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As many of you know by now, we will not be offering in-season content for the 2012 season (weekly projections, stats, news, articles, etc.) and only focusing on our Draft Kit,. Since the announcement we've been bombarded with emails from many of our loyal users. They've been very nice and complimentary but ones filled with angst, denial and frustration. In short, people have been asking just what in the hell we think we're doing and why we're doing it. And while the response has been extremely flattering, writing heart-felt notes in reply has gotten depressing. We've put so much time and effort into the site and the decision to take a step back this fall was not an easy one. So I'll take a moment to explain it here.
When we launched CFFinsider.com back in 2005 it was with the goal of providing badly-needed coverage for the college fantasy football game. Anyone that started playing college fantasy football back in the late 90s or early 2000s knows just how little information there was out there. Our goal was to change that and arm college fantasy players with as much information as their pro counterparts, but on a much bigger scale (120+ teams).
My friends Alex and Jim had played for years; in fact I met Alex the year before when I put out a call on a Michigan State message board for fellow losers to join a Big Ten fantasy league. He showed up as the cagey college fantasy vet (think Wade Garrett from Roadhouse) and proceeded to throw back his share of Labatts while wowing no one with anything he said.
Shortly thereafter I met Jim, another wise Spartan alum. Think Doug Couglin from "Cocktail"
So seven years ago we launched a website dedicated to college fantasy football. Laughable to think that my initial idea involved a newsletter that we would, get this, MAIL to people using stamps and stuff.
We ranked players, started writing articles and had at it. And soon enough, people starting emailing with questions and comments. Sports radio stations started calling, desperate to fill the dead time of July and August, willing to bring me on as an “expert.” You have no idea how many times the host said, “So tell me about COLLEGE fantasy football.” Only to hear me then say, “Well, it’s like pro fantasy football...but college” which was then followed by dead air, as if I just spent 10 minutes breaking down quantum physics.
(Side note: during this time I also learned that EVERY single sportstalk radio show in the country is called either “The Big Show” or “The Huge Show” or some variation of “Spike and the Killer.” And each and every show has that monster truck guy do the voiceover when they come back from commercial.)
The first few years saw us earn a content licensing contract to help pay the bills, receive a cease and desist letter from a couple of universities (including Tulane, which was my favorite...WTF, Tulane?) and have a whole lot of fun. Still, the college fantasy game was a niche, made up of college football diehards. Looking back, we had to fight an uphill battle as it was viewed by the pro fantasy player as “too hard” or with “too many teams.” Still, we continued to plug along.
A couple of years back we brought on Randy to improve the site. Think Peter Gibbons.
He added more bells and whistles with the goal of becoming more “customizable” for the user. And he succeeded in doing this. Yet in doing so it became an even bigger commitment. We brought on extremely talented writers to help ease the load and actually paid them more than just beer money. However the more we added the more work it became. The site was becoming more of a second job (without the pay) and less of a labor of love. And as our lives changed (marriages, kids and stuff) we found we had more, as Bob Seger wrote, “deadlines and commitments” and not enough hours in the day.
In the last couple of years the kickoff to the college football season, the best time of the year, has been greeted with a collective groan, knowing the work that lay ahead: the late night articles, the stat crunching, the fixing of site bugs, and trying to keep up on every single skill player of note for all 120+ teams in the country. Keeping tabs on the third receiver at Middle Tennessee State or the backup running back at Buffalo should something happen to Brandon Oliver is a daunting task.
We could scale back our coverage and only worry about the big names and not check the daily newspapers in Kalamazoo in order to make sure Western Michigan's running back will start this week. We could project only the top performers for each team, instead of each and every player. But news items and players would slip through the cracks.The projections would suffer as it is impossible to put a number on a player without understanding the team as a whole. It was all or nothing. No half-assing it.
Thus, we’ve decided to pull the plug on in-season content. Does this mean that CFFinsider.com is dead for good? I don’t think so. We’ve enjoyed doing all the preseason research and compiling our Draft Kit. After all we are still college fantasy football diehards just like you. If there remains a demand for our Draft Kit we’ll keep that bad boy running.
There are too many people to thank for our little run. The best part of doing this is the people we’ve encountered. The friends made, the readers we’d exchange emails with, the Ask the Insider regulars and of course, the many outstanding, hard-working writers who have been such great team players.
We’ll still be around. We plan on keeping active on Twitter @CFFINSIDER. However the coverage will be less frequent, as there are simply not enough hours in the day, and something’s gotta give. It’s not going to be our “real jobs” and it’s not going to be our lovely spouses and children.
We’re going to spend August doing what we’ve done since 2005: scouring news for nuggets, breakout freshmen, emerging college football skill talent and of course, ranking players.
Then, when Boise State invades East Lansing on August 31 the three founders of CFFInsider.com are going to breathe a huge sigh of relief, throw one hell of a tailgate and enjoy the season.