We Simulated Clemson’s 2019 Season, but with LSU’s Schedule

Clemson got a lot of grief for their quality of competition last season, going 12-0 in the ACC en route to a College Football Playoff berth – Clemson dominated the ACC, but they wouldn’t have stood a chance in the SEC – or so the rabid fans down south would like you to believe. Yes, Clemson has dominated the ACC, but last year, only one other team put up a nine-win season, and that was Virginia, who lost by 45 points to Clemson in the ACC title game – not exactly elite by any stretch. However, there’s no question Dabo Swinney runs an excellent program, and you only have to go back two years to recall Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers dismantling Alabama by 28 points in the title game. Was last year’s championship loss another mere reflection of LSU’s dominance, or did it symbolize that Clemson simply wouldn’t be as good as they are in a different conference. To answer this question, we simulated Clemson’s 2019 season, except we stacked them up against LSU’s schedule, to see how the Tigers may have fared. Granted, this is only one simulation, but it’s curious to see if LSU, and the SEC as a whole, has some merit in their constant berating of Dabo’s team. Let’s see if Clemson can shut them up. 

Week 1 vs. Georgia Southern
Win 38-6 (LSU Result: Win 55-3)
Maybe LSU had a little more dominance, but this one wasn’t ever close. No questions are answered after this game. 

Week 2 @ Texas
Loss 20-17 (LSU Result: Win 45-38)
Ouch. A Week 2 loss already in the books for Clemson. They had much better defensive success against Sam Ehlinger, but a 32-yard touchdown pass with four seconds left dooms them. This game wasn’t a cakewalk for LSU either though, and a three-point non-conference loss hardly dooms Clemson’s playoff hopes (if they run the table in the SEC). 

Week 3 vs. Northwestern State
Our simulator does not allow us to clash with FCS opponents, but we know this one would have been a blowout win for Clemson either way. It was never going to tell us anything we didn’t already know. 

Week 4 @ Vanderbilt
Win 44-19 (LSU Result: Win 66-38)
In their first SEC clash, Clemson answers the bell with ease, dominating the hapless Commodores. Travis Etienne – he’s dominant in any conference – puts up over 250 yards of offense as Clemson opens up a 34-6 halftime lead. LSU’s margin of victory is slightly bigger, but nothing jaw-dropping here. 

Week 5 vs. Utah State
Win 62-13 (LSU Result: Win 42-3)
The only thing we learned from this one is that Jordan Love can’t do anything against LSU or Clemson – wouldn’t be too confident if I’m a Packers fan right now. Clemson wins by 10 more than LSU did, with Trevor Lawrence tossing six touchdowns, but both teams cruise.

Week 6 vs. Florida
Win 31-26 (LSU Result: Win 42-28)
What a game! People forget that Kyle Trask and the Gators were the only team all season to lead LSU in the second half. They never actually lead Clemson in this one, but they’re very close all game, and Clemson can’t breathe easy until Trask tosses an interception at the Clemson 38 with under a minute to play. Still a very solid SEC win for the Tigers, however. 

Week 7 @ Mississippi State
Win 42-21 (LSU Result: Win 36-13)
Nothing much to see here – Clemson cruises on the road against an inferior team that was barely bowl-eligible. It wasn’t even as close as the score indicated, as the Bulldogs scored in the final minutes to pull within 21. The next few weeks have some bigger tests in store.

Week 8 vs. Auburn
Win 58-10 (LSU Result: Win 23-20)
Wow, absolute dominance by Clemson. Auburn rarely struggles like this on defense, but Clemson was simply all over them from the start. A rare time that the Clemson offense did far more than LSU did, as Trevor Lawrence (389 yards, four touchdowns) and Travis Ettienne (213 all-purpose yards) were simply finding gaping holes in the defense. Is this a testament to who has the real Death Valley as well? Bo Nix looked horrific here, but he almost led the Tigers to a big upset at LSU..

Week 9 @ Alabama
Loss 47-7 (LSU Result: Win 46-41)

That’s a tough look right there. Clemson went into Tuscaloosa, but unlike Joe Burrow, they didn’t pull the upset. Not only that, but the Crimson Tide laughed Clemson out of town, as the Tigers failed to score until 1:37 left in the third quarter. Alabama had the offense to go toe-to-toe with anyone, and Clemson’s offense was simply not up to the task. Since the rest of the SEC results will hold, this means Alabama finishes the season 7-1 in SEC play, and thus Clemson will not play in the SEC title game. The Playoff  is a distant memory at this point, and they can only hope to play for a potential New Years’ 6 Bowl Game. (Apologies, there were some issues with the boxscore link on this game).

Week 10 @ Ole Miss
Win 28-18 (LSU Result: Win 58-37)
It’s been a pretty consistent trend (sans the Alabama debacle) – Clemson fared much better defensively against the Rebels than LSU, while their offense suffered considerably more struggles. Ole Miss led for much of the first half, but Clemson seizes control late in the second quarter and pulls away.
Week 11 vs Arkansas
Win 54-17 (LSU Result: Win 56-20)
Arkansas is exactly the same thing to Clemson that they were to LSU: SEC punching bags. The Razorbacks never had a chance. Clemson unleashes some of their frustration from their horrific loss and frustratingly close win against Ole Miss. 

Week 12 vs. Texas A&M
Win 33-3 (LSU Result: Win 50-7)
The Aggies are a good, not great, SEC team. It’s a useful measuring stick to see how Clemson sizes up against a team that is certainly in the upper half of the conference. They proved clear superiority in this one, much like they did in their actual game against Texas A&M this past season (albeit much earlier in the season). The Aggies are held to three points, as they were on the actual gridiron, and Clemson tacks on a few more field goals in this virtual contest, wrapping up their regular season. At 10-2, with ranked victories over Florida and Auburn, Clemson has a decent chance at swinging a New Years’ 6 game, but nothing more than that, as Alabama takes on Georgia in the SEC championship. 

The Verdict
Clearly, Clemson was not the power that LSU was, but we already knew that from their championship game clash. The Tigers went 10-2, with a 7-1 SEC mark, proving that they would be right there with the best of them in the conference. The biggest bragging right the SEC can hold over Clemson is much tougher road atmospheres. Clemson went 3-1 in SEC road games, struggling to do much against Ole Miss and getting absolutely blown out by Alabama. Throw in their Texas loss, and the Tigers went 3-2 in true road games, with a point differential of just +13. Maybe Clemson is in for a bit more trouble than people think when they visit Notre Dame, who hasn’t lost at home since 2017, in the upcoming season. The ACC doesn’t provide intimidating road environments – not exactly surprising for a basketball-dominated conference – and Clemson clearly struggled in hostile environments in this simulation. However, nobody, regardless of conference, touches Clemson at Death Valley (real or not).

It’s completely unfair to say Clemson is not a great team that benefits from a bad conference. Yes, their ACC schedule is easy, but Clemson would be extremely competitive and near the top of the SEC, even if they weren’t a near-lock for 12-0 every season. Their mauling in Tuscaloosa does raise some questions abut their physicality, and emphasizes the difference in a full-season grind in the SEC versus the ACC – however don’t mistake that for mediocrity. Clemson is a premier program and would still compete for a Playoff spot against a much tougher schedule.


Rivalry Classic: We Simulated A Series Between the Best Possible Army and Navy Rosters (1996-Present)

Last week, we kicked off our rivalry classic series with the Ohio State vs. Michigan series – this week we’re celebrating Memorial Day by checking out the Army-Navy match-up. “The only game where every player on the field would be willing to die for every person in the stands”. The Army-Navy game is one of the greatest sporting events of the year, and Navy snapped a three-game losing streak last season after dominating much of this century. Will Navy’s dominance over much of the last 20 years hold up, or can Army’s best players come together to pull the upset? 

Roster Comparison

2019 Malcolm Perry
2016 Will Worth
2015 Keenan Reynolds
1997 Chris McCoy
2018 Kelvin Hopkins Jr.
1996 Ronnie McAda
2017 Ahmad Bradshaw
Advantage: Navy. It’s not close – I’d probably take any of Navy’s four options here over Army’s best offering. Part of that is due to their system – Army’s approach utilizes their fullbacks and running backs more, while, especially recently, the quarterback has been the focal point of the Naval Academy offense, which is why you see three QBs from the past five seasons on this list. 

Wide Receivers
2017 Zach Abey
2019 C.J. Williams
2019 Keoni-Kordell Makekau
2010 Greg Jones
2015 Jamir Tillman
2001 Jeff Gaddy
1999 Omari Thompson
1998 Roderick Richardson
2009 Jameson Carter
2007 Jeremy Trimble
2003 Aaron Alexander
2019 Camden Harrison
Advantage: Navy. Abey’s inclusion is a bit of a weird one, as he was more of a quarterback with Navy, but he’s counted as a wide receiver in the simulator, and we’re not going to deny Navy a star talent. Even without Abey, their wide receivers are generally more involved than Army’s and they’re simply a deeper group. Not as much of a gaping hole between the two teams as under center, but still an edge to the Midshipmen. 

Running Back
2008 Shun White
2004 Kyle Eckel
2012 Gee Gee Greene
1996 Omar Nelson
2019 Jamale Carothers
2004 Carlton Jones
2000 Michael Wallace
2013 Terry Baggett
2011 Raymond Maples
1996 Joseph Hewitt
2012 Larry Dixon
Advantage: Army. Even without their extra running back (Navy had an extra QB), Army simply has brought in and developed more backfield talent than Navy. It’s a little bit due to the difference in systems once more, as Army delegates more of the offensive responsibility to their backs then Navy does. I think Army’s top-4 running backs here are the best four on the gridiron in this series, so this position is a big advantage for the Black Knights. 

Tight End
1997 Mark Mill
1999 Alton McCallum
2004 Jared Ulekowski
2001 Clinton Dodson
Full Disclosure, we had to bend the rules a little bit. Navy simply doesn’t use tight ends in their offense, and Mill is the only player in the last 25 years considered to primarily play the position for the Midshipmen. We had to fill out the position in order to complete the roster, we used two tight ends from different teams that had the minimum value and designated them to no playing time. So advantage to Army here, as they have McCallum, who can factor into the run game, and Ulekowski and Dodson, who both were solid contributors in the passing game during their time on campus. 


2019 Navy Defense
1996 Army Defense
Advantage: Navy

Special Teams (Kick and Punt Returns)
2007 Navy Special Teams
2006 Army Special Teams
Advantage: Army

Navy: 2001 David Hills
Army: 1996 Joseph Parker
Advantage: Navy
Navy: 2012 Pablo Beltran
Army: 2019 Zach Harding
Advantage: Army

This rivalry series, as it is many times, should be a clash of heavy run games with different play styles. Navy will likely lean on Malcolm Perry to do damage, as he did in the most recent edition of the Army-Navy game, when he accumulated over 300 rushing yards. Army will use a bevy of backs, largely from the late 90s and early 2000s to counter Perry. Navy is going with their defense from last season, while Army, like other pieces of their roster, heads back to 1996 and their 10-2 team to grab their defense, in hopes of defeating the Midshipmen in the ultimate rivalry clash. All three games, like the Army-Navy game, will be played on a neutral field, and both teams will employ a favor-run style, to try to emulate the ground-and-pound system of the military academies. Let’s get it. Credit to the WhatIf Sports Simulator for helping us run this series. 

Game 1
Navy 23 Army 6

Malcolm Perry didn’t run for 304 yards, but he was quietly efficient, rushing for 71 and passing for 90 on a 5-7 effort, while Zach Abey ran for 60 yards. Perry ran one touchdown from ten yards out with nine seconds to go in the first half to take command with a 13-3 lead at the break. C.J. Williams iced the game with a 21-yard touchdown run in the final five minutes. David Hills drilled three field goals in three attempts to account for the rest of the offense. For Army, Kelvin Hopkins ran for 68 yards, but he had to go to the air to engineer a comeback, and the Black Knights aren’t built for that. Hopkins was 8-15 for 106 yards and a pick, and as a whole, the Army rushing attack averaged just 2.7 yards per carry. Joseph Parker knocked a pair of field goals, but that was the only offense mustered by the Black Knights. Dominant effort by the Midshipmen to kick off the rivalry classic. 

Game 2
Army 20 Navy 13
We’ve got ourselves a series! Army engineered a stunning late-game comeback to force Game 3. For three quarters, it looked like Navy would simply finish off a series sweep with dominating defense, as they led 13-3 heading into the fourth quarter, on the strength of a pair of field goals from Hills and a 24-yard run by Perry, who totaled 249 all-purpose yards, 129 of which came with his legs. However, the fourth quarter belonged to Army. Hopkins flipped a short pass to Carlton Jones, who raced 86 yards for a 1st & Goal, and, despite needing all four plays, the Black Knights punched it in behind a 2-yard run from tight end Alton McCallum. Army would get the ball back with 4:50 to play. Feeling the need to pass the ball a little bit, Army brought in 1996 quarterback Ronnie McCada, who did his job by going 2-2 for 21 yards. With 1:40 to go, Jones ran it the final 33 yards for a 17-13 lead. Navy couldn’t gain a first down, and Army took a few knees, kicking a field goal in the final five seconds to solidify the result. 

Game 3
Army 16 Navy 13
4th quarter magic baby – it’s what the Black Knights were made of in this series. Once again, Army failed to score a touchdown until the fourth quarter, but their defense kept it close, and a final surge brought them to a Game 3 victory. Hopkins was solid all day, going 10-14 for 119 yards, while Perry finally looked rattled under center, going just 2-6 with a pick. The Navy rushing offense was solid, with Perry going for 72 yards, Abey churning out 41, and Kyle Eckel picking his way for 38, but it wasn’t enough for the Midshipmen. Army got 167 yards on the ground from Jones, and McCallum and Michael Wallace combined for 110 yards. Navy had a 13-6 lead at halftime, courtesy of Eckel’s 5-yard touchdown run, and a pair of field goals from Hills, including a 56-yarder as the first half clock expired.
McCallum’s 41-yard run on a reverse set the Black Knights up for a 33-yard field goal with a touch under eight minutes to go. Navy ticked two-and-a-half minutes off the clock, but Army needed 43 seconds to score, as Wallace broke off a 14-yard run, and Jones burst 62 yards for a 16-13 Army lead. Navy faced a 4th and 5, and they elected to trust their defense and punt. Army grinded out two first downs, including a third down conversion, to ice the game. 

Navy may have dominated the individual results over the past 20 years or so (sans Army’s recent 3-year winning streak), but Army gets the bragging rights in a thrilling three-game rivalry classic. Cue the Alma Mater  – Army sings second. 

The singing of the alma maters is a timeless tradition to end the Army-Navy game

We Simulated A Series Between The Best Possible Ohio State And Michigan Rosters

We all know the best rivalry in college football is Ohio State vs. Michigan. It’s simply an undisputed fact. Alabama may try to push the Iron Bowl, but no two teams – even two states – hate each other more than Ohio State and Michigan. The “M” is literally a forbidden letter throughout Ohio in the weeks leading up to the game – Michigan residents are born hating the Buckeyes, and the same is true on the flip side. Now who has been better throughout the years? Michigan leads the all-time series, but the Buckeyes have completely dominated the Wolverines in the past decade. But what if – hypothetically – the best to ever put on the maize and blue faced off against the best their archrivals have produced? Let’s find out.

Our All-Star Rosters will cover from 1996 to the present day for two reasons. First off, if you’re going back more than 25 years to try and prove your program’s superiority, it’s annoying – nobody cares what happened in the 60s, 70s, or 80s. To quote podcast personality Cal Christoforo: “It’s a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately type of league” so that’s what this rivalry simulation will emulate. The other reason is much more practical – The WhatIfSports simulator we are using only allows ‘dream team’ rosters using players from 1996 and onwards, due to the evolution of the game.
A second disclaimer – the all-star rosters use the best season from a given player, and roster spots are not allowed to be taken up by a certain player. For example, even though Michigan’s best three seasons at quarterback came from Denard Robinson, only Robinson’s best individual campaign will be factored into his virtual rivalry series self. 

Roster Comparison

Quarterback Room
Ohio State
2014 J.T. Barrett
2013 Braxton Miller
2018 Dwayne Haskins
2005 Troy Smith

2010 Denard Robinson
2013 Devin Gardner
2003 John Navarre
2019 Shea Patterson

Michigan has the advantage at starter here, but if Robinson goes down, I’d take any of Ohio State’s four quarterbacks over their alternative option. A true dual-threat quarterback who ran for over 1600 yards, Robinson has been Michigan’s best signal-caller of the past 25 years by far. Meanwhile, Barrett beats out Miller for the Ohio State starting job, on the premise that he’s a better thrower, but he’s still capable of doing damage with his legs. Ohio State has reeled in quality QB after quality QB, and they’ll be in good hands with any one of these four guys. 

Running Backs
Ohio State
2019 J.K. Dobbins
2013 Carlos Hyde
2016 Ezekiel Elliot
1996 Pepe Pearson
1998 Michael Wiley

2000 Anthony Thomas
2003 Chris Perry
2007 Mike Hart
2018 Karan Higdon
2011 Fitzgerald Touissant

Not even close. Huge advantage to the Buckeyes in this department. I mean, a fourth overall pick is their third-string running back?? I firmly believe Dobbins to be the best running back in Ohio State history, at least in the past couple of decades, and Hyde, Pearson, and Wiley round out an intimidating backfield. Not too many names out of the Michigan running back room scare me much at all. 

Wide Receivers
Ohio State
1998 David Boston
2014 Devin Smith
2018 Parris Campbell
1998 Dee Miller
2001 Chris Vance
2005 Santonio Holmes

2004 Braylon Edwards
2001 Marquise Walker
2013 Jeremy Gallon
2005 Jason Avant
2007 Mario Manningham
2008 Michael Shaw

Ohio State may sound like a more traditional wide receiver school, but although some of their alums may reach higher prominence in the NFL, the Wolverines boast the better collegiate careers, and I’ll take their wide receiver room over Ohio State without hesitation.

Tight Ends
Ohio State
2016 Marcus Baugh
2012 Jake Stoneburner
1998 John Lumpkin

2018 Zach Gentry
2001 Bill Seymour
2005 Tyler Ecker

Give this one to Michigan again. Tight End has not been one of Ohio State’s calling cards, and I’d draft any of Michigan’s three tight ends on this roster before dipping into the Buckeyes’ stash. 


1998 Ohio State
1997 Michigan
Advantage: Ohio State

Special Teams (Kick and Punt returns)
2004 Ohio State
2015 Michigan
Advantage: Michigan
OSU: 2013 Drew Basil
Michigan: 2018 Jake Moody
Advantage: Michigan

OSU: 2016 Cameron Johnston
Michigan: 2018 Will Hart

Advantage: Michigan

Michigan has a lot of advantages on their roster, but Ohio State has a lot of quarterback depth, and they absolutely dominate the running back conversation. Can their ground game and defense be enough to take down Michigan’s superiority in other areas? As Michigan leads the overall series, they will host Game 1 – Ohio State will host Game 2, and Game 3 will be played on a neutral field if necessary. 

The Series
Game 1 (@ the Big House)

Ohio State 20 Michigan 6

Defense was the name of the game. In a game reminiscent of the recent history between these two teams, Michigan simply could not do anything against the Buckeyes, whose 1998 defense recorded three sacks and picked Denard Robinson (2010) twice. Robinson ran for 93 yards, but only 119 passing yards doomed the Wolverines. J.T. Barrett (2014) ran for 54 yards, and he was 21-26 for an efficient 188 yards and two touchdowns. J.K. Dobbins (2019) ran for 58 yards, as Ohio State built a 17-0 and claimed a huge victory to start the rivalry series.

Game 2 (@ The Horseshoe)

Ohio State 42 Michigan 17

What a beatdown. Ohio State cruises to victory in this rivalry series with an absolute throttling of their archrivals. Michigan didn’t get on the board until they notched two touchdowns in the final five minutes, as Robinson was once again picked twice and sacked three times. Braylon Edwards (2004) caught 4 passes for 133 yards, and Anthony Thomas (2000) ran for 63 yards and two touchdowns, but that was it for Michigan highlights. It was J.T.  Barrett’s world in this series, as he threw for 341 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His 87-yard TD toss to Jake Stoneburner (2012) early in the fourth quarter made it 28-3, virtually icing the result. Dobbins ran for two first-half touchdowns and 62 yards, sparking Ohio State to a two-game sweep in this All-Time Rivalry Classic.

Dream League Championship: Clyde Edwards-Hillaire just keeps on running

They laughed at the strategy, but Nathaniel shook off the doubters. On the day of the draft, Nathaniel mourned his lack of preparation, so he proceeded to stick to his comfort zone. He loaded his offense with a stockpile of absurd SEC talent, drafted nine players out of the SEC East, subsequently dubbing his team the “SEC East all-stars”. Nathaniel was given the lowest odds of our three podcast personalities to win the title, but it didn’t matter.

After a 7-1 regular season, Nathaniel took a bye to the championship round, at which point he rolled over Cal, the preseason favorites, in a two-game sweep to claim the title. Here’s a recap of the championship round:

Nathaniel 55 Cal 33 (Box Score, and Play-by-Play)

Playing at home to start the series, Nathaniel actually struggled to start, falling behind by two possessions, 16-7, late in the second quarter. But in the final five minutes of the half, Nathaniel outscored Cal 24-0 to seize control. LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Hillaire broke off touchdown runs of 46 and 34 yards, sandwiched around a field goal, to take a 24-16 lead. Then, Nathaniel got some help from his Georgia defense, which intercepted Trevor Lawrence with three seconds left. Joe Burrow took a shot at the end zone and connected with DeVontae Smith for a touchdown.

Nathaniel iced the game in the third quarter as Edwards-Hillaire continued to torch Cal’s Ohio State defense, rushing for 28 and 66-yard TDs. Another Burrow-Smith connection made it a 21-point quarter and a 52-19 lead. Two late touchdowns for Cal did little to ease the brutal loss. Edwards-Hillaire rushed for four touchdowns and 213 yards, Burrow threw for 354 yards and three scores, while Lawrence threw for 348 yards in the loss.

Nathaniel 37 Cal 27

It was deja vu early for Cal, as he watched Clyde Edwards-Hillaire take a screen pass from Burrow 73 yards to the house en route to an early 13-0 deficit. However, playing in his home stadium – the “Big House” in Michigan – Cal didn’t go away. A Chuba Hubbard touchdown run kept him within 20-10 at halftime.

Lawrence scrambled and beat the defense to the edge early in the second half, running it in from 11 yards out, drawing within three points. After Nathaniel kicked a field goal, Hubbard snared a short pass and raced 55 yards for a 24-23 lead. However, it would be his only lead, as on Nathaniel’s next possession, second-string running back AJ Dillon, a second round pick in this year’s draft, burst up the middle for a 38-yard touchdown run. After a two-point conversion, it was 31-24, and Nathaniel held on for victory. Edwards-Hillaire racked up 161 all purpose yards to gain postseason MVP honors. Michael Pittman had 100 receiving yards in the loss.

Over the course of two dream league seasons, Nathaniel and Andrew each won a title, and the final records were as follows:

  1. Nathaniel (15-10)
  2. Andrew (10-11)
  3. Cal (9-14)

Dream League Playoffs: Justin Jefferson is automatic

Justin Jefferson shows UP in big games. In LSU’s dominant two-game College Football Playoff romp, Jefferson collected 23 passes for 336 yards and four touchdowns. And, apparently, virtual Justin Jefferson also performs in big games, as in an elimination playoff game, Jefferson caught three touchdown passes from Trevor Lawrence to help Cal eliminate Andrew, 37-27. Andrew’s miserable Dream League campaign ended with a dismal 1 win and 8 losses. Cal improves to 5-4 and will have a chance to take down Nathaniel’s 7-1 squad in a best-of-three championship series held this weekend. 

Cal 37 Andrew 27

Jefferson’s dominance allowed Cal to jump out to a 34-14 halftime advantage. Lawrence scrambled for another touchdown, and Jonathan Taylor, who pounded his way to 106 rushing yards, ran in Cal’s fifth and final touchdown of the half. Andrew’s ground-and-pound approach kept him close for a while, but despite 105 rushing yards from Travis Etienne, and 86 from J.K. Dobbins, he simply could not keep up with Cal’s red-hot offense. Late in the fourth quarter, Jalen Hurts hit Jamar Chase for a 25-yard touchdown pass to pull Andrew within ten points, but the two-point conversion failed. Cal ran most of the remaining four minutes off the clock, extinguishing any potential rally. 

Cal will visit NDL in the championship series opener on Friday night – stay tuned for updates.

Dream League Days 8-9: Joe Burrow is MVP again as postseason looms

Days 8-9 recap
Nathaniel closed out his dominant season with two more wins, as his offense continues to hum along with no issues. Cal is rolling into the postseason with a 3-1 mark in his previous four games, as he boosted his winning streak to three games with a 45-27 thumping of Andrew. That kept Cal alive for the top seed, but Nathaniel ended those hopes by ending Andrew’s comeback attempt, winning 30-20. Three field goals from Rodrigo Blankenship and another great performance from Joe Burrow were enough to clinch the first seed. The season finale between Nathaniel and Cal had little on the line, but Nathaniel wasn’t going to halt his momentum. He built up a 31-0 lead, on a pair of touchdowns each from AJ Dillon and Colby Parkinson. He held on to win 31-15 with relative ease. And thus, our Dream League regular season ended, and the postseason stage looms bright. 

We are into the Dream League Playoffs! It’s been a wild ride, and the season will culminate this weekend with the crowning of a champion. The overwhelming favorite will be top-seeded Nathaniel Lapoint, who is 7-1 and the clear best team in the league at this moment. He is 6-0 with League MVP Joe Burrow under center, and his offense has been nearly unstoppable. It doesn’t help that he has the 2019 Georgia Defense, the best defense in program history, along with Rodrigo Blankenship, who has been nearly automatic in the kicking game.

Cal, the preseason favorite, can’t be discounted yet, as he was the only team to take down Nathaniel, and despite a 4-4 record, he has an extremely talented roster. Powered by Jonathan Taylor, who finished second in the League MVP race, along with Trevor Lawrence, Cal is not out of it by any stretch, but he will have to win a home playoff game first. 

Andrew, who won the NCAA College Basketball Dream League with ease, piling up a 9-3 record, has had no such success in the NCAA Football league. After a seemingly convincing 40-21 win to open his season, Andrew went on to lose seven straight contests. He decided to pick the LSU championship defense, but the Tigers, when faced with Dream League offenses, have completely wilted. Andrew did push Nathaniel to the brink twice, coming within a possession in the fourth quarter in his last two games, but to even get to the championship, he’ll have to take down Cal on the road. Be sure to stay tuned for the playoffs.

Dream League Days 6-7: Ground and pound – Jonathan Taylor and Ohio State defense boost Cal

We’re officially into the stretch run of the dream league, and the standings are lining up nicely. The current standings are:

1. Nathaniel’s SEC East All-Stars (5-1)

2. Cal Christoforo’s Team (3-3)

3. Andrew’s 2Peaters (1-5)

After splitting their first two contests, Cal slaughtered Andrew in their third game against each other, slamming the cellar-dwellers 55-9. Jonathan Tayor ran for 161 yards and caught three passes for 68 more en route to claiming Game MVP. Cal’s Ohio State defense, which has been dominant for large portions of the season, held Andrew to three field goals.

Nathaniel would add to Andrew’s misery the next day, as after Andrew surprising kept likely league MVP Joe Burrow at bay, tying the game 20-20 in the third quarter, Nathaniel pulled away with 17 straight points for a 37-20 win. After a wild comeback victory in the season opener, Andrew sits at 1-5, and he’s nearly clinched last place for the regular season.

Nathaniel finally took his first loss of the season, as he tried to outduel Cal at home by once again benching Joe Burrow for Lynn Bowden. Cal set the weather to 40 degrees to help out his run-heavy offense, and his defense had no issues in shutting down Bowden, who didn’t generate much with his legs, and was just 3-11 with a pick through the air. Cal cruised, 43-6. With Heisman winner Joe Burrow on the bench, Nathaniel drops to 5-1, missing his first of three chances to clinch first place and a bye into the championship round.

Dream League Days 4-5: Joe Burrow dominates, Nathaniel rolls

We are halfway through the Dream League season, and a clear favorite has emerged. Nobody has touched Nathaniel’s air-raid offense yet, as Joe Burrow has been absolutely dominant, and Nathaniel’s bevy of playmakers are getting things done. Meanwhile, the Georgia defense, which was the best in program history in 2019, is coming up big. It’s hard to engage in a shootout with the Georgia defense, and it’s hard to limit Joe Burrow, but Nathaniel is forcing his opponents to figure out how to do just so. 

Day 4 saw Cal pick up his first victory. The preseason favorite struggled in his first two games, but he put on a dominant performance, thrashing Andrew’s 2Peaters 34-7. Justin Jefferson caught six passes for 134 yards, Jonathan Taylor churned out 110 yards on the ground, and Cal’s Ohio State defense intercepted Jalen Hurts twice in the statement victory. 

However, Day 5 belonged to Nathaniel, who took on both Cal and Andrew on the day. Nathaniel improved to an impressive 4-0, including 2-0 on the road. He started the day out with a road victory, 34-21 over Andrew. Andrew kept pace in the first half, but he was unable to score until garbage time of the second half, as Nathaniel broke off a 20-0 run, with Burrow throwing for 309 yards. 

In his second contest of the game, the game was over almost before it started. On the strength of an incredible 31-point second quarter, Nathaniel bullied Cal out of town, taking his fourth straight win to start the year. Burrow tossed five touchdowns and 447 yards, with Jerry Jeudy snaring two of Burrow’s TD passes, while Richard Laconte Jr. of the Georgia defense intercepted Trevor Lawrence two times. Rodrigo Blankenship also kicked three field goals, improving to 7-8 in four games, and Nathaniel rolled, 58-28. Andrew and Cal will play tomorrow for sole possession of second place.

Cal 34 Andrew 7
Nathaniel 34 Andrew 21 (Box Score Unavailable)
Nathaniel 58 Cal 28 


Nathaniel (4-0)
Andrew (1-3)
Cal (1-3)

Dream League Days 2-3: Benching Joe Burrow for Lynn Bowden?

After Andrew defeated Cal in the opening contest with relative ease, it was time for Nathaniel to get into the action, and he took his squad, loaded with SEC East talent into action against Andrew on Day 2.

Featuring an air-raid attack led by Joe Burrow, Nathaniel’s offense was nearly unstoppable, particularly in the second half. Burrow went 26-39 for 393 yards, tossing four touchdowns. 1st-round draft pick Clyde Edwards-Hillaire caught a pair of 1-yard scores and rushed for another, as Nathaniel outscored Andrew 21-3 in the third quarter and hung on for a nail-biting 41-35 victory. J.K. Dobbins paced Andrew’s offense with a whopping 221 rushing yards, averaging nearly ten yards per pop.

Box Score: https://www.whatifsports.com/ncaafb/boxscore.asp?GameID=11871786&nomenu=1

Day 3 featured some highly interesting strategy between Nathaniel and Cal. After watching Burrow torch Andrew, Cal used his homefield advantage to set the weather, a feature available on our simulation, to 35 degrees with wind and pouring rain. Nathaniel’s response? He benched Burrow for Kentucky’s jack-of-all trades Lynn Bowden, also choosing the heavy run play style.

Cal was highly critical of the decision, commenting “I’m trying to think of a scenario that this is a close game, but I can’t”

Nathaniel was confident in his bold decision, saying “I’m going to make Cal have nightmares about Lynn Bowden tonight”.

Although the play style didn’t fit Nathaniel’s offense nearly as well, he had a strength in Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, who kicked three field goals – two in the fourth quarter – to edge out Cal, who managed just a single touchdown on the day. Bowden put together a solid performance, but it was Edwards-Hillaire that was the main feature of Nathaniel’s offense, churning out 132 yards in the gritty 9-7 victory.

Box Score: https://www.whatifsports.com/ncaafb/boxscore.asp?GameID=11874668&nomenu=1

Nathaniel (2-0)
Andrew (1-1)
Cal (0-2)

Dream League Day 1: J.K. Dobbins dominates

The lack of live sports has dragged on, and the nearest end in sight is a May 17 NASCAR race. I’m so desperate, I might just watch it. But until then, we have restarted our Dream League Series. It’s the second part after If you read the preview, you know about the teams, and maybe you picked a favorite. There’s plenty of trash talk to go around, but for now let’s get to the results of Day 1. You can read how the game went down, or you can just scroll to the bottom for the result and standings.

The match-up featured the league favorite, Cal, traveling to Andrew’s 2-peaters, Andrew plays his home games at the real Death Valley, in Clemson, so beating him on the road will be a tough task. In this league, the home team also gets to set the weather for the simulation, allowing for adjustments to fit their play style. How did this one play out? Find out below.

The Game

Andrew’s offense was led by Jalen Hurts and the running back tandem of JK Dobbins and Travis Etienne. He used LSU’s championship defense to counter Cal’s offense, led by the Chuba Hubbard and Jonathan Taylor in the backfield, with Trevor Lawrence calling the shots under center. Ohio State was Cal’s defense of choice.

After Cal jumped out to a 14-3 lead on the strength of a punt return and Taylor touchdown run, Degeorge ended the half on a 23-0 run in the final 1:40. Etienne punched one in, then Andrew’s squad sacked Lawrence for a safety, then Hurts launched two long touchdown passes to cap off quick drives sandwiched around Cal’s 3-and-out to take a 26-14 lead into halftime.

Cal closed within 26-21, but two long touchdown runs by JK Dobbins iced the game for Andrew, who thumped the league favorites 40-21 to start the season off strong. Dobbins killed the game

Player of the Game: J.K. Dobbins – 22 carries, 143 yards


Andrew Degeorge 1-0

Nathaniel Lapoint 0-0

Cal Christoforo 0-1