[Editor's Note: Guest columnist Matt Meyers takes a look at NCAA Fantasy Football and why it might just be the next big thing in fantasy sports.]
Seeing as we are now in the middle of September, football season is now in full swing. Many of you – including myself – have already drafted your NFL Fantasy team, or teams, but what about NCAA Fantasy Football?
With the advent of, and increasing participation in fantasy leagues of other mainstream sports such as golf, NASCAR, it's somewhat bizarre as to why NCAA Fantasy Football hasn’t taken off; especially since these leagues are strikingly similar to the common play of Fantasy with the NFL. Maybe it’s because there isn’t a well-known website to play? Maybe because it’s too difficult? Maybe because the bandwagon hasn’t passed-by your neighborhood.
Where can I play?
It’s simple. Even if you have never used the internet before in your entire life, I am sure you’ve heard of all-knowing, omnipresent Google. That’s where I started. After doing a general search for ‘NCAA Fantasy Football,’ I wasn’t surprised to see that there aren’t that many sites that offer a collegiate fantasy league, but then again, I was surprised to find that one of the biggest names in fantasy sports, CBSSportsline.com, offers a fun and easy way to become a collegiate ‘coach’. Additionally, AthlonSports.com offers another venue to play – possibly even a better, more user-friendly locale than CBS. ESPN.com is offers a ‘College Football Challenge’ which essentially offers the same thing: you pick your players and earn points, but you play in a nation-wide league vying for a single prize, none of which include bragging-rights amongst your friends.
How does the draft work?
This is where there is biggest difference between NFL and NCAA Fantasy hits home. Some might be too overwhelmed with the fact that there are over 100 Division-1 football teams to choose from. Well, for those of you who consider yourselves fantasy ‘gurus,’ you can draft from as many as all of the major conferences, or slim it down to only your favorite conference. That’s thousands of points available. With the right pick, you could have ended up with Case Keenum from the University of Houston, who threw for 366 yards and 3TDs against BCS contender Oklahoma State. The opportunities, combinations, and possibilities are endless.
Much like in the NFL, you can play head-to-head against others in your league. (Athlon offers a total-points option if you want to “spice” things up a bit). Generally, the season lasts for 10 or 11 games, with the playoffs lasting the last 2 games of the regular season. Again, its not difficult, especially since most of you are already versed in the fantasy football ways. Not much difference here.
Athlon? Or CBS?
Personally, I like the options AthlonSports gives its users. First off, CBS doesn’t offer any flex positions, but Athlon offers 4 (yes, 4! Including QB/RB/WR/TE and other variations). Athlon also allows for a minimum of 4 teams in your league, with a maximum of 36 (including odd-numbers), as opposed to CBS’s standard 6, 8, or 10. Finally, Athlon allows the commissioner a lot more leeway in choosing: draft order, roster limits, and scoring weights.
Now, some of you might not “have time,” but seriously? You have 4 pro teams, why not one NCAA? The bandwagon is cruising around – time to jump on.