‘Tis the Bowling Season – a recap

Salad bowl

As promised, I will wrap up the ‘Tis the Bowling Season series with a review, since I couldn’t preview any games after Christmas. If this is the first article you’re reading from this series, welcome. This series highlights some of the upcoming rookie prospects for 2016, but also gives you a look ahead to the future or for you devy dynasty players.

Dec. 28 – Military Bowl: Pittsburgh v. Navy. There were a few intriguing names here and there, but none more prominent than Tyler Boyd, the receiver for the Panthers. He finished the game leading in yards and came in second for most rush yards for his team. Boyd possesses sound techniques all around, and displayed some strong hands. He does get plagued by drops from time to time, and his biggest enemy was probably his own QB. Lacking wow-factor (according to some anyway), Boyd did break Larry Fitzgerald’s frosh receiving record. As for Navy, the team signal caller is the only noteworthy NFL talent, but will switch position to either WR or RB. Keenan Reynolds has all the speed to shake and bake in the open field. Expect a learning curve for Reynolds, though, much like ones that Denard and Jerrick had to go through.

Qiuck Lane Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Minnesota. This game is pretty much a quiet one among the string of exciting school names. KJ Maye is going to be at the Senior Bowl, but he is as much a JAG as it comes. These two teams also do not have devy players to watch for.

Dec. 29 – Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: California vs. Air Force. This was a highly anticipated game because of one name: Jared Goff. Goff is expected to be one of the top QBs to go to the NFL ’16 draft, and will be a highly coveted name, especially in 2QB/Superflex league. Looking from the bigger picture, Goff does not look like a week 1 starter right now, but he plays at such a high level and demonstrated some impressive processing ability, that it is conceivable that through workouts and training camp, he will be ready for week 1, albeit with growing pains. Goff rained TDs in this game, finishing the game with 6 passing TDs. Teammate Kenny Lawler is also going to the NFL. On the stats book, Lawler looks good, on film, there is a lot to be desired about his complete skill as a WR. Nevertheless, he is a name to watch out for. For a team that only passed a total of 15 times, Air Force WR Jalen Robinette was impressive. Devy players, file this name away for ’16.

Russel Athletic Bowl – Baylor vs. UNC. Before the bowl game, Baylor got embarrassed badly on national television as they played their final game against a porous Texas team. Baylor was down to their 4th string emergency QB (who played WR throughout the season). What they did to UNC was nothing short of an applause worthy performance. Corey Coleman was the man of this game. He shredded just about any team this season, and only faltered once because of a new signal caller coming in for the injured starter. Personally, I don’t trust Baylor WRs in the NFL. I am willing to give Coleman a chance after watching some of his games. He possess an uncanny ability to know when to stop his feet and when to accelerate. He reminds me of LeSean McCoy playing WR. On the UNC side, Quinshad Davis is a deep league watch list guy. He had tons of talent coming in as a freshman, but I am not entirely sure why it hasn’t translated. For devy owners look out for Jared Stidham (Baylor QB), Johnny Jefferson (Baylor RB), Shock Linwood (Baylor RB), Elijah Hood (UNC RB), Mack Hollins (UNC WR).

Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl – Nevada vs. Colorado State: I got one name and one name only, Rashard Higgins WR for Colorado St.

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl – LSU v. TTU. This was an odd matchup, and as the result indicated, it was not even remotely close to being entertaining for matchup purposes. Nevertheless, the talents are exciting to watch. Travin Dural is an underrated WR that is headed to the pros. He is constantly overshadowed by names like OBJ, Landry, or Dupre. Dural is talented in his own right. I don’t believe he played in this game, but for dynasty owners, this is a name to pay attention to with your mid 3rd round rookie pick. As for the rest, these two teams are loaded with devy watch list guys such as: Patrick Mahomes (TTU QB), Derrius Guice (LSU RB/WR), Malachi Dupre (LSU WR), and the BEAST Leonard Fournette (LSU RB). An extremely deep sleeper is Jakeem Grant WR for TTU. His stature is a major ding against him, but his contribution as a returner and WR are perhaps something special to pay attention to.

Dec. 30 – Birmingham Bowl – Auburn vs. Memphis. Signal caller Paxton Lynch of Memphis was the focal point of many draftniks in this game. Throughout the year he garnered a lot of buzz. This game was a major letdown for him, as he showed everything you don’t want to see a QB do. It seemed that Auburn defense overwhelmed him pretty easily. Auburn has two signal callers for devy owners to look to. Neither played especially good in this game. Jeremiah Johnson once lost his job to Sean White in the middle of the season, but eventually regained it. However, it is a muddy situation that bears watching going into the Spring Training Camp of 2016.

Belk Bowl – Mississippi St. v. NC State. Dak Prescott’s last game as a Bulldog went out with a bang! I have questions about his ability to be a successful QB in the NFL, as he plays in the similar mold as Tim Tebow. Prescott does have a slightly better accuracy, but I am not sure he is able to process post-snap defensive adjustment. He is pretty much a sight thrower. His receiving mate Da’Runnya Wilson had a down year, but I put most of the ineffectiveness on Prescott’s accuracy rather than Wilson’s declining. Wilson will be a strong late 2nd round rookie pick. Fred Ross is a deep roster watch list guy. On the wolfpack side, Jacoby Brissett (QB) has been much talked about in the offseason by football scouts. I’m not buying into it, as the only things that he has going for him is his height and strong arms. Those are only some components for a successful QB, but he doesn’t show the ability to control the game.

Music City Bowl – Louisville v. TAMU. This was one of the more exciting game of the day as it showed off a close matchup. From a rookie perspective, owners should keep an ear out for running back Tra Carson. These two teams carry more devy watch list guys more than anything. Pay attention to Lamar Jackson (Lou QB), James Staples (Lou WR), Josh Reynolds (TAMU WR), Ricky Seal-Jones (TAMU WR), and especially Christian Kirk (TAMU WR).

Holiday Bowl – Wisconsin v. USC. This is one of those bowls that I seem to care for some every year because USC is involved. Cody Kessler the USC QB played well throughout the year, but did poorly in this one. He overcame two coaching changes and adjusted well for the most part. But Kessler lacks the tools of a successful NFL QB. His stats may look gaudy, but that is mostly a product of talented college wide outs like Marquise Lee, Robert Woods, or Nelson Agholor. It is still a mystery why WRs continue to fail after they leave USC. I certainly hope it doesn’t impact the next USC WR stud Juju Smith-Schuster. Two talented RBs to watch out for are Corey Clement (Wisc) and Ronald Jones II (USC).

I won’t be addressing the championship teams, because they receive plenty of coverage.

Dec. 31 — Chik-Fil-A Peach Bowl – Houston v. FSU. This was a fun game to watch. It showed the growth of Houston QB Greg Ward Jr., (for devy purposes). I watched his first start in 2014 when he was forced into action. I do not think he will be a day 1 starter for now in the NFL, but his growth is tremendous and there is a possibility for him to take a major leap next year. For this upcoming draft, WR Demarcus Ayers will be a late round pick in rookie draft to consider. He does not have the height or weight, but he demonstrated some impressive clutch catches and above average speed. On the No(means no)le side, there is oodles of devy talent. Dalvin Cook (RB) is the most obvious name. I like him as a top 3 RB for 2017 if he declares, and that’s saying something. His backup, Jacques Patrick (RB) is an absolute truck with nifty feet. Travis Rudolph (WR) and George Campbell (WR) are names to file away.

Jan. 1 – Outback Bowl. Tennessee v. Northwestern. It was a slaughter, for a lack of a better description. For fantasy purposes, there are only a few names to look out for. WR Marquez North of Tennessee is the name that will probably be in your late round rookie draft. It’s always more exciting to follow the devy names. Running back Jalen Hurd is touted a top 5 RB talent in 2017, though I don’t know enough to vault him there. Vols QB took small step backward after gaining notable buzz in the off season, but at least Joshua Dobbs finished the season strong, and will have one more year to vault himself into NFL QB conversation. Also pay attention to Josh Malone (WR) and Alvin Kamara (RB).

BWW Citrus Bowl. Michigan v. Florida. For a team that was in the SEC Championship, one wouldn’t have expected this type of whuppin’ by a rebuilding team. The biggest issue that held the whole team back was the UF QB. The team had to be carried by NFL prospect Kelvin Taylor son of Fred Taylor (who himself once had to carry the Jacksonville Jaguars on his back). Troubled/Suspended WR Demarcus Robinson is also in this draft class, but I would venture to say he’s in the UDFA conversation of your dynasty rookie draft. No surprise to you, but I’ll say it again, the devy players are much more interesting to me. On UF team, Anthony Calloway WR, Jordan Cronkite RB, and Jordan Scarlett RB are all froshies who contributed to this team. Michigan has Jake Butt (TE), Jehu Chesson (WR), and Amara Darboh (WR).

Battle Frog Fiesta Bowl. OSU v. Notre Dame. OSU was an angry team after being left out of the Final 4, after sneaking in and winning it all the year before. Riding on the talented RB Ezekiel Elliott for one final time, the junior RB had very little issue gashing a tough Notre Dame team. The receiving corps was equally as talented with Michael Thomas and recent convert Braxton Miller doing their things through the air. Notre Dame could only hope to keep up, and failed miserably. The team was somewhat marred by injuries to RB CJ Prosise and their starting QB Malik Zaire. For the most part the team kept their head above water with Chris Brown and the very talented Will Fuller, both of whom are in the draft. For devy owners, these two teams are always attractive for talented HS kids. DeShone Kizer was thrust into the starting role after Zaire went down, but for a true frosh, he really kept this team competing throughout the year with losses only coming against powerhouses that is Clemson and Stanford. Kizer will have one more year to play catch with the Admiral’s son, Corey Robinson; a tall and big-bodied receiver who needs to work on his body control in the air to become one of the top consideration for 2017. OSU side JT Barrett looks to get one more year of experience to challenge for a NFL QB spot next year.

Rose Bowl –  Stanford vs. Iowa. The two remaining teams that missed the CFP ever so slightly due to one glaring loss in their whole season. Stanford crushed the previously almost undefeated Iowa in a non-contest. Kevin Hogan may be the Stanford QB, but his best play was probably handing it off to Christian McCaffery (devy RB) who did all sorts of RB move, and show the world why he should’ve been a Heisman winner.

All State Sugar Bowl. Ole Miss v. Oklahoma St. For dynasty owners, this game was a small preview of the #1 WR of this class, Laquon Treadwell of Ole Miss. He removed any doubts about his injury recovery throughout the year, and showed up pretty big in this game. He was clearly Chad Kelley’s favorite target, but Chad himself was no slouch. Kelley is making a case for his 2017 draft campaign by running and throwing all over Oklahoma St. all game long. He may be relying more on his TE Evan Ingram more in the upcoming year, but already shows a connection with him. One name to note for the hapless Oklahoma St. Pokes is WR Marcell Ateman.

Jan. 2 – Taxslayer Bowl – Penn St. v. Georgia. This game was Christian Hackenberg’s last chance to impress me, but he did not … and he got hurt later in the game too. Scouts/draftniks are having a hard time forgetting about the Hackenberg of ’13, but he’s no longer that guy. He has developed so many bad habits, it’ll take a while for him to unlearn them, if he even can. On Georgia’s side of the ball, senior WR Malcolm Mitchell made a good last impression by putting up 100+ receiving yards. His overall body of work is pedestrian, but it could be QB related. I’m also interested in Keith Marshall who didn’t do much this game, but was once the lighting to Todd Gurley’s thunder. Devy players will salivate over the talent on each of these teams. Running backs: Sequon Barkley (Penn), Nick Chubb (UGA), Sony Michel (UGA). Wide receiver: Chris Godwin and DeSean Hamilton (Penn).

Liberty Bowl – Kansas St. v. Arkansas. I’ll make it quick. The draft notables were Brandon Allen and Hunter Henry. The most exciting player this day is Alex Collins, as he shredded. Also, Jonathan Williams who hasn’t play all year as he recovers from torn ACL. For devy owners look out for Jeremy Sprinkles. All Arkansas players.

Alamo Bowl – Oregon v. TCU. This was an amazing game of two halves, and the finish was quite impressive. Trevone Boykin was suspended for an off-field incident, so the team had to thrust in a no experience QB. WR Josh Doctson was also ruled out due to wrist injury. That leaves the Frogs to rely on Kolby Listenbee and Aaron Green to carry the day. But it was the defense that carried this team. Oregon started fast in this game with QB Vernon Adams Jr., but he was knocked out of the game with a concussion. That’s when things fell apart for the Ducks. Devy players got a good look at KeVonte Turpin the speedy frosh WR for TCU. On the Ducks side, Royce Freeman is a personal favorite RB of mine, and I hope to see him in the NFL by ’17 or ’18. He is an all-around good RB. Darren Carrington is also a speedy small-ish WR to look out for next year.

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