Originally Published: Mar 16, 2011 8:17 PM CDT

If we’re all going to compete for the same prize, we must have the same rules.  Mine are not complicated, but they are necessary and helpful.

1.  The statute of limitations for bragging about a win in a bracket pool is 3 years!  Those of you who won the pool because you took the Sooners to the Final Four in 2002 or the Cowboys in 2004 are no longer allowed to crow about it.

2.  If your wife outpicks you by selecting teams with the neatest mascot or coolest color, lie about it to your buddies!  The only thing worse than being outpicked by a person who lives in your house and has seen only three games all season long is knowing that your buddies are aware of it.  Some may even disqualify you from participating with them next year.

3.  I don’t want to hear about how you have that game picked correctly in your other bracket!  Your other bracket isn’t standing between me and the cash.  

4.  Never pick early!  People who have their bracket submitted by 9:00 Monday morning have zero chance to win.  And stop asking me if I’ve turned mine in.  I need time to absorb analysis and marinate in the knowledge and thoroughly confuse myself before I make the same crappy picks that I could’ve made at 9:00 Monday morning.  I’m lazier than you.  Stop making me feel bad about it!

5.  Never show anyone else your bracket!  It’s bad luck.  Plus, what they don’t know won’t hurt them, but could hurt your credibility with them. 

Enjoy the games.