It’s been 18 years since we last saw the XFL, and this time, they might just stick around. Once again led by WWE CEO Vince McMahon, the XFL will serve as an unofficial minor league to the NFL with a shortened season aligning with the NFL’s offseason. The eight-team league is split into Eastern and Western Conferences, and teams will play a 10-week regular season with games on both Saturdays and Sundays and two Thursday night games in Weeks 9 and 10.
When the season kicks off on February 8th, the games will be broadcast across six networks through ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, FS2, FOX, ABC, and will, of course, be available through their streaming apps as well. There is also a host of new rules that differ from the NFL, all of which encourage scoring and a constant flow of football. Most notably, the league will use a continuous game clock that only stops on timeouts, changes of possession, and during the final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters. The play clock will be just 25 seconds as well, which is far short of the 40 seconds currently in place in the NFL. Let’s take a look at the four teams in the Western Conference to see where we can spot some value.
Dallas Renegades (+250)
- Head Coach: Bob Stoops
- Stadium: Globe Life Park in Arlington
One of two XFL teams in the football-rich state of Texas, the Renegades, are led by one of the most recognizable head coaches in the league, former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. In his nearly two decades at the helm of the Sooners, Stoops won an astounding 10 Big 12 Championships and amassed a record of 190-48 along the way. Stoops will have a familiar arm at his disposal in former Sooner quarterback Landry Jones, who was the first player to sign with this rendition of the XFL. Jones’ No. 1 target will be another Oklahoma product, as Jeff Badet will bring his 4.2 speed to Dallas and could very well end up being the best receiver in the league when the season is all said and done. The Air Raid attack that Dallas is set to run will be supported by running back Cameron Artis-Payne, who comes to the Renegades after four seasons with the Carolina Panthers.
Los Angeles Wildcats (+450)
- Head Coach: Winston Moss
- Stadium: Dignity Health Sports Park
With the XFL making it no secret that they will focus on the offensive aspect of the game, the Wildcats bring in likely the best defensive-minded staff in the league. Led by Winston Moss, who has spent more than 30 years in the NFL — first as a linebacker, and then as a defensive coach — the Wildcats will also feature a strong linebacker core led by Auburn’s Tre’ Williams. On the offensive side of the ball, former AAF quarterback Luis Perez will bring his talents to the XFL after an impressive first season in the short-lived AAF. His top target, Nelson Spruce, also came over from the AAF, and he should put up big numbers for Perez if he can stay healthy.
Houston Roughnecks (+700)
- Head Coach: June Jones
- Stadium: TDECU Stadium
Having coached in the NCAA, CFL, and NFL, Houston head coach June Jones will bring instant credibility to a team in a league still very much searching for its own identity. Jones has already left his mark on Texas football, but he’ll return to the area to lead the Roughnecks. He’s already tasked with a difficult decision at quarterback: Houston started with former Temple gunslinger Phillip Walker, but then they added Michigan State standout, Connor Cook, in the XFL Draft. Whoever wins the job will have the luxury of throwing to potentially the No. 1 target in the league in wide receiver Sammie Coats who is poised to take the league by storm as one of the best athletes that will be on the field each week.
Seattle Dragons (+800)
- Head Coach: Jim Zorn
- Stadium: CenturyLink Field
As you will likely notice as a pattern in the league at this point, the Dragons will be led by a coach very familiar with the area in head coach Jim Zorn. Having served the Seahawks as both starting quarterback and head coach. Brandon Silvers will start at the quarterback position. Back in the AAF, Silvers beat out former NCAA five-star recruits Christian Hackenberg and Zach Mettenberger for the starting job in Memphis. Will Sutton, a former third-round pick by the Bears, will lead the defensive unit as they try to slow down a Western Conference filled with offensive studs.
When it comes to a completely new league, any level of pre-built chemistry and familiarity is a huge advantage. The Dallas Renegades might as well be called the Dallas Sooners, as they bring in a bevy of former Oklahoma guys who feel comfortable with one another before even stepping on the field. While there might be better value in the Eastern Conference, it’s obvious to see why the Renegades are such short favorites, as I believe deservedly so.
Dallas Renegades +250