Good morning. Thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.
By now, you should have the latest episode of Going For Two available in your podcast feeds. In this episode, we chat with longtime FCS football writer Craig Haley. Haley chats with Bryan and me about whether North Dakota State is now mortal, what we should think about Jackson State’s fast start, and perhaps the biggest and most important question…why the heck is anybody trying to play an FCS football season now?
You can download Going For Two absolutely free, right here. If you enjoy it, your kind words and positive reviews help a *lot*. New Going For Two episodes drop every Wednesday morning.
Speaking of new Extra Points-related projects, in case you missed this before, we have new Extra Points merch! My pals over at Homefield Apparel dropped a new Extra Points t-shirt. If you’ve ever wanted to wear an old-timey college football player holding a cartoonish bag of money on your person, well friend, today is your lucky day.
If you missed it earlier, you can also buy some handsome Extra Points laptop stickers, available here for just five bucks.
You can also get some Extra Points merch for free! Here’s how.
One way to get Extra Points stuff? Tell your friends about Extra Points! If you sign up for our referral program here, you’ll get a special referral code. If somebody signs up (for free) using your code, you get stickers. If lots of people sign up, you’ll get more stuff, like a free Extra Points subscription, the opportunity to pick a newsletter topic, and more.
If you sign up for a regular ol’ paid subscription, I’m also happy to mail you some stickers. If you signed up last week, check your spam folder. You should have gotten an email from me.
Finally, a few of you have decided to sign up for an annual Extra Points subscription at $150/year. You can buy a subscription for just $70 a year, or even just $7 bucks a month. But the generous souls who bought $150/year packages also get an opportunity to get any Extra Points merch released, for free. I mailed out a bunch of t-shirts earlier this week.
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I have one other new idea to share with y’all.
I made a dumb little college football computer game.
A few months ago, I decided I wanted to learn to code a little bit.
The biggest reason? I mean, besides emotionally hedging in case journalism doesn’t work out? I thought that learning a little Python or R might help me better manipulate large data sets, which could help eventually make me a better storyteller. I have loads and loads of spreadsheets and PDFs from various athletic departments saved on my hard drive, and perhaps learning some software skills could help me tease out additional insights from them…or at least, the same insights, but a little bit faster.
So in the evenings, when I was tired of losing in NBA2K, and when it was too cold to work out in the garage woodshop, I plunked along in CodeAcademy and thumbed through a Python book I got from the library.
The other big reason?
Before I got into sportswriting, or writing at all, my childhood dream was to make computer games. Not first-person shooters. Not sports games. Honestly, the games that really captured my attention were the old point and click adventure games. Think King’s Quest, or Sam and Max. Our old family 386DX had a copy of Conquest Of The Longbow, and it just absolutely enchanted me. I think I willed myself into learning how to read just so I could figure out how to play the game. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve beaten it.
As I got older, I realized that 1) I wasn’t particularly good at math and 2)I was an even worse artist, so game-making wasn’t really in my immediate future. I channeled that nerdery into other endeavors instead.
But I don’t think that dream ever entirely died. And as learned about variables and loops and functions and whatnot, my brain started thinking about how to apply those tools into creating something I actually cared about.
I still haven’t learned anything about art, so a true point-and-click adventure game appears out of my grasp. But I am slowly obtaining the skills needed to make text adventures, the precursor to the point and click adventure game. You know, the ones where you tried to get Ye Flask.
So on that note, please enjoy “Where In The World Is The Civil ConFLiCT Trophy”
College football fans might remember the Civil ConFLiCT Trophy as the reward for winning the UConn-UCF rivalry game, a rivalry game that former UConn coach Bob Diaco invented without telling UCF.
It was completely stupid in the way the very best college football things are stupid. I love it. Schools should invent stupid rivalry games more often.
Diaco isn’t at UConn anymore, and the exact location of the trophy now is a mystery. UConn and UCF are scheduled to play this season, but I believe that’s the last scheduled matchup between the schools. The “rivalry” appears destined to only live in our hearts.
This little text-based game allows you to track down the location of the trophy, as Bob Diaco zips across the country with it, Carmen Sandiego style.
You do that by answering college football trivia questions. The game includes 15 possible trivia questions, but each playthrough will only randomly select four of them, so you have an incentive to play multiple times. If you get four in a row correct, you win. Miss a question and Diaco will escape, trophy and all.
Your screen should look like this. You answer the prompts on the right-hand side of the screen.
I’ve tested this several times and let Twitter play a few earlier versions, and it should work, but hey, this was a little game programmed by a dumb amateur, so it’s possible I missed a bug or two.
My next project is to take these principles and create FBS ATHLETIC DIRECTOR SIMULATOR CHALLENGE, which could be good for a few laughs on your lunch break. From there…we’ll see! If people enjoy playing these, I’ll keep poking at them and trying to make them better. If not, that’s okay too…I’ll use them as learning tools to get better at the actually Serious Professional Coding stuff.
One thing I promise to do with Extra Points is be unafraid to try new stuff
Maybe that means telling stories with podcasts. Maybe that means telling stories with open records. Hey, maybe there are stories I can tell with simple computer games, or videos, or other formats. Who knows?
Sadly, because I’m on my own, I have no editor to tell me that my ideas are stupid. So I’m probably gonna try a few stupid ideas.
I have other conventional newsletters coming down the pipe soon, on things like eSports, the Flutie Effect, and more. But for now, enjoy the podcast, and enjoy trying to track down that dastardly Bob Diaco and his priceless piece of college football history.
It belongs in a museum, after all.
Thanks again for your support of Extra Points. If you’d like to sponsor future newsletters or podcasts, or would like to secure a 50% discount code for your university or organization, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have article ideas, story feedbag, bugs to report, or know the actual location of the real Civil ConFLiCT trophy, I’m at Matt@ExtrapointsMB.com or @MattBrownEP.
You can also mail me the trophy at:
Good Spot Publishing LLC
C/O Matt Brown
PO Box 411023
Chicago, IL, 60641