Nick Viall is the newest hunk looking for love when “The Bachelor” returns to ABC on Jan. 2. Meanwhile, ESPN and ABC have teamed up to launch the official “Bachelor Fantasy League” in conjunction with the hit reality show. ABC photo

ABC, ESPN are starting a fantasy league for “The Bachelor”

What’s next, The Bachelorette Bowl Championship Series?

Don’t rule anything out … Not now that news is out that ABC and ESPN are launching The Bachelor Fantasy League.

Described as “the official ultimate fantasy game experience,” it’s arriving just in time for the start of the 2017 season of the popular ABC rate-a-date reality show on January 2. Available now on ABC.com/BFL and the ESPN Fantasy App, the game challenges players to predict the top four women who’ll make it to the hometown dates and the one who will receive the final rose from this 21st season’s ultimate catch of a bachelor, Nick Viall.

What, no predicting which bikini-ed lovely will be the first to have a mascara-ruining meltdown in the official “Bachelor” hot tub?

Oh, wait, we spoke too soon.

According to a release from ABC, “The Bachelor Fantasy League also features a weekly game based on player predictions of events that will take place in the upcoming episode.”

Can you say, “Hot tub meltdown?!”

Players earn points for correct answers, and each point is an entry into both that week’s drawing for a dozen red roses and the grand-prize drawing at the end of the season. The winner of that drawing gets a trip for two to Los Angeles, hotel and airfare included, two tickets to Disneyland and two tickets to the televised tell-all episode, “The Bachelorette: After The Final Rose.”

There’s even a leaderboard where players will be able to track their standings after Episode 1. Still this thing is a little tamer than traditional sports fantasy leagues. You don’t get to make trades or put any of the women on waivers (that’s the rose-giver’s job); although players can make changes to their “final four” up to the third episode, according to this video on the official Bachelor Fantasy League web site.

Still … we can think of some folks who’ll likely be taking this very seriously. Namely, Mel Kiper, ESPN’s so-called football draft “guru” whose love for “The Bachelor” is so pronounced, he’s toted out his weekly “Big Board” of contestant rankings during the show’s most recent seasons.

Indeed, there’s a certain inevitability to all this — once you get past the ick factor associated with quasi-betting on people’s private lives, that is (right, private lives …ha, ha, ha!). Over 15 years and 20 seasons (we’re leaving the less entertaining “Bachelorette” spinoff out of this), ABC has deployed pretty much every plot twist and camera angle to keep people watching; meanwhile, its bro network, ESPN, has pretty much managed to inject sports into everything else in life.

So why not have a “Bachelor” fantasy league? It’s really not all that different from standing around at a bar or party and speculating on who might go home with whom. Or studying NFL stats and deciding which mountainous defensive tackle to draft for your fantasy team.

The comparison does have its limits, though: That 6-foot-7, 350-pound bruiser who looks so good on a football field?

Probably not as good a choice to win The Bachelor’s heart.

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