Tuesday, December 1, 2009

College Football Fantasy

If you don't read Ed The Sports Fan, I strongly suggest you do. It's a great site run by Ed and Kenny, two incredibly knowledgeable, passionate sports fan who tell it like it is. And these two come up with some awesome ideas, most recently The 1st Annual College Football Fantasy Draft, which Kenny and Ed kindly asked me to take part in Sunday night along with their man Brandon Lewis.

Essentially, the concept behind it was to draft a 10-player team of college football players from the past 20 years, five on defense and five on offense, including at least one QB, one RB, two WRs, 1 DB, 1 LB, 1 DL and 1 CB. Then we were asked to pick a coach as well as one player we would add after the fact. Plus, we all were asked to break down some rounds, myself being tasked with rounds 1, 5 and 9, as well as vote on who we think had the best and worst teams, excluding our own. Due to my lack of reading directions, I went a bit overboard on my round breakdowns, so Ed cut some. Here, with Ed's permission, I'm reposting what he put up, along with my added commentary that had to be cut due to space. Enjoy, and make sure to head over and read the article there as well and leave some comments for Ed, Kenny and B-Lew to check out.

From Ed (with my extra copy):

Yep, we're at it again.

This all started on twitter, and the topic of conversation was focused around if you had to pick one player to start your all-time college football team, who would it be and why. The debate ranged from the current "Great White Hype" that is THE Tim Tebow, to the ever mercurial and loquacious, yet utterly clutch and dynamic Vince Young, to the multi-talented and savvy defensive playmaker in Charles Woodson. This debate raged for hours, and then the light-bulb in my head went off...

Let's do a fantasy draft.

So I got 3 buddies of mine to help contribute to this fantasy draft project. The Reverend Paul Revere who writes a candid and at times flagrant sports blog called The House That Glanville Built, Kenny Masenda aka Soul On Ice who is a regular writer here at ETSF, check out his most recent post on Batman & Robin, NBA Style, and our esteemed colleague Mr. Brandon Lewis aka B-Lew, who is a (sigh) lifetime Texas fan who always provides the Longhorn perspective.

Please be advised that because we are all in our mid-20's (some closer to 30 lol) we decided to use college football players from the last 20 years. He had to pick 5 offensive players and 5 defensive players to create a balanced 10-team roster, plus we had to choose our all-time coach. Let the chicanery, buffoonery, debauchery, and utter tomfoolishness begin.

Round 1

Rev: RB Reggie Bush - USC
Ed: QB Vince Young - Texas
B-Lew: QB Tim Tebow - Florida
Kenny: DB Charles Woodson - Michigan

From Rev: The first round had an explosion of talent right from the get-go. Reggie Bush won two national championships and a Heisman trophy, and he did things like this 

 

He was my first pick because he's the single greatest college football player I've ever seen play in person. During my senior year at Penn State, I ventured out to South Bend to visit my cousin and take in the USC-Notre Dame game -- the unbeaten Irish take on the Trojans in 2005. USC won by the hair on their chinny, chin, chin 34-31 because of one man and one man only -- Reggie Bush. In that game, Bush was completely unstoppable, miles better than anyone, and I mean anyone, else out on that field. He finished the game with 160 yards on 15 carries and three scores, all of which were spectacular: a 36-yarder, 45-yarder and 9-yarder. He also nabbed four catches for 35 yards ... and oh yeah, lent a helping hand to his quarterback on the winning score. 
 

 
 


That's why I picked Bush first overall. He's the most spectacular college player I ever saw. 
 
Of course, Ed's pick of Vince Young is equally as impressive. His coming out party was undoubtedly the 2005 Rose Bowl, when he pulled superhuman maneuvers to defeat Michigan 38-37. VY ran for 192 yards and a ridiculous four touchdowns, threw for 180 more yards and a score, and led the Longhorns into field goal range for the winning kick. He was so incredible that he made Michael Vick at VA Tech look like Byron Leftwich -- slow and plodding. That's nearly impossible to do. To follow up, all Vince did was beat the team that was impossible to beat the following season, the undefeated USC Trojans, 41-38, again in the Rose Bowl. 
 

 

USC, widely considered the fastest, most fierce defense in the nation, couldn't keep up with VY even if they were chasing him down with rocket boosters on their backs. Vince simply toyed with the Trojans to the tune of 200 yards rushing and three scores on just 19 carries and 267 yards through the air on 30 of 40 passing. He made everything look so easy, and most impressively, he made USC look slow. Name another player that's made a Pete Carroll USC defense look slow. You can't. Great pick by Ed. 

Next up, B-Lew nabbed Tim Tebow, making two straight picks at QB. Tebow’s credentials are undeniable: two national championships, a Heisman, tons of SEC records to boot. He’s a phenomenal leader, intense competitor and by all accounts a great human being. I’d love him if he was leading my team. But I’m not going to gush over him other than to say another excellent pick. The guy is a winner. There’s plenty of stories out there slobbing Tebow’s knob, if that’s your sort of thing. 

To wrap up the first round, Kenny threw a curveball in the system, going with a defensive player. But he didn’t just go with any defensive player. No, he used his first pick to take Charles Woodson, the last and probably final defensive player to win the Heisman trophy. 

 

As a Penn State alum and diehard fan, trust me, I know all about Charles Woodson. Simply put, he’s the greatest collegiate cornerback I’ve ever laid eyes on, making more game-changing plays than any other defensive back in my lifetime. Even more impressively, he could change the outcome of a game without even making it on the television screen. Opposing quarterbacks were terrified of giving Woodson the chance to get on Sportscenter, staying away from him all game long. His presence could take away the opposition’s best wide receiver threat, because if Woodson locked up on him, he wasn’t getting many balls thrown his way. And when he did, Woodson was there to break them up or pick them off. If there was ever a defensive player worth a first-round pick, it was Charles Woodson. 

Round 2

Kenny: QB Sam Bradford - Oklahoma
B-Lew: WR Randy Moss - Marshall
Ed: RB Adrian Peterson - Oklahoma
Rev: DE Julius Peppers - UNC

From Ed: I think round 2 was when we knew that things were going to be pretty interesting, Kenny made probably the boldest draft choice since the Pistons drafted Darko Milicic ahead of Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh. Ken's pick of OU's Sam Bradford was both a surprise and a great debate. Bradford will go down as the greatest passing QB in OU history yet didn't end his career on his own terms. B-Lew's selection of the biggest playmaker in Randy Moss ruined my personal draft board. I took Adrian Peterson for a couple of reasons: #1. I am a homer. #2. I've never seen a tailback run like Adrian Peterson did in my life. #3. I am a homer. Rev's choice of Julius Peppers brought back memories of QB sacks and alley-oop dunks as Peppers was a major force in the ACC, ruining offensive lineman's ego one sack at a time.

Round 3

Rev: WR Charles Rogers - Michigan St
Ed: LB LaVar Arrington - Penn St
B-Lew: DB Dre Bly - UNC
Kenny: RB Ricky Williams - Texas

From B-Lew: In the 3rd round the best overall pick would be none other than Texas RB Ricky Williams. His senior season was one for the ages. Taking home the Heisman in 1998 and breaking the all-time rushing record. Not to far behind would be DB Dre Bly, out of North Carolina. He is only one of five players to become a 1st team All-American in his freshmen season. Also he held the all-time interception record as well. Lavar Arrington was a solid pick as well. He was an All Big-Ten selection, twice a first team All-American, and he won the 1999 Chuck Bednarik, the Dick Butkus and the Lambert Award awards for his defensive prowess. Charles Rogers only breakout season was in 2002, where he won the Biletnikoff Award.

Round 4

Kenny: SS Sean Taylor - Miami
B-Lew: LB Derrick Brooks - FSU
Ed: Peter Warrick - FSU
Rev: WR Calvin Johnson - Georgia Tech

From Kenny: I honestly believe I had the best pick with Sean Taylor at safety. Peter Warrick was my dude in college, and even had his #9 jersey. Calvin Johnson was dominant back in Tech, as was Derrick Brooks at FSU. I’ve simply seen Taylor make too many plays for the ‘Canes back then for him to be below anyone else.

Round 5

Rev: FS Ed Reed - Miami
Ed: SS Roy Williams - Oklahoma
B-Lew: WR Roy Williams - Texas
Kenny: QB Tommie Frazier - Nebraska

From Rev: I got things rolling in the 5th round by grabbing Ed Reed to solidify my secondary. The U has had so many incredible talents on the collegiate level that it’s just insane, and few have ever been more athletic and more dangerous than Reed. Not only would he lay the wood and strike fear in receivers going over the middle, but once he got the ball in his hands, whether it be on an interception, fumble or punt return, he was a threat to go the distance – which he carried over quite well to the pros. He had the speed of a corner, hit like a linebacker and ran like a running back. Essentially, the perfect safety. 

Speaking of hard-hitting safeties, Ed went with his homeboy Roy Williams out of Oklahoma. While his troubles defending the pass in the NFL are well-documented, in college, Williams was as fierce a safety as I’ve ever seen. As far as bone-jarring, fear-inducing hits, no one this side of Sean Taylor was as good as Roy Williams. He wasn’t just a solid safety, he was a great safety, perhaps the best defensive player in the country on those swarming Oklahoma defenses. This ain’t no reach for Ed. Roy Williams was the truth for the Sooners. 

B-Lew liked Ed’s pick so much that he couldn’t resist picking a Roy Williams of his own, this one the wide receiver out of Texas. Perhaps a hometown stretch considering the vast array of talent at wide receiver over the past 20 years, but who am I to judge? Williams was an unstoppable force at Texas, using his size and strength to leave defensive backs in his wake. He may not have been on my radar at wideout for this draft, but I certainly remember how dominant and, frankly, damn good he was as a Longhorn. Not 8,000 draft picks in a trade good, but good. 

And Kenny, in the stunner of stunners, decided to pick a second quarterback in the fifth round – but not just any quarterback. No, he went with Tommy Frazier, the best option quarterback of the past 20 years hands down. Three straight seasons, he led Nebraska to what amounted to the national championship game, losing to Florida State in 1993, then leading the Cornhuskers to back-to-back national championships in 1994 and 1995 … even though the ’94 one was bogus and up for debate. Call me biased, but the 1994 Penn State team led by Kerry Collins, Ki-Jana Carter, Bobby Engram, Kyle Brady and Freddie Scott would have trounced Nebraska. That offense was untouchable. But that doesn’t take away from Frazier, who was incredible. Sadly, he never got drafted due to a blood clot in his leg that forced him to end his football career. Great value pick by Kenny. 

Round 6

Kenny: WR Michael Crabtree - Texas Tech
B-Lew: RB Rashan Salaam - Colorado
Ed: CB Shawn Springs - Ohio State
Rev: QB Charlie Ward - FSU

From Ed: I can officially say that Kenny must've been looking at my notes when he made his picks because I was eyeing Mr. Michael Crabtree in the 6th round. The only 2-time Biletnikoff award winner was superb in Lubbock, leaving Longhorn & Sooner defensive backs in his wake. B-Lew then took tailback Rashan Salaam with his pick and its weird to question a pick from someone who won the Heisman, but I think this raised all of our eyebrows just a bit. Don't sleep, Salaam was a beast in Colorado, teaming up with Kordell Stewart and Michael Westbrook to become one of the most potent offenses in college football history. With my pick, I figured I had to get a lockdown corner with top-end speed, so I took Shawn Springs from THE Ohio State University. Rev then gets bonus points for taking Charlie Ward in the 6th round, because there's no way in life he should've fallen that far. Maybe the best QB in the '90's.

Round 7

Rev: DB Nnamdi Asomugha - Cal
Ed: WR Devin Hester - Miami
B-Lew: TE Jeremy Shockey - Miami
Kenny: LB Derrick Johnson - Texas

From Ed: I think Rev was trying to keep us on our toes, because the pick of Asomugha was definitely a WOW-er. I went with Devin Hester here because he was doing everything that Reggie Bush was doing, except he played like 4 positions. B-Lew's pick of Jeremy Shockey made us remember how much of a beast he was at "Da U", and Kenny's choice of Derrick Johnson was both a hometown choice yet a great pick, as DJ was a Butkus award winner and wrecked havoc on the defensive side of the ball.

Round 8

Kenny: DT Tommie Harris - Oklahoma
B-Lew: DT Vince Wilfork - Miami
Ed: Mario Williams - NC State
Rev: LB Paul Posluszny - Penn St

From Ken: With this round, it’s pick-your-poison with the defensive tackles. Tommie Harris was a monster for Oklahoma with speed and tenacity, and the Vince Wilfork pick by B-Lew was a good one, but after Ed brought up one Warren Sapp he immediately regretted it. The Paul Posluszny pick was a shock, but one that certainly won’t be ignored. He was invaluable for those Nittany Lions teams, and Mario Williams was a bona-fide beast at NC State. There’s a reason he was the number one pick, in a draft that featured Bush, Leinart, and Young.

Round 9

Rev: LB Patrick Willis - Ole Miss
Ed: LB Ray Lewis - Miami
B-Lew: FS Mike Brown - Nebraska
Kenny: DB Derick Strait - Oklahoma

From Rev: I disregarded the guidelines to keep it concise, so I will for this round. I went with Patrick Willis, who won the Butkus as the nation’s best linebacker in 2006. And the best linebacker he was. Ed went with Ray Lewis, because Ray-Ray was a frightening beast. B-Lew went with underappreciated and often overlooked Mike Brown, who was damn good at Nebraska. And Kenny closed it out with Derick Straight, an intimidating corner for Oklahoma. Defense ruled the world in the 9th round. 

Round 10

Kenny: WR Braylon Edwards - Michigan
B-Lew: DB Champ Bailey - Georgia
Ed: Larry Fitzgerald - Pitt
Rev: RB Eddie George - Ohio St

From Ed: Can you say playmakers? I can distinctly remember watching Braylon Edwards in college and thinking that he was going to be the next Randy Moss in the NFL. B-Lew's pick of Champ Bailey gets a major nod because Champ was playing WR, KR/PR, and locking up one side of the field all by himself. I took Larry Fitzgerald as I noticed I had 2 smaller wideouts (Warrick/Hester) so I needed someone to "go get it" and as we all know, Fitz can go get it. Rev's choice of Eddie George was given with great respect, seeing that he already had Reggie Bush and could flex him wideout from time-to-time, he figured he'd nab #27 from the Buckeyes to give him that supreme power back.

Coaches Selection

Rev: Joe Paterno - Penn St
Ed: Urban Meyer - Florida
B-Lew: Dennis Erickson - Miami
Kenny: Pete Carroll - USC

From Kenny: Ed sold his soul by picking Urban Meyer as his head coach. I’ll say it right now; Meyer is a winner, a great coach, but he’s arrogant as all-get-out, and full of it, and the fact that Ed picked him, with no hesitation, is absolutely disheartening, completely unexplainable, and totally unforgivable. I don’t know how the man looks at himself in the mirror after committing such an act.

From B-Lew: Out of the four coaches that were selected, the best one in my opinion is none other than Joe Paterno. The all-time winningest coach, with 2 national titles to boot, not to mention 4 other seasons he went undefeated, but didn’t have a chance at the national championship. What stands out is that he has 29 top 10 finishes in his career.

Who Has The Best Team? (Panelist cannot choose their own)

From Rev: Since I can’t vote for my own, I’m gonna have to go with Ed’s team. VY, Adrian, the most physically gifted linebacker to ever roam the gridiron (not named Lawrence Taylor) LaVar Arrington, Peter Warrick, Roy Will, Shawn Springs, Devin Hester, Mario, Ray-Ray, Fitz. Damn. That’s a dangerous team. Hester’s the only one I’d even look twice at.

From Ed: I'll have to say Rev's team is sitting pretty stacked. Megatron aka Calvin Johnson might've put it over the top for me. However, I like Kenny's team too, even though its pretty much the All Big-12 team of the last 20 years. Crabtree and Sean Taylor are sitting nice on his team.

From B-Lew: The Best Team in the draft had to be picked by General Manager Eddie. His picks were solid, especially at the QB & LB position with Vince Young and Ray Lewis. These were 2 generals on the field hands down leaders for both their respective teams. At the WR position Fitzgerald and Warrick gave defensive coordinators nightmares and grey hairs when game planning for these two.

From Kenny: On a pure name-recognition basis, I would say Ed’s, but I think The Rev may have the most balanced team. Charlie Ward did nothing but win back in Florida State, and we all know him as the best college basketball player to ever play football. He beat a Nebraska team that many thought was unbeatable. Julius Peppers was an animal, Charles Rogers was a monster, and the Nnamdi pick was quietly brilliant.

Who Has The Worst Team? (Panelist cannot choose their own)

From Rev: B-Lew’s. Sorry man, but some of those players aren’t cutting it for me: Roy Williams (Texas), Mike Brown. And I don’t like Rashan Salaam because I very biasedly think Ki-Jana was better, though it was a good pick. And finally, with Moss and Shockey (and Roy Will), you might be better served with a quarterback who can throw the ball deep, something Tebow doesn’t do. But still a solid team.

From Ed: I'm going to say Rev's just on the basis that he has Julius Peppers and Charlie Ward on his team and they might forget to come play the 2nd half of a game because they got basketball practice.

From B-Lew: The worst team of the draft had to be picked by GM Masenda. Taking Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford was a bit of stretch because he is the only QB not to lead his team to a National Championship. He sort of saved his team by picking Tommie Frazier, but would that create a QB controversy?

From Ken: There’s no really no worst team, but the least strong team may be B-Lew’s, but it really depends on how you look at it. He has strong players, solid cats who would play their role, but who can B-Lew count on to make a play at crunch time, in relation to the killers the rest of us have on our teams? It’s more his team being in this position by default, than them actually being the worst.

If You Could Draft One More Player

Rev: QB Michael Robinson, Penn State
Ed: RB LaDainian Tomlinson, TCU
B-Lew: QB Major Applewhite, Texas
Ken: TE Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma

Extra player from the Rev: This one was tough for me. Really was. When it all boiled down, I had to go with a Penn Stater. The question is, which one? Three names immediately came to mind: Ki-Jana Carter, Larry Johnson and Michael Robinson. L.J. had the single best statistical season of the bunch, but he’s out because he sat behind Eric McCoo for three seasons, a player who was caught from behind 70 yards downfield by a defensive lineman. And he sat because he was an arrogant prick who didn’t listen to his coaches, just like he’s been the past few seasons in K.C. Ki-Jana Carter may be the best back I’ve ever seen. He glided through defenses and made everything look easy. Had he gotten even close to as many carries as Salaam, he would have eclipsed 2,000 yards easily. He was the No. 1 pick in the draft because he had size, speed and could catch and block. But he benefitted from one of the best college offenses of all time. So my pick is Michael Robinson. The reason? M-Rob was the best leader I’ve ever seen, Tebow included. He waited around 5 years for his chance to finally take the helm, doing anything the team asked — play wide receiver, running back, anything — and all he did when he got his shot at quarterback was lead Penn State to the Big Ten title after two seasons of the team at the bottom of the conference. Hell, he was one second away from a trip to the national championship game. 

 

He wasn’t the greatest passer or the even the fastest runner. But he was the best leader and best winner I’ve ever seen don a Penn State jersey. Players like Derrick Williams and Justin King made Penn State a trendy school for top recruits to head to again, but Michael Robinson led the team back to prominence. He made Penn State relevant again, and his senior season as the quarterback of Penn State was a thing to marvel. You need a tough pass, and he’d gun it in there. A big run? He’s on it. A calming influence? Check. If all you care about is stats, then M-Rob isn’t the choice for you. But if you care about leadership, about winning, about being the guy that everyone on the team looks up to, that everyone looks to to make a play, to lead a drive, to will the team to victory, well, then, Michael Robinson is your man. Plus, he did this (30 seconds in).
 
 

M-Rob shocked the world in 2005, and he’s shockingly a player I left off my list. But trust me, he’s my 11th man for sure.

Here's the final draft results:



In a brief synopsis of my team, here's why I picked who I picked:

As I said before, Reggie Bush was the best college football player I've ever witnessed play in person in my life. He was so dynamic it's not even funny. Ditto Julius Peppers in regards to defensive lineman. Peppers was on a bad football team, but he was a beast. Not only did he lead UNC in sacks, but he picked off more passes than his defensive backs. The man was a freak playing end. Plus, his throw-down slams when he was still playing power forward for the Tar Heels were awesome.



Charles Rogers may have been panned by B-Lew, but he didn't get to see him on the regular. As a Big Ten guy, I know what Rogers was capable of. Things like this (4:20 in, no pun intended):



Frankly, I can't believe Calvin Johnson slipped that far down because he may have been the best player not named Reggie Bush I've ever seen. Too bad he had Reggie Ball, who refused to throw to him most games, as his QB. If he had a legit guy back there, he'd have broken every record ever for receivers. The Ed Reed pick is self-explanatory. As for Charlie Ward, I cannot believe he wasn't picked earlier. How in the hell Kenny could pick Sam Bradford over the best college quarterback I've ever seen play is beyond me. Ward was a beast. And it seems I have an affinity for college football players who also played basketball.

Much like he is currently playing in anonymity in the NFL, Nnamdi Asomugha didn't get much pub or love from the media playing for Cal. But the man turned himself into the best college cornerback no one knew by the time his junior season rolled around. Call it a sleeper pick if you must, but believe me, the man was a killer back in college too. You can call Paul Posluszny a homer pick if you must, but that just means you don't know dick about college football. As freaky talented and good as LaVar Arrington was at Penn State, Posluszny was a better player. LaVar was an undisciplined roamer, whereas Posluszny was never once out of position.



That's not to take away form LaVar, who I love. But lest we forget, Posluszny won the Bednarik and the Butkus following his junior season, and after a slow start recovering from an injury in his senior campaign, he finished by winning the Bednarik again. He lost out on a second straight Butkus to my next pick, Patrick Willis, a frightening linebacker from Ole Miss. No further explanation is needed on that pick either. Having two Butkus Award winners automatically makes my defense insane.

My final pick was Abington High School's own Eddie George, who won a Heisman Trophy at Ohio State and was a nightmare for defenders everywhere. George was that rare combination of size and speed, and as a back, he had no weakness. He could catch the ball, run the ball and pick up the blitz. The man was a stud, and he continued to do his thing on Sundays for over a decade. And of course, I had to go with JoePa for my coach. I wouldn't be able to live with myself had I gone with anyone else.

I have to say, this was all sorts of fun. I had a great time doing this draft, and I'm sure we could all do this again and pick completely different teams. Hell, we could exclude all these players and still make ridiculous teams. There have been so many great college players over the past 20 years, and more and more keep adding to that list each and every season. That's what makes college football so great. The system may be flawed, but the players never fail to excite.

BallHype: hype it up!

1 comment:

  1. Always happy to have you Rev, keep the good work up bro.

    -Ed.

    ReplyDelete