We've just feasted on a three-week buffet of college football action, one that featured 68 teams of varying skill, and culminated with the crowing of a new national champion. And with so many teams qualifying for post-season action it's hard not to compare the teams and matchups to those that will take place in March. Of course in March the best teams don't get to just play one game and then go home. They keep playing until they lose or watch a cheesy video that documents the run to the title.
The majority of contests bore a striking resemblance to those 8 seed vs. 9 seed games that often feature a mediocre BCS school facing another mediocre BCS school. The teams were evenly matched and contests were entertaining, but these teams were simply decent, nothing more, and each had the appearance of a one-and-done squad. See USC vs. Boston College as an example.
And while these bowl games are considered "rewards" for the season just concluded, the astute fantasy owner should also view them as a preview of what's to come in 2010 (or at least a time to speculate). Many coaches use bowl practices to evaluate young scout team talent, and some even see the field on gameday. Other returners see the bowl game as the chance to leave a lasting impression prior to spring ball, and hopefully secure a starting job the following autumn.
To the sheer amazement of our wives we here at da Insider did see every single bowl contest. New Year's Day was an especially impressive performance if I must say so myself. And whether or not we were stunned, bored or intrigued with what was unfolding before our very eyes, we focused on what we could learn heading into 2010.
68 teams. 68 observations for 2010 from depraved college fantasy football derelicts. Most are fantasy-related, though some are just random thoughts on the season ahead.
Is it spring practice yet?
Austyn Carta-Samuels will be a fantasy stud when not facing top defensive units. We could be looking at next year's version of Joe Webb.
Is there another Ryan Mathews ready to be unleashed?
Mohamed Sanu, Mohamed Sanu and Mohamed Sanu. Oh, and a little Tom Savage, too.
Brynn Harvey has averaged 4.2 ypc in each of his first two years, and 261 carries as a sophomore spell workhorse for two more years.
How about Dwight Dasher as the #1 fantasy quarterback going into the summer? Just keep watching those Tony Franklin videos there Dwight.
Damion Fletcher and Tory Harrison will move on. Spring ball will reveal a new workhorse back...Tracy Lampley? And DeAndre Brown will be all the way back in 2010.
Expecting McKay Jacobson to make huge strides in 2010.
Quarterback battle will be interesting. Canfield will be missed, and struggles at the position may limit the production of the Rodgers brothers.
Should Matt Asiata be granted another year then it becomes a crowded backfield and a potential fantasy nightmare.
Don't assume that the starting job belongs to Kevin Riley. Watch out for both Brock Mansion and Beau Sweeney. Shane Vereen looks like sure fantasy thing.
Kyle Padron has clearly separated himself from Bo Levi Mitchell. The Southlake, Texas freshman was dominant against Nevada, and he's looking like the top national keeper prospect at the quarterback spot.
As long as Colin Kaepernick is around the team will run the ball as well as anyone. Lampford Mark appears capable of filling Lippincott's shoes.
Doc Holliday takes over as the head man of the Thundering Herd. Good stuff. Martin Ward has a bright future at running back.
LaVon Brazill could be the MAC's breakout receiver in 2010.
Tino Sunseri is the favorite to replace Bill Stull, and (I can't believe I'm typing this) he has some big shoes to fill. Tino, hand it Dion Lewis and throw it up to Jonathan Baldwin and you'll be alright.
This team is poised. Defense could be one of the nation's best. 2010 will be when Butch Jones' hard work on the recruiting trail will pay off.
Matt Barkley looked like the much ballhooyed quarterback out of Northport Beach, California against Boston College. Allen Bradford could be a draft day sleeper. USC's 2010 schedule sets up well for early fantasy action.
Montel Harris gets it done, but don't forget about Rolandan Finch.
Flip a coin between Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper. And you can likely add young Roderick McDowell to the race to replace C.J. Spiller.
Any coach named Joker should be able to get Randall Cobb the ball in a boatload of ways.
The Bulldogs should boast an impressive ground attack next season, but the tag-team duo of Washaun Ealey and the rejuvenated Caleb King will drive owners to drink.
Texas A&M Aggies
They won't be able to stop anyone, but man the offense is going to be fun. However Jerrod Johnson may be prime for a little fantasy letdown.
I just don't know about Rick Neuheisel.
It'll be The Bernard Pierce Show again, but Matt Brown certainly did enough to warrant more carries next season.
TE Lance Kendricks is more than ready to take over for Garrett Graham, and he brings as much athleticism as Travis Beckum to the role. He'll be a huge weapon in 2010.
Will Damien Berry get a real shot to be the man in the backfield?
Remember the name Princeton McCarty. DeMaundray Woolridge takes a bunch of carries with him, and McCartey is an explosive tailback.
How do you replace Freddie Barnes? You don't. But Adrian Hodges may be the best bet to nab some of the 5,000 catches that Barnes takes with him.
Anger issues aside, the Pelini Brothers have built one hell of a defense. Ndamukong Suh moves on but a whole bunch of talent returns. Can Helu and Burkhead keep fantasy owners happy with split snaps?
Despite his struggles in the bowl game look for Nick Foles to be near the top ten of our early rankings this summer.
This was a very young team that smoked Houston. Though there may be too much sharing (especially in the backfield) for a fantasy factor to emerge.
Case comes back and he's again the no-brainer top quarterback...right?
Ryan Broyles will again be a red hot name this summer. He'll only be a junior, and he's on pace to set a whole lot of receiver records in Norman. Shall we announce his Heisman candidacy right now?
Gerhart goes and Stanford goes back to a pass-first team. And Andrew Luck can handle the job. At running back watch for Stepfan Taylor.
Can Ricky Dobbs build upon his 23 scores from 2009? Yes.
Blaine Gabbert will take the baton from the likes of McCoy and Bradford. Best in conference in 2010?
Austen Arnaud and especially Alexander Robinson will make Ames a place to visit on draft day.
MarQueis Gray will need to see the field, and though he showed flashes as a wide receiver, the best bet for the Gophers is to get the ball in Gray's hands as frequently as possible. This may not bode well for Adam Weber.
It's going to be very hard for Darren Evans and David Wilson to see significant carries in 2010. Ryan Williams is the real deal, combining speed with power and a nose for the end zone. He's a faster Lee Suggs.
Get ready for Bryce Brown vs. David Oku this spring.
Pat Fitzgerald sure can coach.
Cameron Newton...Gus is waiting for you.
Kevin Newsome, you've got a tough act to follow at quarterback. And some youngsters you'll need to fend off.
Look for major strides from Jordan Jefferson, but not enough to make him a draftable commodity in larger leagues.
If Noel Devine doesn't return for his senior season then Ryan Clarke will score a whole lot of touchdowns. If Noel Devine does return for his senior season then Ryan Clarke will score a whole lot of touchdowns.
This will be an offense to watch in 2010. Whether it's Ponder or Manuel handing it to Jermaine Thomas, the back will have some high expectations heading into the campaign.
Yes boys and girls, Terrelle Pryor was just a sophomore this season. Rag on the mechanics all you want, but just stay out of the way of his stiff arm.
So Chip Kelly doesn't care about time of possession? Those Duck defenders looked a little tired as the Buckeyes were pounding their way to victory. 42 minutes to 18 minutes.
Sure they'll reload, but we all saw an era end in the Sugar Bowl on Friday night. Give John Brantley a little time.
Butch Jones will have the most difficult job of any coach next season. The bar will be way too high for a program with a razor-thin margin for error.
And you wonder why Mike Ford has driven us nuts the last couple of years. It'll be strange not seeing Jim Leavitt storming his way up and down the field. Maybe he can join the Brothers Pelini....
Me'co Brown and Chad Spann return next season. This is good.
Rebuilding time in Stillwater. Owners in larger leagues will want to check back in 2011.
No Snead or McCluster means Oxford will be a place for owners to avoid.
Ryan Mallett's return makes this a pass-first squad, and there are too many running backs. Receiving corps is young but talented.
Starting quarterback battle will be between Dominique Davis (formerly of Boston College) and youngsters Josh Jordan and Rio Johnson. No word on if Rio dances on the sand.
He's coming off another lousy bowl performance, but Stephen Garcia did show strides this season. Next season it's make or break for the Gamecocks, as the coach may be running out of visors to toss.
The Michigan Wolverines should expect to see a whole bunch of Jordan Todman in next season's opener.
Edwin Baker looks like the future at tailback. Kirk Cousins throws a pretty pass...provided it's not under thrown while under pressure while he's on his back foot. This could be Big Ten's most explosive offense in 2010.
The glory days of Texas Tech serving as a fantasy goldmine are over. I don't care if Tuberville is going to stick with the Air Rad.
Kellen Moore threw 39 touchdowns and three interceptions in 2009. And he was a sophomore.
Love what young backs Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker bring, and will continue to bring for the Frogs. Dalton's return makes this an offense to watch again.
Marvin McNutt is poised for a superstar season in 2010. Colin Sandeman could be a PPR-league factor.
There may be some real youth in the Yellow Jacket offense next season. Spring ball will be pivotal.
Ryan Radcliff, you get to replace Dan LeFevour. Good luck.
Levi Brown moves on, but don't forget about Jamie Hampton, who'll return along with DuJuan Harris and Jerrel Jernigan to lead an explosive offense in 2010.
Mark Ingram & Trent Richardson will be to fantasy owners what we had in James Davis & C.J. Spiller: a week-to-week start or sit nightmare.
Ignore his final numbers (15-40-186-2-4) because Garrett Gilbert is going to be a great one. He'll need to find a go-to guy in spring ball, but there are plenty of candidates.
Whew...gonna be a busy offseason.