This article is part of our College Football Fantasy Five series.
Even though there's no college football currently being played, it doesn't mean that we can't start preparing for the 2021 fantasy college football season. I've scrubbed the current headlines and here's a countdown of the top five stories with significant fantasy implications.
5.) RB Alec Sinkfield on His Way to Boston College
Rivals reported Sinkfield's transfer from West Virginia to Boston College, setting him up for the starting job after the news of David Bailey entering of the NCAA transfer portal. Bailey was productive overall at BC while averaging 4.8 yards per carry on his way to 1,600 yards and 18 total touchdowns in three seasons, however, they had a tough time finding success in the run-game in 2020. The Eagles ranked 117th in the nation at 3.10 YPA and 85th with just 11 rushing touchdowns. These are poor numbers when you consider they ran on 48.1 percent of their plays which was near the top of the FBS ranks. Sinkfield will likely have plenty of volume if he wins the job over Travis Levy, but it's not currently known whether that offense is dynamic enough to increase their scoring output which means a low touchdown floor.
4.) Washington State QB Battle Will be a Battle worth Watching
Concerning news for QB Jayden de Laura as he was arrested on a DUI charge in Pullman and has been suspended indefinitely. The Hawaii product showed some promise during his freshman season while racking up seven total touchdowns (five passing and two rushing) in four games. He was already expected to be in a quarterback competition with graduate transfer Jarrett Guarantano, so his status with the team will be worth watching as we approach the spring. Guarantano could provide some serious upside for the Cougars after completing 61.1 percent of his passes for 6,174 yards and a 38:17 TD:INT ratio to go along with five rushing scores in four seasons at Tennessee.
3.) SMU is On Track to be a Premier Program for Fantasy Consideration
Similar to the reputation created by Memphis and UCF in the AAC Conference over the last few years, SMU appears to be next in line for an offensive powerhouse when looking outside of the Power Five. ESPN recently ran an interesting piece on star recruiter Ra'Shaad Samples and how SMU is on the rise. ESPN's recruiting service named this year's SMU class No. 1 among Group of 5 programs and they were already working in the right direction. The Mustangs are 17-6 under Sonny Dykes in their last two seasons and have yielded top-15 offenses in each of those years. What the ponies did with Shane Buechele after his transfer from Texas was inspiring and they'll look to do the same with Oklahoma QB transfer, Tanner Mordecai. RB Ulysses Bentley burst on to the scene last year, WR Reggie Roberson is a special talent, WR Danny Gray is a legitimate contributor and graduate TE transfer Grant Calcaterra will be a pleasant surprise for this team.
Shough provided a jolt to the Pac-12 Conference by announcing via twitter that he will be leaving Eugene as a grad transfer with three years of remaining eligibility. This comes after a relatively successful season with the Ducks where he completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 1,559 yards and 13 touchdowns against just six interceptions in seven games. This resulted in a Passing Efficiency Rating of 160.4 which ranked 15th in the nation and tops in the Pac-12 Conference. If Shough lands in an ideal landing spot, it could have huge fantasy implications.
At Oregon, this likely elevates senior Anthony Brown to the starting spot under Mario Cristobal. Brown saw action in the Fiesta Bowl after Shough was temporarily benched following the first drive in the bowl game. Previous to being with the Ducks, Brown was a three-year starter at Boston College where he threw for 40 touchdowns in 28 games. He will bring experience to a Ducks squad who have some dangerous weapons on the offensive end in RB CJ Verdell and WR Devon Williams.
1.) Iowa State Extends HC Matt Campbell through 2028
In order to put in to context the job Campbell has done at Iowa State since taking over in 2016, I feel obligated to show Iowa State's record and offensive production since 2014:
2014 – 2-10 Record while averaging 23.2 points per game (99th out of 128 teams)
2015 – 3-9 Record while averaging 25.0 points per game (93rd out of 128 teams)
2016 – 3-9 Record while averaging 27.7 points per game (71st out of 128 teams)
2017 – 8-5 Record while averaging 29.2 points per game (56th out of 130 teams)
2018 – 8-5 Record while averaging 26.8 points per game (83rd out of 130 teams)
2019 – 7-6 Record while averaging 32.2 points per game (29th out of 130 teams)
2020 – 9-3 Record while averaging 32.9 points per game (34th out of 130 teams)
If the trend isn't obvious enough, Campbell has transformed the Iowa State program with his recruits and pro-style system which has the Cyclones playing at a very high level right now. They play in the Big 12 which has few defensive stalwarts and return pretty much all of their offensive production for 2021. It won't be difficult for me to load up on the likes of RB Breece Hall, QB Brock Purdy, WR Xavier Hutchinson and TE Charlie Kolar this upcoming season for fantasy purposes.