2024 Way Too Early Season Predictions

by Jeff Gunn

2024 Pre-Season Predictions: Last years Pre-Season predicted rankings - 100% Accurate:

1. Black Tide (9-1) 

Last year I predicted that BT would drop a game. And they probably should have after a 3OT thriller with the Tecs. But they were too resilient, refusing to lose any game. Really, they had no business repeating having only completed an avg. of 5 passes per game. This year though, it’s probably the best thing that could happen to them. Bring the arrogance back down to Earth just a little. Repeating is difficult. 3Peating is way harder. But the Tridents are built for it.

Vote of Confidence: The Defense that gave up an Avg.4 points a game last year will be even more dominant this year. The DL added Cannons. The DB’s should be much improved. And the League’s best OL, on the League’s #1 scoring offense, somehow got even better. They are easily the deepest team in the 7 Seas. BT’s 3rd wave would still swallow opponents and make the ICFL playoffs. Football is rough, and nobody can play the “Next Man Up” game better than the Pirates.

Cause for Concern: Again… QB. But they overcame it last year, and this years situation looks to be more promising. We scored 3 straight passing TD’s… in practice…. against air. Which as crazy as it sounds is an improvement. Lost 12 players, including many starters, from last years Championship Crew. Confidence turned cockiness creates letdowns. How much desire do these guys have left, with nothing to left to prove?

Top 10 Players: 6 Top 50 Players:20 Top 100 Players:31

Best Returning: Returns 11 1st team All-Stars from last year, including the League MVP Marco Garcia with an even bigger role. DMVP Ryan Carlen is back, and looks better than he ever has thus far. OL of the Year Cody Huss is back. (Peterson, Swain, Eissa, Proffit, Santos, Buls, etc etc. Should I keep going?)

Best Additions: 1. Daniel Winter (T) 2. Nick Dottellis (LB/TE) 3. Matt Fisher (CB) 4. Jamie Smith (CB) 5. Dustin Hurst (DT/G)6. Mike Boyd (C) 7. Jace Brinkman (G) 8. Quincy Smith (RB) 9. Skyler Tipple (CB) 10. Seth Cross (QB)

Worst Losses: 1. Daniel Osmer (RB/WR) 2. Sam Favela (G) 3. Mitch Gammon (DL) 4. Cam Compton (CB/QB) 5. Tom Graff (LB) 6. Caleb Show (QB) 7. Bennie Miller (TE) 8. Alberto Flores (G)

Intangibles that matter: Experience. Nobody has been to 6 straight Ships. BT is more storm tested than any team. Overtime games, playoff games, whatever. These guys have the Grit and the Ice in their Veins in clutch situations. An early bye, and back loaded schedule headed into playoffs can take its toll on weekly body recovery.

2. Matadors (8-2)  

Team “Greener Pastures” proclaims a safe haven for disgruntled players to come dethrone Poseidon. For some players, the proof is in the pudding. That 4-some of Guardians last year undoubtedly had better seasons, and proved they could hang with the big boys. However, there was a trident of BT’s that also walked the plank to get out of the shadows of the deep and become “The Main Bull” and most actually saw both their playing time and production decrease. The grass grows where ya water it, but so do the weeds. The Dors now have 8 mutineer BT crewmen that traded Ships for Row Boats. Which will help create winning culture, and imitation is the greatest form of flattery. It’ll lead to another battle in the final game of the season.

Vote of Confidence: The number 1 scoring defense, which was already stacked, got bigger at all 3 levels. It’s obvious that trenches win games in this league, and they will not be pushed around. Justin Garcia is a 1 man wrecking crew, and talking the Sower/Nicholson combo out of retirement at the 11th hour is huge. Adding 1st Team All-Star Sam Favela from BT on the other side will help as well, despite the hefty price tag. Former BT Daniel Osmer is the most elusive athlete the Dors have ever had. Though I don’t agree, the argument could be made that these guys have the most talented starting 22 in the league.

Cause for Concern: Last year the Dors had too many WR’s and RB’s to feed any 1 a healthy meal. This year they combatted that by adding 4 more RB/WR’s. There’s weapons aplenty for lead Bull Fighter Jared Smith, and they’ll all play nice as long as things are going according to plan. Jared gets the horns and is the most sacked QB in the Top 5 teams. Health is a concern, and they lost their best OL. They also lost Jared’s back up. Which they replaced with a new muleta, yet again, another former BT backup QB. Depth could be an issue. Great first 22. But how good is 23-40?

Top 10 Players:1 Top 50 Players:15 Top 100 Players:25

Best Returning: 1. Sasa Pualau (DT) 2. Jarod Sower (LB) 3. Cole Nicholson (DL) 4. Zack LaBarbera (FS) 5. Blaze Tokioka (RB) 6. Pat Hamilton (LB) 7. Vance Griffin (T) 8. Griffin Stiegelmeier (T) 9. Grant Roberts (WR) 10. Jared Smith (QB)

Best Additions: 1. Justin Garcia (G/DL) 2. Daniel Osmer (RB/WR) 3. Emilio Winn (WR/DB) 4. Sam Favela (G) 5. Marquez Cummings (CB) 6. Angelo Zavala (WR)

Worst Losses: 1. Daniel Winter (T) 2. Nick Dottellis (LB/TE) 3. Casey Brown (LB) 4. Skyler Tipple (CB) 5. James Williams (OL) 6. Brandon Davey (DL) 7. Austin Volking (OL/DL) 8. Seth Cross (QB)

Intangibles that matter: They have been so close, so many times. Hungry, and they want it more than maybe ever. But I can tell you first hand how difficult it is to assemble an Avengers do or die squad, with only 1 goal, and come up short blowing smoke out your nostrils. It can eat away at you, year after year. Like flies circling Cow Shit. Dors new faces will be tested early right out the gate, and then get a full month of fine tuning to end the regular season, including their second travel game of the season.

3. Aztecs (6-3)

What is going on with the Aztecs? Why did base of the pyramid, Alex Wilson flee part way through pre-season? “Differences in future trajectory of the program.” I’m guessing a debate at QB led to self sacrifice. I know a good amount of key guys were shopping this offseason. Why did Conlon stop? And why hasn’t Frank Pinkney signed yet? We’re a week out my guy, figure it out.

Vote of Confidence: The only other team with a positive +/- last year. Despite the shopping, they retained pretty much everyone. And they replaced everything they lost this offseason. They are Seasoned, Smart Veteran Players. They are physical as hell. And Vin Diesel would be proud because of the Top 3 teams, they act the most like a “Family.”

Cause for Concern: #3 team made no real splash additions. And their stars are aging. This might be their last window of opportunity. Who took over as coach when CotYAlex Wilson departed? Are the inmates running amok? Losing a leader can create a whirlwind of self proclaimed chiefs and not enough tribesmen. All of that can spell Dia De Los Muertos.

Top 10 Players:1 Top 50 Players:6 Top 100 Players:15

Best Returning: 1. James Hull (WR/QB/K/P) 2. Tyson Hoffman (LB) 3. Willie Garcia (FS) 4. Colt Knigge (QB) 5. Austin Barber (RB) 6. Jesse Gilbreath (LB) 7. Jordan Straughter (T) 8. Joey Driscoll (CB) 9. Eli Boone (G) 10. Kenny Drennon (WR)

Best Additions: 1. Donald White (DB/RB) 2. Marc Anthony Colon (WR) 3. Jacob Adams (DL/OL)

Worst Losses: 1. Dominic Conlon (T) 2. Tony Jacobsen (RB) 3. Porter Grow (WR) 4. TJ Cothran (CB) 5. Frank Pinkney (DE)?

Intangibles that matter: Excellent leadership between Joe Arredondo and Colt Knigge. Their team chemistry is top tier. They have 1 of the more balanced schedules with separation of power teams, and they don’t travel at all.

4. Sabers (6-3)

New team with no lack of confidence. They’ve come in like a wrecking ball showing their big teeth, claiming a Championship appearance, several league awards/all-stars, and even a coach of the year despite 0 games under their belt. They are definitely the most accomplished 0-0 team in history.

Vote of Confidence: They do have good leadership. 2 solid coaches and the league’s GOAT QB under Center. Hayden could take the Guardians to the playoffs. A plethora of other great athletes all over the field will give him plenty of weapons to deal. They market their brand well, they provide an organized and well run experience, and they are full of promise, as long as everything goes according to plan.

Cause for Concern: What happens if promises go undelivered? What happens if they lose a game? How about 2? What if Hayden gets a pro offer, or decides his knee isn’t ready? Cockiness can be a good thing, but arrogance can be cancerous. They haven’t lost a game yet, so there’s no way to know how they’ll react. But you better create a back up plan Tiger, or you’ll be just another animal in the Zoo. Athletes all over the field, but a very youthful OL and just lost their best DL to a pro contract. Games in this league are won on the lines.

Top 10 Players:1 Top 50 Players:5 Top 100 Players:12

Best Returning to ICFL: 1. Hayden Wright (QB) 2. Morris Bunn (DB/RB) 3. Brig Johnson (WR) 4. Kishan Joiner (RB/DB) 5. Logan Sicilia (LB) 6. Milo Betty (WR) 7. Cody Cottingham (LB) 8. Norberto Landeros (WR/DB)

Best Additions to ICFL: 1. Chase Norton (DB/WR)2. Chance Hudson (FS/WR)3. Brandon Locke (T)4. Hunter Stephenson (LB) 5. Jose Martinez (G)

Intangibles that matter: Young and Inexperienced cubs. Big name individuals with 0 chemistry together. You can only get so much in practice. And they start with a gauntlet. A game in Twin, followed by Dors, then Tecs right out the game. I don’t see them coming out of that unscathed. And god forbid they are scrapped more than once in the first 3. They are another team that volunteered to travel twice. They end the year easy, but how many will still be around licking their wounds at that point?

5. Alphas (4-4)

A new team to tackle that has played a lot of flag together. This is a different animal, but they were able to lure the areas biggest prize Alpha Wolf, Logan Bowers away from their geographical rival marking their territory.

Vote of Confidence: They seem to have good leadership in former Digger Said Carranza.I think they’re kind of a Dark Horse until after week one.The roster looks stout, but we will see if they can stay within sight of a high octane Saber offense in Week 1. Their success will depend heavily on QB Brodi Standley, and there’s definitely All-Star potential there. Though, wearing pads and getting shellacked is different than flag.

Cause for Concern: They are also a new team, with 0 chemistry, though much more humble. They do far less howling, but if they get clawed in the mouth will they fall apart? I think they’re less likely to because of less pressure, due to under promising. The pack sticks together. If they struggle, travelling every other week will seem a lot less fun, and it’ll be open season on the wolves.

Top 10 Players: 1 Top 50 Players:2 Top 100 Players:7

Best Returning to ICFL: 1. Logan Bowers (RB/LB) 2. Kain Sauer (WR/DB) 3. Adrian Espinosa (WR/DB)

Best Additions to ICFL: 1. Min-Ho Park (DE/RB) 2. Andrew Woolsey (RB) 3. Dason Pizano (OL/DL) 4. Wyatt Anderson (LB) 5. Brodi Standley (QB) 6. Tanner Eldredge (WR) 7. Juan Blancas (CB)

Intangibles that matter: Travel is just tough in leagues like this. They won’t have everyone available every week. Fortunately, one of their travel games is at the DBax, so they really only come to Boise thrice. They draw BT and the Tecs away before ending with the Dors at home. Winning 1-2 of those will snowball confidence into playoffs, but more likely they drop 2-3 of them and are fighting for their playoff lives during their toughest gauntlet.

6. Diamondbacks (2-6)

The DBax just had an exciting, over performing year, making the playoffs in their inaugural season. It was in large part to Logan Bowers, and he’s not coming back to the Snake Pit. At least not till Week 3… in another color after shedding his scales. They didn’t add a ton. Jose Cintora was good in his Digger Days, but he’s no LogBow.

Vote of Confidence: Getting rid of Bscary was one giant leap for snake-kind. Getting your QB and best 2 pass catchers back keeps you in the hunt. They have enough athletes to sink their teeth into the bottom dwellers, but just not enough power to climb into the playoffs again.

Cause for Concern: (RETRACTED DUE TO COMPLAINTS). Losing Kaeden Anderson, Daniel Rangel, and Michael Gulden is back breaking. They lack the physical prowess they had last year.

Top 10 Players:0 Top 50 Players:1 Top 100 Players:5

Best Returning: 1. Jerico Lewis (WR/DB) 2. Alan Castorena (G) 3. Elyjia Johnson (DL/OL) 4. Robert Bonds (WR) 5. Gaige Sheen (TE/P) 6. Austin Clark (QB)

Best Additions: 1. Jose Cintora (RB/LB) 2. Tim Engman (CB) 3. Adam Rosales (OL/DL) 4. Andrew Sutton?

Worst Losses: 1. Logan Bowers (RB/LB) 2. Kaedan Anderson (LB) 3. Daniel Rangel (T) 4. Michael Gulden (DE) 5. DJ Bergen (DB/WR) 6. Adrian Espinosa (WR/DB)

Intangibles that matter: Week 1 Bye… again. Gives ya an extra week of prep, but no weeks for recovery. However, only travelling 3 times will help a ton. Your first game with the Hawks will have more implications than you’d like it to.

7. Warhawks (2-6)

New leadership shows flashes of the most improved unit in the league. Offense lead by Alex Wilson is a huge upgrade. Defense led by Rob Castleman, another huge upgrade. They have easily the most drastic roster turnover of any returning team. 2 wins would be a success story.

Vote of Confidence: Not only did they add football IQ an Athleticism, they added Swagger. Roach, Stahl, Stewart, Clausen, and Tubbs all added to the defense just smells antagonistic. That’s a Suicide Squad of misfits that’ll bombard opposing squads. And draw plenty of yellow flags. I think Josh Lopez will have a breakout season piloting the squadron, if the wingmen can protect him. Parham is a stud bell cow, just not very elusive.

Cause for Concern: They lost anyone who was anyone last year. Who’s the captain here? They lost all their generals, and the additions don’t scream leadership to me. With Sigi calling it a day and crashing, who does Lopez bomb it to? I guess he just runs around like Kyler Murray. But their OL isn’t built for that. They added 2 OL from the laziest OL in league history.

Top 10 Players:0 Top 50 Players:1 Top 100 Players:3

Best Returning: 1. Jordan Parham (RB) 2. Austin Baird (LB) 3. Brandon Upchurch (OL) 4. Rico Burton (DL/DB) 5. Brandon Wong (DL/LB)

Best Additions:1. Garrison Roach (LB) 2. Josh Lopez (QB/WR) 3. Seth Stahl (DB) 4. Ty Scholte (T) 5. Josh Stewart (LB) 6. Trevor Clausen (DE/TE) 7. Cody Tubbs (LB) 8. Austin Flores (OL) 9. Antonio Osos (OL/DL) 10. Preston Call (OL) 11. Rob Castleman (LB)

Worst Losses: 1. Dustin Hurst (DL/OL)2. Logan Sicilia (LB) 3. Sigi Rodriguez (WR/DB) 4. Quincy Smith (RB) 5. Tim Engman (CB) 6. Ben Stearns (WR/DB) 7. Keegan Spengler (LB/RB) 8. Rami Mendez (OL) 9. Cesar Guardiola (OL/DL) 10. Caleb Brown (WR/TE) 11. Zachary Dolenar (OL)

Intangibles that matter: 20-30 years experience coaching amongst the staff combined. And they’ve both led bad teams before. So they’ll know how to get by with what they’ve got. The re-uniting with BT and Aztecs in weeks 3 & 6 will be entertaining, but I expect both to go a lot like Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You can chisel in stone all 4 games in the back half as losses. 3 of their 4 early games are winnable though. But their playoff hopes will be sunk by week 5.

8. Savage (1-7)

This team will drop more than any other. They lost Hicks, which is a blessing/problem sandwich. But everyone on their roster is listed as a QB. So who is the king of this jungle? I believe Koby is injured the first half, and Gallegos just joined the pride. So probably Taco. Cuz if it’s RJ there’s nobody to throw to.

Vote of Confidence: Paul more typically brings a gritty presence with his team. The score isn’t always close, but they are scrappy and typically not afraid the first time they play you. Usually the Savage have athleticism, at least the first time you play them. They aren’t afraid to hunt and attack…the first time they play you. They always take advantage and feast on weaker prey, and could easily hit their ceiling of 3 wins.

Cause for Concern: They have been running physical full contact practices since August of last year. They took some time off but have probably been back at it since the new year. Their manes already have 100,000 miles on their brand new 2024 season. Their check engine light is already on. Once Paul blows a cylinder, the rest will follow suit and implode. This leads to, the second time they play you. Team Savage is renowned for having 15 players in week 7, and 10 by week 8. Fortunately, with playoffs out of the question, they won’t be playing anyone twice this year, and don’t have a game in week 8.

Top 10 Players:0 Top 50 Players:0 Top 100 Players:1

Best Returning: 1. RJ Williams (WR/QB) 2. Damian Reynolds (RB) 3. Jordan Else (DB/QB) 4. Kevin Tuavao (OL/DL) 5. Jason Cardinalli (WR)

Best Additions:1. Koby Spencer (QB) 2. Cody Ullrich (LB/DB) 3. Joseph Griffith (WR/QB) 4. Dayne Byrnes (WR) 5. Andrew Rivas (DB) 6. Allen Gallegos (QB)

Worst Losses:1. Brig Johnson (WR) 2. Tony Parsons (LB) 3. Blake Wingert (WR) 4. Jared Hicks (QB) 5. Mason Wells (RB) 6. Seth Stahl (DB) 7. Tim Brayton (DB/P) 8. Kevin Archangel (OL) 9. Tony Dionne (OL)

Intangibles that matter: Long tenure and plenty of experience. Paul knows what he's doing, but history of abrasiveness turns some lions away. They get the Guardians in week 7 before calling it early with a Week 8 bye. So hopefully they’ll actually show up for week 6 before their impending Toilet Bowl Matchup.

9: Guardians (0-8)

“Last years promise turns to this years let down. Continual inability to retain talent leads to a familiar ranking for the G-Men.” A familiar headline that can be copy and pasted every year. There are 11 Goon Squad players from 2023 on different rosters this season. Only 1 area team has 0 Guardian transfers. The same team that is responsible for the only transfer to the Guardians. Some teams claim to want league parity, only 1 acts on it. Maybe Severus Snape ain’t so bad after all. Maybe he ain’t Big Bad Wolf. Maybe the actual wolves are wearing sheeps clothing.

Vote of Confidence: Always have plenty of size, in both body and in heart. They have guys who love football and each other, will give it everything they got.They get the Savage and DBax in weeks 7 & 8. So maybe they can pull 1 out against reeling teams on the run. They still have the size to overpower both of them.

Cause for Concern: All of last years offensive production is gone. Last years Defensive production, flew away. Need to figure out why talent doesn't stay in the Galaxy.Again, they got gutted. The habitual build up and downfall of the Goons, season after season, can only be talked about so much before it becomes redundant. In the past, they have been able to maintain a loyal group of soldiers, but now even the core has been ripped in half. Even Mr. Guardian himself didn’t stay loyal and stepped out on them. They have no identity.

Top 10 Players:0 Top 50 Players:0 Top 100 Players:1

Best Returning: 1. Jake Tolman (WR/LB)2. Quinn Brennick (DB) 3. Reggie Jones (OL) 4. Justen Sandoval (DB) 5. Kolby Rhodes (DB) 6. James Eyre

Best Additions: 1. Alberto Flores (OL) 2. Trevor Kaler (OL)

Worst Losses:1. Kishan Joiner (DB/WR) 2. Marquez Cummings (CB) 3. Deveon Reynolds (WR/DB) 4. Marc Anthony Colon (WR) 5. Cody Ullrich (LB) 6. Josh Stewart (LB) 7. Ty Schlote (OL) 8. Austin Flores (OL) 9. Gavin Breen (QB/TE) 10. Treven Ullrich (DL)

Intangibles that matter: They honestly don’t care if they win or lose. “It’s just an opportunity to get away from the wives.” Literal quote year after year. They don’t travel at all though. So you’re stuck with the ole’ ball n’ chains… pulling you down to the depths of t