Complete Bowl Rankings & Projections l More Sit & Starts
Personally, I love getting together with friends this time of year and playing some personalized fantasy football action.
We draw games, draft teams and have a second wind of college fantasy football action thanks to 32 bowl games and the 64 squads playing in them. The trick, however, is figuring out who is going to show up to play, who has the good or bad matchups and who will choke with too much time on their hands between the end of the regular season and their bowl game.
That’s what we’re here to do, deduce a little second season fantasy action for you. Who do we like and dislike as fantasy players during the bowl action.
Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois.
Don’t sleep on this game or this quarterback the day before the National Championship game. Harnish is a big-time dual threat quarterback (3,000-26 passing, 1,300-11 rushing) and ArkansasState is going to get a big dose of this guy in the GODADDY.com Bowl. ArkansasState was 15th in the nation in rush defense, but you don’t see a lot of rushing-dominated teams in the Sun Belt. They are about to get an up-close look at one of the nation’s best-kept secrets at quarterback. I look for Harnish to have the ball in his hands a lot in this one, a recipe that’s served NIU very well this season. Trust me, with Ryan Aplin at quarterback for ArkansasState, this one has the looks of a quarterback-dominated outing, one that will provide a dual-threat stud like Harnish the opportunity to deliver big numbers.
Austin Davis, quarterback, Southern Mississippi
It’s not that I don’t respect Nevada’s defense, but if you think that Davis won’t exceed the Wolfpack’s 226 yards per game average in this one, you got to come to reality. Davis quietly led the Eagles to an 11-2 record; the C-USA title and a butt-kicking of BCS bowl hopeful Houston in the title game. He threw for 3,331 yards and 28 touchdowns, then added another 332 yards rushing and four more scores. I don’t think I’m being unfair to the fairly impressive rebuilding job Nevada did this year to get to a bowl by saying Davis is more than they can handle – and his numbers will prove it in this one.
Collin Klein, quarterback, KansasState
Yeah, he throws the ball funny, but Klein completes his passes at a 58 percent clip, doesn’t toss interceptions (12-5 TD-INT ratio) and, oh yeah, he rushes the ball a ton (293 carries) for 1,099 yards and 26 scores. I like Arkansas a lot and am impressed that their two losses this season were to Alabama and LSU, but when picking through their schedule I was struck by the fact they really haven’t played a team with a very effective dual-threat quarterback. There are bits and pieces, but no real big-time run-pass threat like they will face in Klein. And, the Razorbacks are prone to giving up points, even in wins – 28 to Troy, 38 to Texas A&M, 24 to Ole Miss, 28 to Vandy, 28 to South Carolina, etc. The Wildcats are an interesting team and with a month to prepare for this game, I like Klein to pick apart the Razorbacks on the ground and through the air.
Zach Maynard, California.
With the Texas defense something of a question mark, I like Maynard and his stud receiver Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen to have a bit of a field day. Allen called out the Texas secondary recently, saying he hopes they play man-to-man defense on the Cal receivers. So do I, because I believe that leads to a huge day. My guess is that the Longhorns will try to keep running back Isi Sofele under control and that’s going to lead to some nice play-action opportunities for Maynard, particularly early. Jones and Allen are better than anything Texas has in the secondary and if Maynard gets time, he’ll carve Texas up. I’m looking at a high-scoring game with Maynard delivering a big performance through is star receivers.
James Franklin, quarterback, Missouri
The North Carolina defense is not what it has been the last few years, but it’s pretty good --14th against the rush. Franklin is a nice dual-threat quarterback, capable of throwing (2,733 yards, 20 TDs) and running (839-13) with equal devastation. Unfortunately, for Franklin, the Tar Heels can run and are physical on defense, a trait that will figure heavily into this one. I don’t see Missouri delivering the kind of offensive diversity needed to keep the Tar Heels from keying almost completely on Franklin. He’s a tremendous talent, but looking at North Carolina, I see a defense that’s a step above what Franklin is capable of dealing with – particularly with North Carolina getting all this time to prepare.
Geno Smith, quarterback, West Virginia
After watching Clemson’s defense administer a butt-kicking to Logan Thomas and Virginia Tech in the ACC title game, I don’t have a lot of excitement about Smith’s chances against this defense. I don’t think Smith is anywhere near as good at Thomas and I think the Tigers, finally back in the upper echelon, will put a stamp on the season with defensively dominating performance against West Virginia. Smith threw for nearly 4,000 yards this season, but with the rushing game a bit of a mystery and Clemson smelling blood in the water for their best season in ages, expect the Tigers to make Smith try to beat them. He won’t be able to as Clemson ball-hawks he and his receivers into oblivion.
Tommy Rees, Notre Dame
Too inconsistent, too mistake prone and to easily victimized by athletic defenses, which is exactly what he’ll be facing in Florida State Champs Sports Bowl this year. While both teams are 8-4, I like the Seminole’s 18th ranked pass defense to be too much for Rees and company to handle, particularly with the type of pressure they can bring on the pocket (T9th in sacks with three a game). For all of Notre Dame’s perceived improvement this season, the passing game under coach Brian Kelly simply hasn’t delivered the way many thought it would. FloridaState will put an exclamation point on that struggle with a performance that menaces Rees into mistakes and poor throws.
Dan Persa, Northwestern
Love this feisty quarterback, but he’ll be running into a buzz saw against Texas A&M. Persa used to do a fair bit of running, earning the title of dual-threat quarterback, but he’s been far less effective in that role this season. Minus that element, he becomes a pocket passer, something the Aggies defense feasts upon. Texas A&M leads the nation in sacks with 3.5 a game and if the Wildcats think they can rely on Persa to stand in the pocket and fire away with impunity, reality will be hard to swallow. Despite its 6-6 record, A&M is a pretty darn good team and have a very good defense that has been overshadowed by the poor overall record. Persa is walking into a hornets nest and if he’s going to try to throw his way out of it, he’ll get stung repeatedly.