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Everything posted by CowboyinAmerica

  1. Expectations Minneapolis -- After last season's conference finals failure, one could forgive the Minnesota Frontier if they were tight lipped at the start of the season, if they said they had no expectations at all. But for better or worse, that's not the hand that the team has been dealt. With a weaker Western Conference this season, the Minnesota Frontier come in as the conference favorites - with all of the pressure that comes with that. The first two games of the season have showed both the downside and the upside of those expectations. In week one, Minnesota fans were devastated after a close loss to Toronto, a team itself on the upswing. But the following week, a crushing defeat of San Francisco gave those fans hope again. "We've been up and down so far, we need to stabilize that," said Minnesota cornerback Sherrick Newsome III. "If we're going to be a real contender we need to look more like we did against San Francisco than we did against Toronto." It was both the offense and defense that stepped up in the San Francisco game, and Newsome himself had a pick six. Especially when taking into account his 72 yard punt return against Toronto, he's beginning to get a reputation as a big play magnet. And that's perfectly fine with him. "The past few seasons, I've been content to play my role. But I think I've got the talent to bust open games," Newsome added. "I think it's time to show the league what I'm about and this team's about."
  2. Maybe random, but I'll say the third Wisconsin title (or the first one of the threepeat). It was great getting the first two, but after losing twice and being in my eighth season, I didn't know if I'd get another chance. Getting back to the top there was something special.
  3. My Season 37 EFL Power Rankings I didn’t do a power rankings last season, but I would have been both right and wrong. I probably would have put New York #1 and Minnesota #2, and during the regular season, both of those would have been solid picks. However, the playoffs are a different beast. Miami, who I probably would have put third due to an aging core, upset New York. And Seattle, who I probably would have had out of the playoffs, ended up winning the whole thing. All of that is to say: I have no idea what I’m doing here. But it’s fun to speculate anyway. Here’s my best guess for the EFL power rankings heading into the season, with a few holes and free agents left to be decided. 8. Los Angeles Reign: The rebuild is fully underway, and it’s working fairly well - particularly in the secondary. First round picks Stetson David and Blake Wilson will make for a strong defensive core of the future, and Rex Rider is a strong QB prospect. But with nobody for Rider to throw to, and very little in the linebacking corps, L.A. is still shooting for a number one pick. 7. Seattle Predators: Sigh. They’re really going to make me do this, huh? Look, the Predators overachieved relative to APE last season, and there’s always a chance that they’re going to do so again (particularly in a weaker West). But with no more Fourside, only four players above 350 APE (including zero in the secondary), and top players Marteau, Big and Norris being mostly MIA with respect to earning, I suppose I’m taking my chances putting them here. 6. Wisconsin Brigade: The good news: An aggressive FA market could net them players like linebacker Martillo Táctico and tight end Sphyrna Lewis. The bad news: If you have the $10M to win the bid on Táctico, it probably says something about your depth. The linebacking corps + Cutthroat’s playmaking will keep them in games, but Maple and the rookie Pikachu are still a bit too raw for me to consider them a real threat. 5. San Francisco Frenzy: They’ve made some trades over the offseason to stock up for the future. But the good news for San Francisco fans is, in a weaker West, they still have the pieces to contend. Algren may be really feeling his age, but Firpo has developed into a true #1 option. Moon is still around as the backbone of the secondary, with Makaratt looking solid as well. Ivanov and Backer are an above average LB duo. I don’t think they have the depth to be a title contender, but they’ll be in games. 4. Toronto Skyhawks: Luck of the draw doesn’t help them here - if the Skyhawks were in the West, I’d probably be calling them a playoff team. But regardless, I think this will be a much improved Skyhawks team from what we’ve seen in recent seasons. Grey, Kentucky and Taylor are a formidable backbone to a defense, Isaac’s looking like a future MVP candidate, and I really like the Dusty Wilson addition to the offense. I wouldn’t be shocked by a 8-10 win season. 3. Miami Neptune: By pure APE, the Skyhawks probably have the Neptune outpaced. But I know better than to count out Miami at this point. Carswell is a pretty washed up QB, but you don’t need much when you’re throwing to Colt and Kirkland. Snark has developed into an LBotY candidate, and Meatball’s gotten CBotY consideration. And what really sets them apart for me is depth: 12 players above 440 APE at current count. They’re always in contention, and I don’t see why that’d change now. 2. Minnesota Frontier: I’m very scared to jinx anything, especially after last season’s playoff collapse. But by pure talent, Minnesota has a contender. The secondary may be the best in the league with Mac Suibhne, Newsome and Dvorsky, re-signing Colt was clutch to shore up their front seven alongside Malinpa, and this could be the season Lunatia takes a leap to being a top-flight QB. Losing Empire hurts, but the rookie RB Bumper is a solid replacement. All the pieces are here - but can they put them all together for the first time? 1. New York Herd: The Herd probably think they should have had it last season. They very well could this year after a one season delay. Everett is probably the MVP favorite, given his bevy of weapons with Wilinsky, Kolisi and the still-dangerous veteran Olaf. The defense is aging, to be sure, but Snicket, Dillinger and Farmar can still get it done. Isaac in his second year really bolsters that secondary as well. The rest of the linebacking corps worries me a bit, but every team has holes - and the Herd have fewer to me than any other team in the league.
  4. Player Brand +3 Question of the Week +3
  5. The Final Four Wall Minneapolis -- For the third time in Minnesota cornerback Sherrick Newsome III's four seasons, the Frontier made the playoffs and the EFL's conference finals. And for the third time, the Frontier lost. This time was different from the previous times, to be fair - this time the Frontier may have been considered a favorite against Seattle, while they were underdogs the previous two appearances. But the same result is beginning to get old for Newsome. "The goal is to win it all. Point blank. And you can't win it all unless you get to the title game. That's the biggest hurdle we need to get over, and we can't quite do it." In this season's loss against Seattle, both the offense and defense let Minnesota down en route to a double-digit loss to the visiting Predators. The Predators would then go on to upset Miami in the final game to win an unexpected championship. For Newsome, the fact that the Predators eventually won it all was little consolation, as he felt that could have been Minnesota's title. It did, however, give him a bit more motivation for next season. "We're right there, we can feel it," Newsome explained. "Our team is still young; we've got the ability to run it back. If we're able to do so, I feel good about our chances."
  6. Snicket was going to be my easy answer, but he's been said a few times already. For an off the radar one: I'm curious to see what happens with Cillin Mac Suibhne over the next couple of seasons. Following early career Pro Bowls, then last season's league-leading 8 TDs, I think he's on a nice path. It'll probably require Minnesota to win a title, but they're at least set up to be contenders for a few seasons coming.
  7. http://www.cnscvb.com/jpgs/lores/NorthwesternFootball2006.JPG Arby Sutton High School Review In North Dakota, there is a lot of space to run. Over the rolling hills, through the fields of wheat that seem to last forever. Arby Sutton always seemed to like to run. As a kid, he’d go out in the morning and not return home until far after dark, always moving, always running. He never seemed to run out of energy. He had played football since he was young, a combination RB/DB, regularly the quickest guy on the field. But as Sutton transitioned to the North Dakota high school ranks, his coach at Bismarck’s largest public high school didn’t know how his skills would translate to the next level. As it turns out, though, an unstoppable motor can take you a long way. Sutton still loved to run. Even as a freshman, he ran all over opposing linebackers - over 1,000 yards in his first year. He ran towards the endzone, topping double-digit TDs. He ran up and down the sidelines, endearing himself to coaches and teammates as a cheerleader on the sidelines even when he wasn’t in the game. Sutton seemed unstoppable, both on and off the field. Time couldn’t slow Sutton down either. He put up similar stats his sophomore, then his junior seasons. He kept running, and his yardage totals kept creeping up - 1,250 yards, then 1,400 yards. His recruiting rankings kept running up the charts as well, as big-name programs that normally wouldn’t deign to travel to the windswept North Dakota plains wanted to see him play. And play he did, continuing to run over the competition. In his senior season, the narrative began to change. Of course they couldn’t stop him, the scouts said. North Dakota isn’t a good level of competition. Sutton’s going to run all over them. So when he topped 1,500 yards, leading his school to a state class championship in his senior season, the hype somehow seemed to wear off. His suitors, which had seemingly numbered every team in the NCAA and ECFA, started to dwindle. Some teams said he would have to sit on the bench for a season or two until he became accustomed to the new level of competition. They wouldn’t let him run. But Sutton hasn’t been stopped yet. In the winter following his senior season, Sutton officially committed to play in the ECFA with the Hades Creek Phalanx. The Hades Creek coaches, he said, will let him run. It remains to be seen whether he can keep up with these quicker front sevens, the future EFL talent that is spread throughout the league. But not many have been able to stop Arby Sutton from running quite yet.
  8. 1500+ words, for the weeks ending 9/17, 9/24 and 10/1 (a day later in VHL)
  9. My Long, Probably Wrong S37 EFL Mock Draft I’ll readily admit: I haven’t been keeping the closest tabs on the upcoming EFL Draft class. Part of that was a life schedule that has been particularly busy over the last month. The other part of that is a benefit of having only one player on a relatively good team. If there’s one person that probably shouldn’t be writing a mock draft, it’s me. Which, naturally: Here’s a mock draft. The above is a long-winded way of saying that you should take much of this seriously, particularly when it comes to interpersonal relationships and who wants to play for who. I’m also not too up on potential carryover TPE if it’s not already claimed. Instead, I’m primarily doing these rankings based on TPE and projected team needs, and if something is off there, my bad. Also, with so many GM picks, I’m expecting a lot of trades to happen in the first round. I’m not mocking them either - though I wouldn’t be surprised if Toronto and Wisconsin in particular pull the trigger to get GM players on their team in the late first in some fashion. Now with that said, let’s get to mocking! Here are full descriptions for the first round, with much shorter descriptions for the second round as the players are above 200 TPE. 1. Los Angeles Reign: FS Stetson David, @oilmandan, Athens Carnage The worst team in the EFL last season by four games, the Reign are in full rebuild mode and could use a bit of everything… possibly. There’s an argument to be made that the only place where they’re already doing halfway decently is the secondary, where cornerbacks Jason Grant and Thomas Thomas are still on contract for next season. I don’t buy it. Both of those players are already in regression and primed to be shipped off, and the Reign should be taking best player available regardless. One may question whether David is fully committed after his agency disconnected from the New York franchise, but a nearly 200 TPE lead among non-GM rookies as of this writing is hard to argue against. I think you take the talent and let the rest sort itself out. Plus, they have other firsts to take more risks later. 2. Wisconsin Brigade: RB Jean Luc Pikachu, @Cornholio, Savage City Wraiths A 5-9 season isn’t actually that bad for a team that’s still rebuilding from its Kelley heyday, but I’m sure they’ll not mind a second overall draft selection regardless. Pikachu is a one-cut RB who’s probably destined for a career at receiver, making him the natural number one receiver to the recently drafted Dogwood Maple for the long haul. As a GM player, Pikachu is going to end up in Wisconsin in some form no matter where it is in the first round, so don’t be shocked by a trade down. My guess is L.A. trading up to get the top two picks in the draft, possibly through the New York pick, or perhaps a Minnesota trading up for Bumper. But since I’m not mocking trades, it all comes out in the wash anyway. 3. Toronto Skyhawks: RB Dusty Wilson, @dustywilson22, Hades Creek Phalanx The Skyhawks are really a team in need of a major boost however they can get it. And let’s get the obvious out of the way: There’s a GM pick sitting right there with one-cut RB Landen Smith. But I think the Skyhawks need to take some big swings, which is why I’m not mocking him here. The defense is about there, especially if a newly-revived Bones Kentucky re-signs. On offense, last year’s first round pick Martin Isaac II is a great step, but if an eighth-year Curtis Taylor is his only real weapon on offense (if he’s even there assuming Smith is coming to the EFL), that’s a problem. Wilson is a natural fit in that regard, no matter whether you’re playing him as a workhorse back like he was in Hades Creek, or if he moves out wide to be Isaac’s main target for the future. Suddenly, the Toronto offense looks in a lot better shape than it might have even two seasons ago. And if Toronto’s able to trade back into the first to get both Wilson and Smith, even better. 4. Los Angeles Reign (from San Francisco): CB Blake Wilson, @dustywilson22, Hades Creek Phalanx When San Francisco traded this pick and its S38 first in order to get Harry Dillinger, I’m going to guess they didn’t think a 7-7 season and missing the playoffs was in the cards. But San Francisco’s loss is the Reign’s gain with the fourth pick in the draft. I have the other Wilson here, and there’s two keys to understanding this pick. The first is that the Reign have three firsts, and they’re locked to a wide receiver in Rex Ryder with the next selection. The second is what I talked about earlier - I’m not sold that Grant and Thomas are on the team long-term, so I’m not worried about grabbing two players in the secondary. It’s Wilson slightly over Lamar King here. 5. Minnesota Frontier: RB Billy Bumper, @MMFLEX, Manchester Lookout I mentioned earlier that the Frontier might want to trade up to grab the player who used to be their GM pick, and there’s a solid chance that he’s still taken earlier. But in this scenario, he falls to the Minnesota Frontier anyway. There are enough questions about whether he’ll be around for the long-term, particularly after stepping away from Minnesota, that I could see teams not wanting to take a chance when there’s a surer bet like Wilson sitting right there. But Bumper’s an extremely high-ceiling prospect, and I could see Minnesota taking the risk to replace the recently retired Eden Empire. 6. Los Angeles Reign (from New York): WR Rex Rider, @Adrest245, Trenton Generals With their third selection in the first round, the Reign finally take advantage of their GM pick with Rex Rider. Rider wouldn’t necessarily have a QB to throw to him quite yet, but I’m honestly not as worried about that - with the glut of QBs coming into the league last draft class, and some top prospects like Big Ben Burger and Venice Cruz waiting in the wings, the Reign are going to have their young QB of the future here soon enough. I mentioned earlier that the Reign might want to package this pick to move up, but I could also see the opposite here with the GM pick in tow. If, say, a Wilson falls and the winner of the EFL title game wants to ensure getting him, hopping up two picks is certainly in play. 7. Seattle Predators: FS Destinkee Willicams, @omgitshim, Biscayne Bay Pirates Of course, this could either be Seattle or Miami pending the result of the EFL Title Game. I’m betting on Seattle missing out, because betting against Miami is a fool’s errand. If that’s the case, though, Willicams is a solid consolation prize with the GM pick. The secondary was one of the weak spots for the Predators during the regular season, allowing the third-most passing yards in the entire league. And of course, their longtime secondary stalwart Renata Gonçalves is in his 13th season (if he doesn’t retire). Willicams would provide an instant and necessary youth boost. There’s an off-chance that they would pass on the GM pick and grab Lamar King here, but I don’t buy it right now. I also wouldn’t be shocked here if someone like Wisconsin or Toronto wants to trade back into the first round for a GM pick, allowing Seattle to take Willicams early in the second round. But as with anything, that’s a risk. 8. Miami Neptune: CB Lamar King, @Youngbuck, Athens Carnage With the final pick in the first round (though just the fifth pick not including GMs), the projected champs Neptune grab what could be a steal. King has as much TPE as players I’ve projected going much earlier, such as the Wilsons and Bumper, but falls here due to a combination of team needs and projected fits. I honestly don’t see a better landing spot for King than Miami though, where management will know how to best utilize his talents. Miami has a major hole at corner next to Brian Meatball as well and would sure welcome an influx of young talent to the position. Second Round 9. Los Angeles Reign: RB Mustang Rushmore, @Rockstar, Manchester Lookout Another offensive player (from a former L.A. GM no less) to go with two first round defensive players provides nice balance. 10. Wisconsin Brigade: CB Prince Saxton, @Rockstar, Manchester Lookout Boom’s retired, and Hoar’s stalled out. Saxton would be a starter here from day one. 11. Toronto Skyhawks: RB Landen Smith, @Lefty_S, Athens Carnage I don’t know if the other teams would actually be nice enough to let Lefty get his GM player anyway in this scenario, but I like when things work out clean. 12. Los Angeles Reign (from San Francisco): LB Taco Bell, @Alex_J32, Athens Carnage 13. Minnesota Frontier: LB Rinky Runkman, @ctots, Athens Carnage 14. New York Herd: LB B B, @Vkobe-v, Death Valley Rangers 15. Seattle Predators: LB Saif Hans II, @Bartimaeus, Death Valley Rangers 16. Miami Neptune: RB Jackson Robinson, @Bartimaeus, Death Valley Rangers
  10. Down with Seattle Minneapolis -- Tomorrow, the Minnesota Frontier will host the Seattle Predators in the Western Conference finals. To most, this is expected to be a slugfest: Seattle won the first game between the two in Minnesota in week one, but Minnesota struck back with a win in Seattle in Week 10. That means that anything could happen in this contest - a sentiment that Minnesota cornerback Sherrick Newsome III certainly agrees with. "These are two teams that I think have punched above their weight this season at times. And when you have that, chaos could certainly follow," Newsome said. "Could we see Marteau go off for the game of his life? Sure. But that's where I step in." Indeed, the Frontier come into this game on a major hot streak, having won their final six games entering the playoffs. The secondary has been a major part of that run, finishing first in the league in points allowed, yards allowed, and passing yards allowed. Cillan Mac Suibhne could very well be the Defensive Player of the Year, with his 8 INTs miles ahead of the competition. Newsome added that the Frontier allowed more than 20 points just once in the second half of the season. But of course, that once also happened to be against Seattle. "Fourside's still good, there's a reason they led the league in rushing. But I truly believe this one may come down to if we can stop Seattle's passing game," Newsome said. "Give our offense field position, and we can make magic happen. I feel good about getting it done."
  11. I'm curious whether a VHL-style series of fantasy drafts would work in the EFL. I figure that anything that gets people coming back to the boards often is a positive. But it'd take a decent amount of work to get that up and going, I'm not sure how much could be automated on the back end.
  12. Playoff-Bound Minneapolis -- Things looked touch and go for a minute for the Minnesota Frontier. A 3-5 start saw the team a game out of playoff position, and winning the conference seemed like a faraway proposition. However, a five-game winning streak can change fortunes very quickly. After the franchise's recent home win against the San Francisco Frenzy, the 8-5 Frontier have now clinched a playoff birth, by virtue of the 7-6 Frenzy and Predators playing each other in the final week of the season. A win against the 1-12 Reign would have them as the conference champs. For cornerback Sherrick Newsome III, the recent run is the team that he saw the Frontier being at the beginning of the season - plus a testament to his teammates' attitude. "A lot of people outside this locker room may have thought we were in trouble, but we knew we had the talent," Newsome said after the recent San Francisco win. "The early part of the season, a few bounces didn't go our way. Now, they are. And I think you're going to see our true talent shine through moving forward." As the Frontier don't yet know their Western Conference finals opponent, Newsome wouldn't look ahead into how to win in the playoffs. But it's worth noting that Minnesota swept the season series against San Francisco, and split against Seattle (with both teams' wins coming on the road). Newsome believes that Minnesota is a much different team than the one that lost to Seattle week one. "We've grown into ourselves and figured out our gameplan, particularly on offense," Newsome said. "We scored 44 against Seattle last time out. And if Lunatia, Gilbert and the crew play anything close to where they did last time, I'm confident we could pull out a win against anybody."
  13. My last two have been mashups of Northwestern football players, as an alum where that's my main football rooting interest these days. Cornerbacks Sherrick McManus + Greg Newsome II = Sherrick Newsome III. Then running backs Arby Fields + Tyrell Sutton = Arby Sutton.
  14. Why Arby Sutton Is Headed to Hades Creek When running back Arby Sutton declared for the ECFA, he did so with one main goal: to be a four year starter. There’s something intoxicating about being “the man” on campus, and while other players are preparing for an EFL career, Sutton is content making his name known on the ECFA level. With that said, his recruitment may turn out to be an even more important decision, finding a place that will be his home for not only the rest of this season, but for the next four seasons. Out of the league’s eight teams, four reached out his way over the past three days since he declared redshirt availability. In a sitdown with Rivals, here’s how Sutton ranked his choices and how he decided who he’s ultimately going with. 4. Roswell Encounter: The team with an undefeated record, in last? For Sutton, though, the team’s success may be more of an issue than a boon. He’s looking to come in and make an impact right away, and the Encounter already feature a host of talented freshman backs like Arthur Poe, Maurice Hartless and Hiroshi Uchiyamada. Although Sutton would presumably slot into the spot currently occupied by Brian Doberman, who is no longer showing up to practice, in the run-heavy attack, he ultimately felt like he could make more of an impact elsewhere. 3. Savage City Wraiths: Although the Wraiths don’t have as many RBs as Roswell, Sutton would still run into a similar issue here: splitting carries. Freshman Anthony DeMelton is entrenched as the team’s lead back, with Colin Casper receiving some carries too. Even if Casper moves to WR next season with Pikachu graduating, both he and Sir Lancelot will need touches as well, and it may be tough for Sutton as a backup to really make an impact in a balanced system. 2. Athens Carnage: This left two teams on Sutton’s list - and as luck would have it, they’re the two teams that Sutton’s agency had formerly placed players. Athens was the agency’s most recent team with Sherrick Newsome III, and they presented an intriguing case: an offense loaded with future talent, a graduating RB in Jimmy Emoji whose departure would open up carries, and a very dedicated AD (who admittedly was the first to contact Sutton about his plans). Sutton would have been happy here, he knows, but there was another team with a similar profile… 1. Hades Creek Phalanx: Similar to Athens, Hades Creek will provide Sutton the chance to make an impact right away: Dusty Wilson will be moving to the EFL at the end of the season, and with Anthonis Pratt seemingly entrenched at WR as another option for QB Big Ben Burger, Sutton will look to slot in as a freshman as the starting back. The tiebreaker between Athens and HCP, though, was one of history. Newsome won in his final season, which Sutton feels put a nice cap on the agency’s Athens history. HCP, meanwhile, never won in the agency’s seven seasons with the program. Sutton feels like there is some unfinished business there, and he hopes he’s the win to help bring a title home to the Pacific Northwest.
  15. Minnesota steals their own on the road right back from Seattle, and now we've got a battle!
  16. SBA Quotes and VHL.com articles/graphics/podcasts for 1 TPE each. Max of 2 uncapped TPE.
  17. 2 picks? Against Miami?!? I think I've officially given up trying to understand this Minnesota team.
  18. I don't think so, just because there's so much chaos that can happen in a one game playoff. In particular, I think Miami has entered the Brady Zone where even if they're not the favorite on paper, you're betting against them at your own peril.
  19. Jesus. We need to figure out the offense, fast.
  20. Struggles Minneapolis -- Going into the season, the Minnesota Frontier were expected to take a leap. After a playoff appearance last season, the team looked poised to jump to the top of the Western Conference this season, and potentially contend for a title with the likes of Miami and New York. Halfway through the season, however, that hasn't yet happened. The Frontier currently sit with a 3-4 record, which puts them out of playoff position in third in the West. That includes a Week 1 loss to Seattle, the team they may end up competing with for a playoff position, as well as to a Wisconsin team that has only one other win so far this season. For cornerback Sherrick Newsome III, it has been a bit of a letdown over the high expectations that the team had entering the regular season. However, he was quick to remind the press that all is not lost. "Look, of course I wanted to win a few of these games that we've lost. But I also think we have time to steal a few too," Newsome said. "We're just a game behind Seattle, just two behind San Francisco. And with half the season to go, anything is possible." The pass defense has been part of the issue - the rush defense has the least yards allowed in the league, but the pass defense sits a middling fourth. Still, Newsome is confident that they'll have time to turn the ship around. "We've had a couple bad games, like last week [against New York]," he added. "But we've had some good games in there too, like the L.A. shutout. In the end, we just need consistency, and I think everything else will come together after that."
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