahead of you that you’re going to mount an effort to chase after. You deny to yourself that you’re likely about to physically instantiate the metaphor of America-with-a-blown-Achilles.

But, it’s too early to step on the gas. So the bulk of the remaining pack does what anyone would do

They pull back a bit.

Well, That’s Not Very Exciting, Commish

Yes, but it merits your attention because it teaches us about us. You’re not playing in a competition for money - you’re lab rats in an experiment of self-realization and discovery. (What did you think this was? Betting?)

Here’s how we can visualize what “pulling back” looks like in the grand scheme of the competition.

The above chart demonstrates the proportion of everyone’s Onions, collectively, that are being wagered.

There is Onions in Circulation, abbreviated as OIC, and there is Amount Wagered as a Percentage of Onions in Circulation, abbreviated as %OIC.

For example, if the total of everyone’s remaining balances is 100,000 (i.e. OIC), and the total of all wagers made in a given week is 75,000, then the %OIC for that week is 75%.

Now, if this were a three- or four-figure real-money entry competition with professionals competing and a $100,000 prize, I find it hard to believe that this amount would exceed 50% in the first, say, half of the competition. Balance management is too important.

But let’s give context to this competition. This is free-to-play, the prize is far lower (sorry) and this is a more casual environment of recreational bettors. Thus, we’re Yolo’ing our way through the year, here. Which is totally fine. Being a casual bettor is fine. Anyone short of Henry Sugar becoming a professional bettor is insane. Not because it can’t be done. It can. People do it to wildly varying degrees of success. But to live like that? My God. Volunteer at a shelter. Grow a plant. Find Jesus. Read some philosophy or history.

Anyway, we left off Weeks 1 and 2 of the above chart because the first is optional and the second is usually Looney Tunes on account of the disproportionate amount of people that go all-in for funsies without necessarily the intention of continuing on with the competition. Since then, we’ve avoided longitudinal examinations in these email because it seemed as if there wasn’t enough of a sample size to draw any insightful conclusions. Now there is — and it coincides with spending habits turning a corner.

In real examinable weeks thus far, this week’s 55.5% represented the lowest %OIC this season. This indicates not just general conservatism, but a more tactical jockeying for position in the peloton. Members of the Polis are trying to position themselves a little bit better (getting to 18th instead of 24th, trailing by 13,000 instead of 16,000, etc.) before what we like to term the Holiday Rush (Weeks 12-14 that occur before, during and after Thanksgiving, and constitute a mad all-in rollover cavalcade of Onions crack).

This trend is also resultant of smaller individual bet sizes while the total number of bets has (momentarily) stabilized. Peep:

The Death Is In The Details

For the first time all season, Average Individual Bet Size (ABS) and Average Total Onions Bet Per Contestant (ATB) both dropped.

As the Average Number of Bets Per Onioner (ABO) graph shows us, it’s not that Onioners are spending less overall but they’re doing it across fewer bets and so average bet sizes are still pretty high. We were trending in that direction until about Week 6, after which point things stabilized around the 2.1 ABO mark.

But this past week, %OIC dropped 20% and the average number of bets actually increased a tiny bit.

All of this amounts to a week with starkly less movement and volatility than past weeks. Casualties have averaged around 20 per week. This week we had 5.

The Top 3 remained the same thanks to a game-tying touchdown pass dropped by a wide-open UNLV receiver in the end zone late last night ( , and the Top 10 mostly just reshuffled, though we did lose No. 5 Amy Parlapiano to Utah +7 and all but lost No. 8 Michael Hirshenson to James Madison -19.

(A quick aside of weirdness: Tyson Goss has sat in 9th place for three consecutive weeks, and his wife Chelsea Goss has sat in 8th, then 7th, then 8th, despite both of them each losing the same amount of Onions (1,910) each of the last two weeks. This is an anomaly that has not graced the top 10 before).

But overall, there’s far less movement.

What to look for in the coming weeks?

%OIC and ABS will shoot to the moon, while ABO will decrease as the chase commences: more people will spend more of their balance across fewer bets.

The question, though, is when does the chase begin? Some time in the next three weeks, for sure. It should probably begin in Week 12, though Week 11 seems like a sweet spot given the potential distance between most people and the top. Plus, all it takes is one big bet from McCombs and Bertolina LLP and everyone tweaks out like it’s the end of the world (see: Louisville, Week 7). All I can say as a reluctant capitalist is that the market will decide.

In the mean time, to quell our anticipation and accommodate the Millennial’s debilitating need for constant excitement, attention, consumption, we offer two distractions.

First, just so those of you remaining can have something to complain about, and so you can begin to handicap your games, Week 10’s games are already posted in the shared sheet. No, the lines are not on there yet. They will come out at their usual Wednesday night time. But you can at least know what material you’re dealing with.

Second, for the curious amount of you who still read these emails despite having lost weeks ago or despite having never played, we’re toying with the idea for all contests across all sports to have more ways to have skin in the game for more weeks, including after they bomb out.

This secondary balance — let’s call it, Shallots — could be bet across either individual-week competitions on certain markets like player props or team props for smaller prize amounts, or they could be used by contestants early-ish on in the season on a few futures bets that they then track until season-end (i.e. bets like Oregon to the Pac-12 Championship, or Michael Penix to win the Heisman). In either scenario, real-money payouts would be awarded based on how the contestant performed in these sub-markets relative to others.

Send your feedback on either of the above — early game posting at the start of the week, and a secondary balance to give more people more skin in the game further into the competition — to

Week 9 Vital Signs

Onions In Circulation Going In To The Week: 118,830

Onions In Circulation Coming Out Of The Week: 122,201

Total Wagered By All Onioners: 65,952 (55.5%)

Average Wagered Per Onioner: 1,570

Average Individual Wager Size: 733

Total Collective Onioner Win or (Loss): 4,374 - 6.6%

Average Win or (Loss) Per Onioner: 73

Games With Highest Handle:

  • Oregon -7 @ Utah — 19,096 (67% on Oregon)
  • 4 more in the 6,000-8,000 range

Biggest Win or (Loss) Either Way For Onioners: (5,915) on Old Dominion @ James Madison -19


We entered the week with 43 of you and left with 38 of you.

Only one of you missed the submission deadline this week.

Deadline Deadbeats:

(43rd) Kyle “Lil’ Jen” Liljenquist —

Commish: Kyle, in spite of recently asking how a push is graded, you are a contest veteran and you know your way around. We don’t want to DQ anyone, but you know we had to do so after you submitted 41 minutes past the deadline, right?
Lil’ Jen: Yeaaayy-yuhhh!!!!
Commish: That was extremely enthusiastic for a reaction to punitive measures. Let’s turn it down about three notches.
Lil’ Jen: Ohhhhh—Kayyyyy!

Those Of You Who Were Wrong Multiple Times:

No one. As mentioned above, you were all very well-behaved Onioners this week.

And Now, The Dearly Departed:

(42nd) Spencer “Should I Use Butter Or (Mc)Ghie?” — This was supposed to be “The Superfat,” but I ran my mouth to Mrs. Onion who, as is always the case, wanted me to be more publicly decent, which is something I habitually rebel against. There was a “concern” that this could be construed as me accusing Spencer of being obese. I’ve seen enough evidence, namely the bow-tie on LinkedIn and the color and verve in the cheekbones, to know that this is not a risk. But, the wife won (marriage, amirite?), and so you have a nickname that is not a proper noun, but a question in the form of a sentence, and sometimes I feel like this whole contest is going in the toilet…

(41st) Cameron “Your Mother Is Going To Be Quite” Cross — Honestly, I’m still rattled about the Ghie thing above, so much so that, hey, look, another nickname that’s a sentence and not a noun! What are we going to round this down to to make it digestible? How would someone address him by this nickname? “Hey, Your Mother!” … (awkward silence). Far be it from an imperious Commish to apologize, but Cameron you deserved better than this, especially after getting punched in the Utah Uterus +7 with your unfortunate decision-making.

(40th) Tanner “I’m a…Slave(ns) 4 U” — So, the thing here, is that recently I laid eyes on a physical copy of Britney Spears’ book. Before you leap to judgement, it is not my own. In fact, it is perennial 9th-placeman Tyson Goss’ book. This raises several disturbing questions that we will address in Tyson’s eventual obituary. But it got me wondering what Britney’s most underrated song was. And since I can only name one of her songs, I chose the only one I knew, which is the eponymous, extremely not PG-13, hypnotic one ( . I now cannot read Tanner’s name any other way. He, too, is a Slave for Kyle Wittingham and the ghost of Cam Rising.

(39th) Amy “Player Piano” Parlapiano — Another one filed under, “you have no idea how good it feels to get this nickname off my chest so I can say it aloud in perpetuity.” I actually thought this was Amy’s name when I first read it, and I haven’t been able to shake it sense. She is, I believe, the winner of the sub-pool of former Sports Illustrated staffers playing this game, so congrats there (oooh, another idea for contestants — mini contests for groups of friends within the larger, national contest). And, to be honest, the name accidentally kind of fits. Leaning on Rice-Eccles defensive magic and fading Bo Nix on the road? Nah. Much like a player piano, you played yourself with Utah +7.

Your Leaderboard Heading Into Week 10