Season 20 Playbook Draft Recap

Ryan Moreland · May 3, 2024


By: Ryan Moreland (@ryanmoreland)

Season 20 is a weekend away from kicking off and the excitement level is rising. Teams are gearing up for their Week One opponents, ready to start the season off right. However, before getting to that, we need to rehash what went down in the playbook draft.

For anyone new to the league, the playbook draft happens every season and each team gets to choose which offense and defensive book they are going to play with. The draft order is decided by the reverse order of last season’s standings.

This season there was also a change to the way playbook selection is done. In the past, each team had to have their own offensive playbook. Starting this season there may be two instances of the same book. However, the second team to claim a book cannot switch out of that book for the entire season. Defensive books are still open to everyone without limitations.

Now, let’s get into the action!

1st Pick – Tennessee – Old Dominion (Air Raid) – 4-2-5

Tennessee shocked many when they selected Old Dominion with the first overall pick. This is just the second time this playbook has been drafted after LSU picked it last season. That doesn’t mean it is not a great book (LSU did well last season), but it is not one that you tend to think of as an early pick. That being said, the Volunteers are going to rely on the arm of Freshman QB Sterling Verdugo to help them end the losing streak and start building a winning streak.

2nd Pick – Colorado – USC (Pro Style) – 4-2-5

Colorado went with a book they are very familiar with. Colorado took the USC book last season as well. Now the much-improved Buffs are ready to make some noise in the CFSL with a balanced approach. USC had been one of (if not the) most popular Pro Style books in the league. It has been drafted in six of the last seven playbook drafts. This is tied for the highest it has ever been drafted. Iowa took USC with the second pick in Season 15.

3rd Pick – Ohio State – Hawaii (Pro Style) – 3-4

The pro-style book was not nearly as common in the Steroid Era, but they have increased in popularity every season recently. However, we haven’t seen much of the Hawaii book in the draft. This is only the second time this book has been drafted. However, it has been switched to several times. Most recently Washington moved to the Hawaii book last season. The Buckeyes have seen something they like in the book and perhaps they can succeed this season and make this book more popular.

4th Pick – West Virginia – Nebraska (Multiple) – 4-2-5

West Virginia continues the string of lesser-known books being taken. Nebraska is a book that hasn’t been used at all since being drafted by Nebraska in Season 11. This will be the fourth time the book has been drafted, but as you can see it has been a long time. It won’t be the first time that WVU AD Nate Murphy has bucked traditional thinking. We will see how it works out for the Mountaineers, who had a great Season 18 before a disappointing Season 19.

5th Pick – North Carolina – Missouri (Spread) – 3-3-5

North Carolina went through a bit of a transition last season, but they looked poised to be ready to get back to their winning ways. With that in mind, AD Daniel Gunn took a book with many wins in its history. Oklahoma State and Kentucky won National Championships in back-to-back seasons in this book in Season 15 and 16. This extremely popular book has been selected in each of the last 12 playbook drafts. This will break the cycle of shocking picks and start a trend of popular early picks.

6th Pick – Clemson – Virginia Tech (Multiple) – 4-2-5

Speaking of popular picks, Clemson takes one of the most popular Multiple books. V Tech has been taken in each of the last five drafts. However, this is the highest this book has ever been drafted, but not by much. Cincinnati took this book with the seventh pick last season. This book has continued to grow in popularity thanks to the success teams have found in it. Clemson has a history on par with any team in the CFSL, but it has been a while since the Tigers have had a contender. Could this be the year Clemson gets back into the playoffs?

7th Pick – Syracuse – Nevada (Pistol) – 4-3

This is the fifth time that Nevada has been taken. Interestingly enough it has always been selected early in the draft. In fact, this is the lowest it has ever been drafted. This book was taken last season by Baylor, who eventually switched out of it. We will see if Syracuse can find the magic settings to get this book humming.

8th Pick – Baylor – Colorado (Multiple)- 4-3

Colorado is one of the most popular books in the CFSL. The last time this book wasn’t selected was in Season 11 and this will be the fourth straight season that it has been a top-ten selection. Baylor had a decent first season and this book could help the momentum going forward.

9th Pick – Auburn – BYU (Air Raid) – 4-2-5

An air raid book was the first off the board, but then it took eight selections for another to be taken. The new look Auburn has no shortage of wide receiver talent, so an air raid book makes perfect sense for them. This will be the sixth time BYU has been selected since Season 5 and the first time it was taken since Season 17. There have been big numbers put up in the BYU book, but we haven’t seen top-end success in this book yet. Perhaps this stacked Auburn roster can change that.

10th Pick – Texas A&M – Iowa State (Spread) – 4-3

Texas A&M is back in the league after being gone for four seasons and they selected a book that was popular when they were last in the league but has dipped in popularity as of late. This book was used in some form or another in Seasons 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 17, but hasn’t been used since. New AD Kade Padgett hasn’t seen something he likes in the playbook to bring it back.

11th Pick – Michigan State – Northern Illinois (Spread) – 4-3

This was one of the more interesting picks in the draft. This marks the second time in league history that Northern Illinois has been drafted (Clemson, Season 14). However, it has been used twice before. Bowling Green switched to it in Season 12 and Clemson did the same the following season. Those are the only two times the CFSL has seen this book. This gives Michigan State an advantage because most coaches have never game-planned against this book. However, the big question is has it been overlooked or has it not been selected for a reason? We shall find out.

12th Pick – Georgia – Fresno State (Spread) – 4-3

The Bulldogs take a popular spread book with the 12th pick. Fresno State was drafted for the first time in Season 14 by Washington and now it has been taken in four straight drafts. The increasing popularity of this book continues thanks to the success teams have had with it. Georgia hopes that success continues for the Bulldogs this season, who was the last team to make the playoffs last season. They have their sights set much higher than barely getting in and this book could help them get there.

13th Pick – Cincinnati – Boston College (Multiple) – 4-2-5

Much like Michigan State, Cincinnati went with a book that had never been drafted before in the CFSL. This book has only been used once ever and that was in Season 8 by Oregon. Last season Cincinnati went with the very popular Virginia Tech book (also a Multiple book), but they bucked the conventional thinking with this pick. It will be interesting to see if the Bearcats have found a diamond in the rough.

14th Pick – Oregon – UCLA (Spread) – 3-3-5

Cincinnati and Michigan State weren’t the only teams to draft a book that had never been picked before. Oregon followed suit by nabbing UCLA with the 14th pick. This book has been used a few times before, most recently by Miami in Season 14. Oregon caught plenty of folks off guard last season with their stellar play. Perhaps they can do the same this season with this surprise pick.

15th Pick – Alabama – Alabama (One-Back) – 4-2-5

While the Alabama book isn’t the most popular (like most One-Back books), it has been taken in the draft a few times. Most recently it was selected by Oklahoma in Season 17. What is most interesting though isn’t the last time it was taken, but the first. In his first season as an AD, David Ware picked the Alabama book in Season 9. Now he is back as the head man of Alabama and he is back in the Alabama book. He went 5-4 with this book last time as a playoff team. We will see if he can take this book back to the playoffs.

16th Pick – LSU – Boise State (Multiple) – 4-2-5

The Boise State playbook was taken for the first time last season by Florida, who took the book to the championship game. That kind of success is sure to be replicated and it has with LSU taking the book with the 16th pick. This book was never used at all before last season, so it is still new to the league as a whole. It will be interesting to see if LSU can have that kind of success with the book this season.

17th Pick – Florida State – USC (Pro-Style) – 4-3

As I said at the beginning of the article, this season teams are allowed to take a book a second time, but they are stuck in that book if they are the second team that takes it. Florida State was the first team to take that risk. The USC book was originally selected second overall by Colorado. While this is a risk taken by AD Tom Pence, this is a book he knows well. FSU selected the book in Season 14 and won a National Championship with it. The Seminoles also switched to the book in Season 16. Can Grin and company turn this book into a Championship once again?

18th Pick – Illinois – Clemson (Pistol) – 4-3

This might be the steal of the draft. The Clemson book has been a high selection more often than not in recent seasons. It is one of only books in CFSL history to be taken first overall twice. The book has been taken every season going back to Season 12. This is the latest it has been taken in that time. This will also be the second time that Illinois has run the book. They selected the book with the 7th pick in Season 18.

19th Pick – Penn State – Texas State (Pistol) – 4-2-5

Texas State is an interesting book. This is only the third time it has been taken. What makes that interesting is how successful the book was the last time it was taken. Wisconsin took the Texas State book in Season 14 and ended up in the National Championship (which they ultimately lost to Florida State). The book has not been drafted since and was only used once. Time will tell if Penn State can have Wisconsin’s luck in this book this season.

20th Pick – Notre Dame – Colorado (Multiple) – 3-3-5

Notre Dame became the second team in the draft to take a book that was already selected. Colorado was drafted first by Baylor with the 8th pick. That means the Irish are locked into this book for the remainder of Season 20. However, like I said before this has been an incredibly popular book with many successful teams behind it.

21st pick – Michigan – Cal (Air Raid) – 4-3

AD Aaron Ike started his career with Michigan as a loyal fan of the Multiple scheme. However, last season he chose a spread book for the first time. Now Ike is headed to the Air Raid family for the first time and he got a steal in Cal. Cal has been taken every season since Season 12. It also has been a top-seven pick each of the last five seasons. Ike had to be surprised to see it available at pick 21.

22nd Pick – Texas – Texas A&M (Air Raid) – 4-2-5

This is the ninth time in the last 16 seasons that the Texas A&M book was drafted. This is the third time that it was selected by Texas. That includes Season 5, which resulted in the Longhorns’ lone National Championship. Time will tell if this new Texas team can have that level of success in this book.

23rd Pick – USC – ECU (Air Raid) – 4-2-5

The Trojans are entering their second season back in the CFSL and this time they are headed to an Air Raid book, which marks the second time in school history that they have done so. And they choose an Air Raid book that hasn’t been taken much. This is just the third time ECU has been drafted. West Virginia picked the book last season and Oklahoma State selected it in Season 9. Oklahoma State won their conference with the book. Can USC do the same?

24th Pick – Miami – Cal (Air Raid) – 4-3

Miami is the third (and final) team to select a book that has already been taken. Cal almost dropped to them. It was first selected by Michigan with the 21st pick. As earlier stated, this is a popular book that hasn’t been selected this low in a long time. Miami got themselves a great book, but it comes with the risk of not being able to change books.

25th Pick – Florida – Kansas State (Multiple) – 4-2-5

This book was first selected by Clemson in Season 10 and wasn’t selected again until last season. Oklahoma State ran this book last season and despite a bad start, were able to make the playoffs. AD Adam Smith made that selection last season and now he did the same at his new home in Florida. The Gators had a big season last year, making the National Championship for the first time. Can they get back this season?

26th Pick – Kentucky – Tennessee (Spread) – 4-2-5

After winning the Season 19 Championship, Kentucky earned the final pick in the Season 20 Playbook Draft. The Tennessee book was once popular in the league (taken in three straight seasons between Seasons 10-12), but hasn’t been selected in the last seven seasons. AD Devan Davis has had no shortage of success in the CFSL, so it is hard to imagine this book not working out. Maybe he saw something the rest of us had forgotten.

Playbooks Still Remaining

23 of the 26 teams in the league will have the opportunity to switch books if they so desire and there are still many good books available for them to change into. Popular books, such as Arizona, Oklahoma, Toledo, Utah, and Notre Dame (just to name a few) are all available.


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