LITTLE ROCK — A diehard Aggie, the Poolsville winner is fiscally irresponsible, but honest, and still clings to athletic accomplishments from 35 years ago.

LITTLE ROCK — A diehard Aggie, the Poolsville winner is fiscally irresponsible, but honest, and still clings to athletic accomplishments from 35 years ago.


Whether sympathy for such a character justifies a waiver from Vince Lombardi’s "Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser" assertion is unclear, but Chris Papacek must be congratulated for earning the coveted Ramon Escobar Trophy and the $800 first-place check in the season-long college football picking competition.


Although the standings were final moments after Alabama 45, Clemson 40, coronation of Papacek has been on hold because one of Poolsville’s 150 also-rans, Larry Brannan, questioned the complicated computations that determine the winner. So far, the provocateur has been stonewalled in pursuit of raw data from the bowl games much like Bernie Sanders in his quest for numbers from the Iowa caucuses.


Asked about a rumor that the Poolsville CEO had taken a leave of absence to handle the vote-counting formula for the Democratic Party in Iowa, a party spokesman said only that there was nobody with the initials M.D. on the payroll.


It was M.D. who provided the revealing Q and A with the winner.


Asked about plans for his new-found wealth, Papacek said:


"Having two kids, 14 and 9, an $800 windfall feels like the financial equivalent of hitting the $1.5-billion Powerball right now. But at the end of the day, it feels like ‘found money’ and it just doesn’t feel right to do the responsible thing and pay bills or put it in one of the kid’s college funds."


Instead, he shared the name of someone who might be hired to pen a Poolsville haiku, providing, among other things, it does not mention anything Auburn.


Where to display the spray-painted gold trophy is a question every champion must answer.


"I will find a space in the trophy room of my estate worthy of such an achievement," Papacek said. "I’m thinking just below the mounted chupacabra but in between my sixth-grade Soccer Arkansas State Championship trophy … and my … faux-granite plaque for Outstanding Sales Achievement in Overactive Bladder Prescriptions. I think the lighting will really highlight the fine craftsmanship of the Ramon Escobar Trophy.


My 2014 trophy is on a shelf above the desk next to a framed and autographed plaque commemorating the day that a teen-aged grand-daughter actually answered her cell.


For the curious, a glimpse of the hardware might be available Oct. 8 when Papacek and another Aggie/Poolsviller attend the A&M-Tennessee game.


Papacek’s winning strategy was shaped when he faltered late in the 2014 competition and others stabbed winning underdogs. In 82nd place after week eight this year, he made up ground when the underdogs he picked the first week of the bowl games all won.


"That being said, if I had been near the top of the standings, I doubt I would have made the same Week One picks," he said. "It was my Poolsville equivalent of a Hail Mary. There is freedom in desperation."


Meanwhile, former reporter Brannan has employed his wealth of journalistic skills to investigate how he could have a W-L record that was better than 13 people and equal to five others and trail all 18 in the standings.


In Iowa, after the Democrats recalculated the secret raw numbers and decreed that Hillary Clinton lost 0.122 state delegate equivalents, Sanders’ folks glazed over and gave up. Brannan will do the same once he is bombarded with tutorials on bonus points, benefits of winning in overtime, the exaggerated value of playoff games, and the mysterious "Big Five Bonus" contests.


For those who plan to pay the $10 entry fee next year for $100 worth of fun and anguish, some parting advice from the champion: "… no matter how solid and unbeatable a team looks on paper and all the talking heads are propping them up on ESPN, if it shows up as a pick in Poolsville there’s ALWAYS a chance for the underdog."


Harry King is sports columnist for GateHouse Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. Email: hleonk42@gmail.com