For some, football fantasy leagues are a way to keep up with the game. For others, they are a way to keep in touch with friends. For me, they are a way to keep my bank account full of cash.
Last week, Bovine University wrapped up its second consecutive college fantasy football title. It was no small feat in a league filled with self-proclaimed college football gurus, where pride is often more important that the money exchanged.
Playing college fantasy football takes a different breed. There is no website to help you keep track of statistics and points – all the work must be done by hand by scouring websites and boxscores. Your best resource is often local newspapers, but even then, due to the way college coaches handle injuries, it is difficult to know whether or not a player will see game time. In addition, there are several nuances to the college game different than the professionals.
The scoring system is similar to NFL fantasy, with teams getting six points for a touchdown rushing or receiving, four points for a touchdown passing, etc. A nice twist is that double points are given for touchdowns of more than 50 yards.
But my favorite aspect of this league is that it is a keeper league – you keep the players beyond the season. If you have never played in a keeper league, well, you are just letting the best in life pass you by.
I created my team based on a few simple principles. First, never select a player that you have any kind of attachment to other than he is simply your fantasy player. This means you shouldn’t be blinded by the fact that you went to the spring game of your favorite team and its starting running back looked really sharp. Similarly, don’t select a player that you are morally opposed to playing. In the championship game, my opponent couldn’t bring himself to play Maurice Clarett against Michigan and suffered as a result.
Second, whenever possible, select players from teams that run up the score (i.e. Kansas State and any Pac-10 team).
Third, never pick a player that is dubbed a “spiritual leader” of the team. This is the kiss of death. For example, you don’t want to be stuck with Oklahoma’s Nate Hybl. Behind these few beliefs my starting lineup consisted of the following players: Arizona State’s Andrew Walter at quarterback (a nifty choice for replacing an injured Jason White); Kansas State’s Darren Sproles and Southern Mississippi’s Derrick Nix at running back and Washington’s Reggie Williams and Stanford’s Teyo Johnson at the wide receiver slots.
I knew repeating was going to be tricky and I was getting no respect from the other league owners. But just like the season before, no expectations is what I thrive on – in life and in college fantasy football.
In the regular season, I jumped out to a 6-2 record, but had troubling losses against two rivals of mine, one of which included a foolish $50 side bet (more than twice the entry fee). Then in the season’s final two games, I backed my way into the playoffs with a loss and tie against arguably bigger rivals.
Luckily for me, all that matters is the postseason, in which Bovine thrived. I demolished my first round opponent then avenged a previous loss in the second round to earn a championship berth.
But in checking schedules for the championship game, much to my chagrin, the suspension of Michigan State’s Jeff Smoker (foiled again by Sparty) left me with a gaping hole at quarterback for the title game. My only chance to win was if I faced my friend C-Dog in the title game, who was in the same predicament due to a bye week for Florida and Rex Grossman – and as luck would have it, that is exactly who I faced.
Of course, I then cruised in the title game to get my second ring.
The early buzz I’ve created around the league for next season is a Bovine University dynasty, which I’m not quite ready to embrace.
Oh, who I am kidding? Is there a more dominant mind in college fantasy football?
Jeff Phillips can be reached at email@example.com.