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Football Predictions League 2015/16 sign-ups

Fog Dude

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So it's mid-July already, and in the height of a busy summer, it's time to get the ball rolling for the coming season's FPL. But first, a reminder of how it all ended up last time. 


Those know where to send a PM will also mostly be kind enough to help this thread along with the occasional "I'm in" bump, so thanks in advance for that. You lot can probably skip the rest of this post.


For the uninitiated, this isn't a place to make overall predictions for the season. For that, comment in the relevant discussion thread or just go straight to a bookmakers. 


Joking aside, this is a season-long weekly competition in which participants try to guess the outcome of matches. There are 3 points on offer for each exact scoreline correctly foreseen, or one point for a right result. There are also various ways of gaining bonus points, but since the demise of the 'Big 4 Gamble' many campaigns back, the main method has been 'Dare 2 Disagree', or D2D... but more on that later.


Most of these 'cards' contain 10 games. There is a treble round with 30 covering Christmas and New Year, a double round at Easter, and 'bumper' rounds (with any number of fixtures) on FA Cup 3rd round weekend and the final day of the season. 


Matches normally must take place between 2pm on a Saturday and 11pm on a Sunday. Updates are usually posted late on Tuesday nights, with the following week's games posted in a new thread early on Wednesday morning. 


Exceptions now include Friday games on all 4 international breaks, as well as Good Friday. In these cases, I try to publish the card by Tuesday morning. There are also Monday matches at Easter and Christmas, and possibly even August and May Day Bank Holidays, when deemed appropriate. 


I've been trying to plan ahead as much as possible, but there are a lot of gaps in my spreadsheet as Sky and BT Sport have been dragging their feet since the fixtures were released, meaning we only know of  live TV games up to the end of September (and even one of those is doubtful if West Ham make the Europa League group stage), rather than November as might be expected.


On top of that, the Italians won't unveil their footballing calendar for another 12 days, but I'm more used to that level of [dis]organisation from Serie A. The basis of the set of 10 on non-international weeks is always the English Premier League, but there'll be regular visits to the SPFL, Ligue 1, Bundesliga and La Liga throughout the campaign, plus the odd trip to the (less popular for some) MLS and A-League.


An experiment with a midweek round many years ago didn't go so well, so there won't be any Champions League included, and the only League Cup game will be the final - which reminds me, there are special rules for cup ties, but we'll cross that bridge when we next come to it.


Right, back to explaining D2D then. Basically, it was invented by previous Predictions League runner Seph as a way to spice things up. Sorry, this is the point when I fall back on quoting myself from previous seasons, rather than trying to explain it with fresh words:


Now and again, it'll be someone's turn to bet on 'their' team - ideally the club you support, but each club can only be allocated to one person, so this obviously isn't possible for the very top teams. It's also first come, first served, which is why you need to send me at least 3 picks for possible D2D teams as quick as you can, in order of preference. And that's all done via private message only so we don't know whose team is whose, however obvious it may be, or which week they'll be called on to make their guess. (e.g. If PunkStep were to play, he'd clearly go for Arsenal, but we'd have to wait until his 'turn' at D2D for that to be confirmed as Harvey Dent might've got there first.)


The game in question will be one of the usual 10, so the prediction will be visible to everyone else and ideally made as early as possible so the rest can decide if they'll agree or disagree with the person whose turn it is. If the D2Der is correct, he gets bonus points for everyone who disagreed with him. Exactly how many bonuses was the subject of some discussion at the end of the campaign before last. It now seems settled at 2 points. The incentive for other players to disagree is that if they're wrong, everyone who disagreed gets bonus point(s) instead. The twist is that there are of course 3 possible outcomes to a game, so if the D2Der goes for a home win and the actual result is a draw, anyone who went for an away win will still get the bonus(es) even though they scored 0 from the match as an ordinary fixture.


Sorry I made it sound so complex, don't want to put off potential new players too much. I never used set restrictions on what D2D teams people can ask for, but as of the past few seasons I've felt it was necessary. Your three or more choices may consist of the following:


No more than 1 international team (i.e. you have to select at least two club sides), who must be involved in World Cup*, Euro 2016 or African Nations Cup qualifying;
No more than 1 team from a country that runs their seasons according to a 'summer' calendar;

Any EPL, FL or National League (National/North/South) club;
Any SPFL, Highland or Lowland League club;
Any club from the top 3 tiers of the French or German league system;
Any club from the top 2 divisions of any other European league; or
Any top-flight club from the rest of the world.

Female, reserve and youth teams are all not allowed.


Your first choice may be a team from below the 6th tier in England or a lower Scottish club, but I reserve the right not to use them unless they go on a run in the FA Cup, FA Trophy or Scottish Cup.

*draw to take place on July 25th in Russia.


It just about works at making things more interesting with 2 points for each person who wrongly disagreed, although the disparity in the number of bonuses accrued by players last season suggests it can prove a tad more decisive than was intended.


He spread turns over the campaign quite evenly, but I try to get them over and done with by February, with the vast majority falling inside the first half of the season, so that everyone knows where they stand for the run-in. 


The card for Week 1 will be posted on August 5th. I've recently had another big upheaval in my household living situation, and luckily that's the first day I expect things not to be hectic where I am.


Whew! Rambling about D2D really doubles the length of these opening posts every season, so apologies for not being more succinct. I think that's enough info for now though. I should have enough space in my inbox. Let the PMs flood in and the questions and confirmations of participation roll!

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Back for more ritual humiliation that doesn't involve paddling.

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The state of play after a week of sign-ups: There have been 14 declared participants so far, including 11 returnees from the 19 people when ended last season. Two of the three newcomers haven't sent any D2D choices yet, although one of them did PM me.


Anyone's welcome to play once the season starts, but if you don't have a D2D team by the time the first international week rolls around, you won't be allowed to continue. You're also disqualified if you miss 3 rounds in a row, which is another thing I probably should've mentioned in the tl;dr 'wall of text' opening post. 


Thanks to all those who've declared an interest so far in spite of all that info having to be digested at once. I do have an idea (shamelessly stolen from the Fantasy Premier League) for a further innovation, but it wouldn't happen until late on in the campaign, and I don't want to complicate things even more right now anyway.


EDIT: Forgot to note that everyone has in principle been allocated their first choice of D2D team so far, but only 5 have been assigned specific matches. Taking into account people's second and third choices, there is some overlap. There's surprisingly little interest in national teams this time, but that might be because the WC qualifying draw hasn't happened yet.

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