The Itis: CFB Treats - Christmas Announcement
VP's Christmas announcement, big transfer portal movement, a new era of the CFP, and the annual end-of-season VP awards headline this week's version of 'The Itis'
The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep…
- Robert Frost, poet
Welcome in, my friends, to this week’s version of ‘The Itis’. Even though it’s a little bit of a different vibe this week with a Monday release, the vibe still matches appropriately, I think.
Well, it was a good run this season, and I should say in advance that this article will probably be the last edition of this series in the 2023 calendar year. That is in part because I plan to take somewhat of a writing vacation starting in the next week.
Thankfully, Substack has this nifty feature where I can pause the billing cycle on paid subscriptions, so once I do so (you should get an email notification), you won’t be charged during that time. I also think it’s an appropriate time within the college football calendar to slow things down.
I still plan to publish articles occasionally during this period, so you can still expect at least one article a week. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep the pause on billing, most likely into early/mid January. I started this publication in February of this year, and have basically published something every other day since. That’s a lot of writing, as you can imagine, and I have to say— I generally still feel pretty fresh. I expected to experience some burn out by now, but that hasn’t really been the case, thankfully.
So, this is just more of a heads up that the frequency of articles for the remainder of December will be lower than usual. Starting in January I will probably restart the regular schedule, and then, as mentioned, unfreeze the billing cycle later that month.
Some Big Transfer Movement
I have a document keeping track of relevant CFF movements all in one place:
This evergreen document covers OC/HC changes, CFF relevant transfers, and notable players returning to the same team.
I’ve also been doing individual write-ups for players that have landed in spots that I like. There are many more landings that I like that have already occurred and likely to come in the future for me to cover. Thankfully, we have an entire offseason for that.
Some moves that I like so far include:
Vandy WR Will Sheppard to Colorado
TCU WR Cordale Russell to Colorado
OSU RB Chip Trayanum to Kentucky
OSU RB Evan Pryor to Cincinatti
WF WR Wesley Grimes to NC State
OU QB Dillon Gabriel to Oregon
Entering into a new era of the CFP
We now find ourselves on the precipice of the final edition of the four-team CFP; and the end of CFB as we’ve known it up to this point. The sport will look very different next season, and that’s in part due to the expanded playoff. What’s crazy is the issue of playoff expansion used to be one of the more contentious issues in CFB, but since massive conference realignment, NIL introduction without regulations, and further uplifting of transfer portal restrictions, the expanded playoff actually doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore, given what we’re witnessing currently in the sport.
Personally, I never quite understood why the number 12 was chosen for the expanded playoff. It felt like six or eight wold be optimal. Even in an outlier year like this past season, there were really only eight teams going into the conference championship week that felt deserving of a CFP spot.
I’ve also never understood the insistence on autobids, especially given the disparity in quality amongst conferences in the P5 (now P4 I suppose), let alone P4 vs. G5. Why not just have two playoffs? One for the P4, one for the G5, and if a G5 team happens to fall in the top 12 of that year’s rankings, they’re in to the P4 CFP instead. Or, just have a playoff of who’s ever left outside of the top 12, this could also be a 12 team playoff, or even larger, and do away with whatever this thing is right now that we call ‘Bowl season’.
This thought struck me in particular today while I passively watched the Ohio Bobcats vs. Georgia Southern game, where I’m pretty sure GaSo’s team showed up hung over after a wild bender the previous evening. Thankfully, they started to sober up in the second half and made it a game, but wow— the quality of that contest was bad, and the stakes— there literally were no stakes for neutral fans. I mean, what am I supposed to care about here… GaSo isn’t going to win the Chex Cruelty Free Cereal Bowl?!
Anyways, I think that CFB now more than ever needs a commissioner, and it feels like that might be inevitable in the not-so distant future. Let’s hope, at least…
End of Season VP Awards
As is annual tradition (starting now), it is with great pleasure that I announce the winners of the end of season VP Awards. From this day henceforth, each and everyone of these gentlemen’s names shall forever echo through the halls of CFF lore. And, given that this might be the last article of this series for 2023, I figured I’d fit it in here.
Justin Hall Award — Those of you who played CFF in 2020 and 2021 will remember Ball State’s versatile playmaker— Justin Hall. The slot receiver out of Georgia was a first ballot VP hall of famer due to the sheer number of ways that Ball State would use him. He would routinely finish games with as many carries as catches, and was a mainstay on special teams (which was nice in a league I played in that credited points for PR/KR yardage). This year, Sam Houston’s Noah Smith reminded me a lot of Hall, because the Bearkats would also routinely utilize him via the ground. Every season, I look for Justin Hall-archetypes, if for no other reason than the fact that it feels gangster as all hell when you have a WR who’s locked into touches every week the way these two cats were. Congrats to Mr. Smit; I do not currently know if he is retuning to CFB in 2024, but if he is, I want him.
Jerreth Sterns Award — The Jerreth Sterns award is dedicated to the WR who is an absolute target monster of the course of the season. This year, it was an easy winner— FAU’s LaJohntay Wester, who currently leads the FBS in receptions, and was the literal definition of a volume pig playing in Tom Herman’s slot receiver role. Unfortunately, he hit the transfer portal (along with everybody else it seems), so he won’t be taking snaps for the Owls in 2024. Of course, I guess he could always return, but more than likely, it’ll be another name filling that role. Stay on the lookout for who that might be. You already know I’ll be covering that system this offseason (again).
Chubba Hubbard Award — There should be no confusion over what this award is dedicated to if you played CFF in 2019. Oklahoma State’s superstar sophomore broke out to over 2000 yards rushing in a single season that year, and was the RB1 in CFF. This year, the same program— the Oklahoma State Cowboys, produced another superstar sophomore in Ollie Gordon II. While Gordon might not have passed 2000 yards rushing, he still led the FBS in rush yards, and singlehandedly won many CFF leagues in November.
Jaret Patterson Award — I hate to give multiple awards to one individual, but this season’s winner earned it and then some this season. For those unaware, Jaret Patterson played for the University of Buffalo Bulls when now-Kansas HC Lance Leipold coached there. They were one of my favourite CFB programs during this era, because they were fucking amazing for CFF, and played some gnarly defence. A sick program all around, really. Patterson, in particular, single-handedly won me (as well as many others) my league’s playoff in 2020 with an 88(!!!) point performance in the finals (following a 54 pointer in the semis— get your tits out mate!!). This performance cemented his legacy within the annals of CFF lore for eternity, and also guaranteed his status as a first-ballot VP-HoFer. With that in mind, the JP Award for the 2023 season can go to none other, than the 51 point performance from OGII in the finals week this season. While it wasn’t enough to put me over the edge to champion status, I’m sure he propelled many others to victory.
Bailey Zappe Award — This distinction is reserved for the best air-raid/pocket passer/high volume passer/whatever else you want to call it QB. Again, for those unaware, Bailey Zappe (now of the New England Patriots) was an incredible QB asset in the 2021 season due to the sheer volume and efficiency of the offence he played in with Jerreth Sterns and the WKU Hilltoppers. Just like Zappe, our winner this season played with a few stud WRs himself, and was infamous for dropping bombs on unsuspecting DBs on many a brisk Saturday afternoon in Seattle. That is of course, UW’s Michael Penix Jr., who’s had a hell of a comeback career. There were lofty expectations on this offence pre-season, but Air Penix undoubtedly answered the call.
CFF MVP Award — I think anybody who faced off against Jayden Daniels in this year’s playoff period will understand that he was the only option here. Enough said. Baller.
Mike Leach Award — Like so many other CFB diehards I was a huge fan of the Pirate— Mike Leach. In his honour, I have created an award for the best pass-catching RB over the course of a season. There were a few good candidates this season, but I ultimately settled on Memphis’ Blake Watson (formerly of ODU). Watson even had the WR distinction on Fantrax up until August of 2022. This season was a revelation for him, and in addition to being fairly efficient on the ground, killed it in the air too. This one was a surprise for me.
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