Drafting the Big 23

Nowadays everybody has a team. Fantasy sports have become a significant part of the sports landscape. They have changed the way we think of sports and how sports are presented on television. They have given national television exposure and gainful employment to those nerdy kids we all knew in elementary school that always messed with their calculator watches (example: ESPN's Erik Karabell).

And also made the initials OPS and WHIP as prevalent as STD and GPA. Fantasy teams have created interest that otherwise wouldn't exist. Just this summer I have developed an animosity-filled relationship with the Indians Jhonny Peralta and his .220 average all because he is on my fantasy baseball team. (Dude can't even spell his first name right, how can I expect him to accumulate respectable stats?)


But one thing that has remained free from the grasp of this fantasy world is college sports. And that is about to change. In a region where college sports are king, I present to you the 1st ever Big 23 Fantasy Football League. With 23 teams in the Big 10 and Big 12 conferences, it sets up perfectly for the next frontier of the fantasy takeover. Find 8-10 interested folks and set up a league for entertainment purposes in which the only eligible players are from the two powerhouse Midwest conferences. It works just like the NFL leagues everyone is involved in. Teams start 1 Quarterback, 2 Backs, 2-3 Wide Receivers/Tight Ends, a Defense and a Kicker. Points can be distributed in any capacity based on touchdowns, yards, etc. Trust me, this idea will have more of an impact in the region than E-85 or the '93 floods. Ok, probably not, but it's at the very least a conversation piece and something to ponder during the long build-up to football season. Just for kicks, here are my rankings for the Big 23 Fantasy league based on potential numbers I believe each player will have. These aren't necessarily the best players at each position; it's who will put up the best stats.



  1. Troy Smith-Ohio State (Projected Stats: 2,600 yards passing, 700 yards rushing, 33 TDs combined)
  2. Drew Stanton- Michigan State (3,100 yards passing, 500 yards rushing, 28 TDs)
  3. Graham Harrell-Texas Tech (3,500 yards passing, 29 TDs…but, battling for starting spot with Chris Todd, so value isn't as high.
  4. Bret Meyer-Iowa State (2,900 yards passing, 200 yards rushing, 24 TDs)
  5. Chad Henne-Michigan (2,800 yards, 23 TDs)
  6. Drew Tate-Iowa (2,700 yards, 23 TDs)
  7. Rhett Bomar-Oklahoma (2,500 yards, 22 TDs)
  8. Bryan Cupito-Minnesota (2,800 yards, 21 TDs)
  9. Zac Taylor-Nebraska (2,900 yards, 20 TDs)
  10. John Stocco- Wisconsin (2,500 yards, 21 TDs)


Wildcards: One of Texas QB's (Colt McCoy and Jevan Snead) will put up big numbers, but which one?


Running Back

  1. Adrian Peterson-Oklahoma (1,700 yards 18 TDs)
  2. Albert Young-Iowa (1,600 yards 13 TDs)
  3. Tyrell Sutton-Northwestern (1,500 yards, 12 TDs)
  4. Mike Hart-Michigan (1,550 yards, 11 TDs)
  5. Jamaal Charles-Texas (1,400 yards, 12 TDs)
  6. Gary Russell-Minnesota (1,500 yards, 11 TDs)
  7. Antonio Pittman-Ohio State (1,300 yards, 12 TDs)
  8. Stevie Hicks-Iowa State (1,200 yards, 10 TDs)
  9. Tony Hunt- Penn State (1,100 yards, 10 TDs)
  10. P.J. Hill-Wisconsin (1,100 yards, 8 TDs)


Wildcards: Ryan Kock scored 13 TDs in 2005; can he have the same efficiency this year? Will Texas A&M's Courtney Lewis revert to his sophomore 10+ TD form?


Wide Receiver

  1. Ted Ginn-Ohio State (1,300 yards 16 combined TDs)
  2. Todd Blythe- Iowa State (1,200 yards 12 TDs)
  3. Joel Filani- Texas Tech (1,200 yards 12 TDs)
  4. Steve Breaston- Michigan (1,150 yards 11 TDs)
  5. James Hardy- Indiana (1,300 yards, 10 TDs)
  6. Jarret Hicks-Texas Tech (1,150 yards, 9 TDs)
  7. Derrick Williams- Penn State (1,000 yards, 9 TDs)
  8. Linas Sweed-Texas (900 yards, 8 TDs)
  9. Matt Trannon-Michigan State (1,000 yards, 7 TDs)
  10. Mario Manningham-Michigan (1,100 yards, 6 TDs)


Wildcards: Purdue's Dorien Bryant caught a Big 23 best, 82 balls last year. But only four of those catches were in the endzone. At 5'10 can he find the endzone with more consistency? Will Zac Taylor pick out a go-to receiver at Nebraska?


 Defense (Points earned from defensive TDs, least points allowed)

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Iowa
  3. Texas
  4. Penn State
  5. Michigan
  6. Ohio State
  7. Nebraska
  8. Colorado
  9. Texas Tech
  10. Minnesota


Wildcards: Iowa State created the most turnovers in the Big 23 last season (35). Northwestern finished a distant second with 30. 





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