CSTV Fantasy College Football

Bowl Season: The Fantasy Bowl Predictions

By Chuck Papenfus
Special to CSTV.com from Leaderboard Sports

The Game and the Budget
When I started the picking process I felt confident as I had 120 credits to use. That's a lot more than the normal 100 allowed in most fantasy contests and the values didn't look all that prohibitive. However, after picking a few power teams, my budget didn't look so good, and I had to revise in order to choose 6 teams and stay under the 120-point threshold.

Where to start, because I want to choose a team that could win this contest, I first made a list of the teams that:

1. Excel in each category and/or,
2. Play a team that allows the opponent to excel in the category, and,
3. Have a low fantasy point value
4. May fly under the radar of fantasy owners as other glamorous choices exist.

I then started playing with the numbers, placing as many of the teams that fit those four characteristics on my final roster as possible.

Coaching is the toughest category because it is an all or nothing proposition and it has a bonus point provision. By definition, half the teams in the game will earn at least 25 points, and at least nine of those teams will earn the bonus 15 points since two ranked teams are facing off in a bowl nine times. Because there are guaranteed 40 point coaching choices, I felt I had to pick one to compile the maximum point earning team. Looking for inexpensive options, I discovered there are 13 teams playing ranked teams that cost fewer than 20 points. Of those 13, two teams jump out at me because they have higher poll ranks than their opponents: Florida and Georgia. While that's not a perfect way to determine who will win a game, it's what I'm going with and Florida has a slightly lower point value at 18.31 vs 18.48, so that's where I started.

I next decided to pick a defense since that is the hardest position to pick in my opinion and I wanted to spend as few of my precious points as possible. A quick viewing of the teams at the bottom of the point values revealed eight teams scored more than 200 fantasy points during the year with their defenses. I then looked at their opponent's turnover margin and points scored. Two schools jumped out at me: South Florida who allows just more than 18 points per game and has forced 29 turnovers, and Miami who allows slightly less than 12 points per game and has forced 28 turnovers. South Florida plays an N.C. State team that has 23 turnovers and averages just more than 21 points per game, and Miami plays LSU that has 22 turnovers and averages a shade more than 28 points per game. Even though South Florida is 3.47 points cheaper than Miami's 18.90, the fact that they play in N.C. State's backyard concerns me. Therefore, I decided to go with the Hurricanes defense that has been so dominating this year that they held six opponents to 10 or fewer points and allowed only one team to score more than 17 -- and it took three overtimes to do it !!

The rushing category was the easiest to pick in my opinion, largely because seven teams valued at fewer than 20 points have a combination of at least 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns. In order to pick two rushing teams, I decided to look at the opponents. Three of these seven teams play an opponent that has a suspect rushing defense:

1. Missouri (19.42), 23 touchdowns and 2260 rushing yards, plays a South Carolina team that allowed 171 yards per game and 15 total touchdowns.
2. Navy (16.20), 29 touchdowns and 2565 rushing yards, plays a Colorado State team that allowed 200 yards per game and 20 total touchdowns.
3. Arkansas State (16.14), 20 touchdowns and 2199 rushing yards, plays a Southern Miss team that allowed 164 yards per game and 15 total touchdowns.

While I was pleased with Navy, the other two lacked something so I decided to look at spending a tad more and found a solid pick: Northwestern (20.54), 24 touchdowns and 2,159 rushing yards, plays a UCLA team that allowed 238 yards per game and 28 total touchdowns. UCLA was dead last in rushing defense and that was enough to convince me to add Northwestern to Navy for my rushing choices.

After all that analysis I now have 46.05 points available for my last two passing slots. So, I eagerly scoured the top teams to find out what team had the best combination of yards and touchdowns. Two teams jumped out with more than 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. However, Texas Tech (27.17), 33 touchdowns and 4,436 passing yards, faces a stingy Alabama squad that allowed an average of only 154 yards per game and 8 total passing touchdowns. In contrast, Arizona State (23.30), 34 touchdowns and 4,019 yards passing, plays a Rutgers team that was very ordinary against the pass allowing 218 yards per game and 16 touchdowns. This presented a dilemma as two fine choices, UCLA (23.47) and Notre Dame (24.65) with 30 and 32 touchdowns and 2,955 and 3,678 yards on the year respectively were just out of my budget. However, BYU and UTEP were available and even though both schools have a lot of positives, they both presented nagging concerns. BYU (21.59) racked up 3,369 yards passing with 24 touchdowns and goes against a seemingly below average California pass defense that allows 230 yards per game, but the Golden Bears only allowed 11 passing touchdowns this year. UTEP (21.77) had similar passing numbers to BYU with 3,415 yards and 28 touchdowns, but Toledo has a good pass defense allowing only 191 yards per game and 15 total touchdowns. In addition, Toledo and California have good rushing offenses with 221 and 232 yards per game respectively and good rushing teams are likely to control the clock. Then I had a vision - what about taking a chance on Toledo (22.53). Yes, they're a gamble since they have a balanced attack with 2,438 rushing yards and 2,459 passing yards, but the game figures to be high scoring and Toledo did have 25 passing touchdowns and UTEP allowed 204 passing yards per game and 20 total touchdowns. My final teams - it has some risk but the upside is tremendous:

Passing #1 - Toledo (22.53)
Passing #2 - Arizona State (23.30)
Rushing #1 - Navy (16.20)
Rushing #2 - Northwestern (20.54)
Defense - Miami (18.90)
Coaching - Florida (18.31), or Georgia if you're so inclined (18.48)

Total Cost - 119.78 (119.95 with Georgia)

Perhaps a safer way to form the team:

Passing #1 - UCLA (23.47) or Notre Dame (24.65)
Passing #2 - Arizona State (23.30)
Rushing #1 - Navy (16.20)
Rushing #2 - Northwestern (20.54)
Defense - South Florida (15.43)
Coaching - Georgia (18.48)

Total Cost - 117.42 or 118.60