Butkus League Power Rankings
Normally at this time of year we’re trying to grab as much information as we can about Spring Ball. We watch the few Spring Games that are televised. We read about the practices and games via Rotowire and subsequently the local sportswriters that cover our favorite college football teams. However, this year feels a little different for some reason. Therefore, the “Dutch Lion” brings you some offseason Butkus League Power Rankings via his “Lion’s Den” (aka the basement).
The 21st season of our Butkus League fantasy college football recently wrapped up. Jon’s Tigers took home their second Championship by defeating Reid’s Cornhuskers in Butkus Bowl 21.
Now that the underclassmen deadline to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft is in our rearview mirror, and the fact that there’s no news from Spring Ball, it’s time for us to declare our 2020 Offseason Power Rankings.
The King of the Mountain
#1 Jon’s Tigers (Jon Marchese) – Jon had a dream season. Not only did his favorite team, the LSU Tigers, win the National Championship, but his QB Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy and Jon’s fantasy team dominated our league. Props to Jonny for constructing a super team mainly built on LSU and Alabama players. It worked. Congratulations Jon. Despite so much talent heading off to the NFL in the 2020 Draft (see the gobs of talent below), for now, at this very moment Jon is the King of the Mountain. Here’s a look at Jon’s current roster.
QB’s: Mac Jones, Myles Brennan, Macale Cunningham, Jamie Newman (acquired in trade with Dave during last week’s Butkus Zoom session), Peter Parrish, Taulia Tagovailoa, Kyle Trask
RB’s: Chuba Hubbard (26.6 ppg in ’19, highest among RB’s last year), Najee Harris, John Emery, Keaontay Ingram
WR’s: Johnny Johnson, Bru McCoy
TE’s & K’s: Pat Freiermuth, Jalen Wydermyer, Cade York
NFL: Joe Burrow, Jake Fromm, Tua Tagovailoa, Cam Akers, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Justin Jefferson, Jerry Jeudy, Easop Winston
Top Challengers to Dethrone Jon and Take the Crown
#2 Reid’s Cornhuskers (Reid K. Wiersema) – Reid was a bridesmaid again in 2019, for his eighth time in Butkus League history. Believe it or not Ripley, Reid had his eighth Runner-Up finish in 21 years. On one hand that is simply awful. On the other hand, it’s impressive. Either way, it’s extraordinarily hard to fathom. Reid is like the 90’s Buffalo Bills or the 70’s Minnesota Vikings or the 50’s Brooklyn Dodgers. Reid has two “Real Championships” (2010, 2014) and seven “Real Champ” runner-up finishes (2001, ’03, ’04, ’05, ’11, ’18, ’19) but can’t get over the hump to claim the Butkus Trophy. The more I think about it, there was no way Reid would win the Title in 2019 because in order to be the man, you’ve got to BEAT the man. And as we all know, the “Man” is Derek. So Reid actually wants, check that, NEEDS to beat Derek to win his first Butkus Bowl.
Will Reid be back in 2020? Of course he will. Fifteen studs return for the ‘Huskers including future stars Zamir White, Adrian Martinez, Kellen Mond, and Wan’Dale Robinson who will join current stars Ja’Marr Chase and Rondale Moore. Plus, Ian Book (372 points in ’19, 4th highest returnee) was acquired the other day which was potentially a gigantic step up the mountain. Reid ain’t goin’ nowhere. Like Coach Eddie O said about Joe Burrow, “He can do whate’er he wants”.
QB’s: Ian Book (28.6 ppg, 4th highest; was acquired in a trade with Mike during the Butkus Zoom Drinking Extravaganza), Kellen Mond, Adrian Martinez, Charlie Brewer, Skylar Thompson
RB’s: George Holani, Lyn-J Dixon, Zamir White, Kennedy Brooks, Dedrick Mills
WR’s: Ja’Maar Chase, Rondale Moore, Wan’Dale Robinson, Tyler Vaughns
TE’s & K’s: Brant Kuithe, Nick Sciba
NFL: Bryce Perkins, Eno Benjamin, Jonathan Taylor, Tony Jones, Brandon Aiyuk, CeeDee Lamb, Chase Claypool, Hunter Bryant
#3 Dave’s Hawkeyes (Dave Nash) – Like Reid, Dave Nash has never won the Butkus League Championship. However, Dave has been knocking on the door for years. He was Runner-Up to Derek in both 2016 and ’17. Can Dave get over the hump in 2020? He most definitely could. He is loaded with stars at quarterback with Sam Ehlinger (404 points last year, 3rd highest points returning) and freshman phenom Sam Howell leading the way. If Nakia Watson becomes a star, Dave might contend once again in 2020.
QB’s: Sam Ehlinger (31.1 ppg, 2nd highest behind Justin Fields), Hendon Hooker, Sam Howell, Brock Purdy, Garrett Shrader
RB’s: Max Borghi, Kenan Christon, Javian Hawkins, Austin Jones, Isaiah Watson, Nakia Watson
WR’s: Charleston Rambo, Khalil Shakir, Dillon Stoner
TE’s & K’s: Gabe Brkic
Draft Capital: Jon’s 2nd Rounder (#16 Overall Pick) in exchange for Jamie Newman
NFL: Salvon Ahmed, Devin Duvernay, Kendall Hinton, Juwan Johnson, Laviska Shenault, Cole Kmet
#4 Simon’s Gators (Simon Yohanan) – Simon was rolling last Autumn and then all of a sudden…his tream crapped out on him. It was a desolate landscape for Simon in the postseason, as if his team needed a meal and couldn’t forage for any food, thus peetering out with no energy. After finishing our Regular Season in 2nd Place, Simon’s group put up only 65 points in the Playoff Semifinal vs. Reid and then only 100 points in the Bowl vs Dave. In the Final “Real Champs” Standings, Simon finished in 5th Place. So that’s why we’re ranking his Gators in 4th Place for now. He’s got an amazing talent in Justin Fields, as well as several other high ceiling quarterbacks. Si will need to rebuild his running back room, as he lost a couple to the pros and a couple more are in limbo as transfers. If the Gators can get that right, they can obviously make another run for the Trophy this year.
QB’s: Hank Bachmeier, James Blackman, Jayden Daniels, Justin Fields (31.9 ppg, 5th highest last year and top returnee for 2020), Kedon Slovis, Isaiah Williams
RB’s: Zach Charbonnet, Lorenzo Lingard (transferring to Florida), Ja’Tarvious Whitlow (transferring?)
WR’s: Frank Darby, Whop Philyor, Tylan Wallace
TE’s: Brevin Jordan, Kyle Pitts
NFL: Anthony Gordon, DeeJay Dallas, J.J. Taylor, Brandon Arconado, Isaiah Hodgins, Tyler Johnson, Michael Pittman, Rodrigo Blankenship
2020 CFP Playoff Contenders
#5 Derek’s Bulldogs (Derek Kaczmarczyk) – Our league’s 14 time Champion in 21 years of play means he has won two of every three Titles. That’s incredible, unthinkable, and unfathomable. It’s ridiculous, impressive, and lucky. It’s mind-blowing, embarrassing, and unbelievable. The New York Yankees would be impressed. On the other hand, I bet when Derek tells outsiders how he dominates our league, they either: A) don’t believe him, or B) think all of us other dudes have no clue what we’re doing. In that regard, even Derek can’t win for losing. If he wins, it makes the rest of us look like we have one-on-one Special Education Aides. If he loses, everyone thinks Derek is getting dementia. Either way, it kinda sucks to be D. The only guy to beat Derek in a Butkus Bowl was Simon, back in the year 2000. Since then, D is 13-0. This streak is better than John Wooden’s UCLA teams in the 60’s. Anyway, here’s Derek’s roster. Loads of young, unproven talent could put D back in the race for the Trophy.
QB’s: Phil Jurkovec, Graham Mertz, Davis Mills, Michael Penix, John Rhys Plumlee, Spencer Rattler, Tyler Shough, Zach Wilson
RB’s: Elijah Collins, Jerrion Ealy, Travis Etienne (22.0 ppg, 5th most last year amongst RB’s and 2nd most as a returnee behind Hubbard), Breece Hall, Tyler Goodson, Zonovan Knight, Markese Stepp, Master Teague, D.J. Williams
WR’s: Rashod Bateman, Justyn Ross, Sage Surratt, Jaylen Waddle
TE’s & K’s: Peyton Hendershot, Cameron Dicker
#6 Mike’s Tigers (Mike Lis) – Mike’s Tigers had a solid season in 2019 but unfortunately we’re ranking him lower than his 4th Place finish in the Final Standings because of his losses to the NFL as well as his ill-conceived trade of his best remaining player, Ian Book, to Reid on a Zoom conference call just the other day. Mike is left with one quarterback, and that’s no way to win the Butkus League. In addition to losing All-World fantasy stud Jalen Hurts (534 points last year, 2nd behind Joe Burrow) to the pros, Mike also loses J.K. Dobbins (353 points), Rodney Smith, and Trishton Jackson. As you can see, that’s nearly 900 points lost to the NFL. Then to give Ian Book (372 points) to Reid…. oh brother! It looks like a rebuilding year for the Tigers, at least in his quarterback room. If he shores that up, his RB’s and WR’s could give him a chance at making the Playoffs.
QB’s: James Graham (who?)
RB’s: Journey Brown, Alex Fontenot, Jermar Jefferson, Jordan Mason, Richard Newton, Isaih Pacheco, Pooka Williams
WR’s: Tutu Atwell (15.6 ppg, Tied with Devonta Smith for most ppg amongst Mike’s returnees), Dyami Brown, Demetric Felton, Kyle Ford, Terrace Marshall, Stephon Robinson, Devonta Smith, Tamorrion Terry
TE’s & K’s: Charlie Kolar, Blake Mazza
Draft Capital: Reid’s 2nd Rounder (#15 Overall) in exchange for Ian Book
NFL: Jalen Hurts, J.K. Dobbins, Rodney Smith, Trishton Jackson
#7 Brian’s Badgers (Brian Kretschmer) – Despite having one of the best players in all the land, Brian scuffled to a 7th Place finish in 2019. QB Trevor Lawrence returns for Clemson for likely his last season in 2020 before becoming the #1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. That’s the biggest reason for hope for Brian’s Badgers to improve this Autumn. But as we all know by now, it takes a lot more than one stud to win a Title. Brian has his work cut out for him, but he’s done it before (2012 Butkus League Champion & 2015 Real Champion), why not again?
QB’s: Alan Bowman, J.T. Daniels, Grant Gunnell, Trevor Lawrence (28.4 ppg, 4th highest returner behind Fields, Ehlinger, and Book), Tanner Morgan, Bo Nix, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Jarren Williams
RB’s: David Bailey, Rakeem Boyd, Mohamed Ibrahim, Trey Sanders, SaRoderick Thompson
WR’s: Jadon Haselwood, Chris Olave, J.D. Spielman, Amon-Ra St.Brown, Seth Williams
TE: Matt Bushman
NFL: Zack Moss, Lynn Bowden, K.J. Hamler, Matt Ammendola
#8 Jeff’s Ducks (Jeff Marchese) – Jeff struggled in 2019. The Ducks finished in 7th Place in the Regular Season Standings, beating only Brian’s Badgers. However, Brian beat Jeff handily in their head-to-head matchup in the USF&G Verduzco Bowl Presented by Sunkist (no joke, this is the real name of our 7th Place Bowl). Because of that, along with losing most of your best players to the NFL, we’re going to give the nod to Brian. Therefore, we’re placing Jeff dead last in our Power Rankings. Sorry buddy, but somebody has to be at the bottom. For now, it’s you.
QB’s: Sean Clifford (23.3 ppg, Jeff’s highest returnee), Cammon Cooper, Tommy Devito, Max Duggan, Spencer Sanders
RB’s: Kylin Hill, Khalon Laborn, Stevie Scott, C.J. Verdell, Jordan Whittington
WR’s: David Bell, Josh Imatorbhebhe, Dazz Newsome, George Pickens, T.J. Vasher, Theo Wease
TE’s & K’s: Austin Stogner, Blake Haubeil
NFL: Jacob Eason, A.J. Dillon, D’Andre Swift, Tee Higgins, Denzel Mims
So there we have it. The 2020 Butkus League Offseason Power Rankings are in the books. As we all know, this doesn’t portend what will happen in 2020. However, it provides a guideline for relative team strength at this point in time. Could Jeff win the league next year? For sure. Could Jon repeat? No doubt about it. Could Derek rise back up to become “King of the Mountain” again? Absolutely. Simon is always in the running, year after year. What will happen with Brian and Mike’s rebuilt squads? Not sure. Could Dave or Reid finally get over the hump? Likely!
The Butkus Bowl 22 Champion will be crowned in January. No matter what happens, no matter who it is, it’s sure to be another exciting year.
We’ll leave you with a picture of a moment in time from one of the famous games from the early era of college football. I recently read about the historic Yale vs Princeton game from 1893. As we continue existing during the interminably long offseason, remember that the world was once a much different place, and it will continue evolving. Ever evolving, with competition at the heart of mankind’s quest for satisfaction and enlightenment. We will all continue this quest…. and soon.