As transfers become more common in college football, the rules around changing teams continue to change. The latest adjustment was the NCAA’s implementation of “transfer windows”, two periods during which players can enter their names in the transfer portal (graduate students and players whose head coaches have been fired can always enter at all times).
The first window is set to open on December 5, the day after the bowl selections are announced. This should lead to a flood of players in the portal. We look two months into the future to project the SEC’s best-case scenarios for the first-ever transfer window.
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1. Who will be looking for an upgrade to quarterback?
The recent transfer explosion in college football has impacted the quarterback position more than any other, with dozens of flaggers looking for a new team each offseason. This will no doubt be the case again this year.
Last week, we looked at some SEC quarterbacks who could be traded. But which teams will be looking to bring in a new setter from the portal? Kentucky, which is expected to lose Will Levis to the NFL, may seek to replace him with another transfer. The same goes for Tennessee and Hendon Hooker. Auburn, whose quarterbacks have struggled a lot this season, could ask for a Portal upgrade. Even Alabama may be looking for a new quarterback after Bryce Young’s expected departure to the NFL. Freshman Jalen Milroe looked solid in relief from Young after the defending Heisman Trophy winner left in Crimson Tide’s victory over Arkansas on Saturday, but Nick Saban showed a willingness to upgrade through the portal if a good enough player is available.
2. Will any coaching change lead to a mass exodus?
Last offseason, LSU and Florida saw players leave their programs en masse after layoffs from Ed Orgeron and Dan Mullen. Thirty former LSU players came through the portal between Orgeron’s firing and the start of this season, as did 19 former Gators. Consequently, both Billy Napier and particularly, Brian Kelly had to rely on the portal to populate their rosters after taking over at these schools.
It wouldn’t be an SEC offseason without at least one coaching change, with Auburn looking the most likely right now. Would this lead to a large-scale migration of Tiger players to the portal? History suggests so.
3. Can the King of Portals start again?
The SEC story of the year so far could be Ole Miss, who is 5-0 and ranked No. 9 despite losing last season’s starting quarterback Matt Corral. A key to the Rebels retaining their 2021 success was Lane Kiffinthe ability and willingness to use the talent portal. The eponymous “Portal King” added the Rebels’ current starting quarterback (Jaxson Dart), second leading rusher (Zach Evans), two main receivers (wide Malik Heath and tight end Michael Trigg) and main tackle (Troy Brown) from the transfer ranks during the offseason.
Will Kiffin rely on the transfer portal as much again in 2022, or was that a one-time thing? The bigger question might be whether he can recreate that kind of success if he tried. Mel Tucker and the 2-3 Michigan State Spartans provide a cautionary tale of trying to catch Lightning in a Bottle twice from the gate.
4. Will Georgia finally adopt the portal?
The only FBS team that didn’t add at least one transfer to their roster last offseason was the defending national champion. So far, that hasn’t seemed to hurt Georgia, which is 5-0 and ranked No. 2 nationally.
Given Smart KirbyThanks to the recruiting success, the Bulldogs shouldn’t have to rely too much on the portal. Georgia signed a top-five class every year from 2018-2022, three of which finished No. 1. But it seems almost foolhardy to ignore the modern college football portal. Additionally, Smart has a tendency to emulate Saban, his former boss and mentor, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he also started to sprinkle the casual transfer into his recruiting strategy.
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5. How will teams scheduled for the New Year’s Six Bowls or College Football Playoffs be affected?
The timing of the new transfer window is interesting in that any team that makes the playoffs will always have at least one game to play when players are allowed into the portal. While many players haven’t let the lure of playing in a bowling game stop them from leaving a team in the past, it will be interesting to see how many teams’ players qualify for the New Year’s Six Bowls. – or even the college football playoffs. – enter the portal at the first window. Of course, they probably wouldn’t be major contributors leaving the roster at that time, but no coach still playing for a national title wants to see their depth or scouting rosters suddenly depleted a few weeks before a playoff game. . Players from these teams could wait and still enter the portal during the spring transfer window (May 1-15), but there is reason to fear that many landing spots will be filled by then. .