Transfer Portal

Tough crowd, Nick Saban must be thinking to himself. Following a loss to Georgia in the National Championship game, seven players from his team hit the transfer portal. But this isn’t unlike what programs all around the country experience. With the frequent moving of coaches between programs, players unhappy with playing time, and players seizing opportunities at bigger schools, the power of college athletics is switching toward the athletes.

The online casino industry benefits from having sportsbooks that offer futures bets on teams to win the National Championship. These numbers are dynamic and frequently move based on news that breaks year-round. 

Over the past few years, several teams have benefitted from finding the missing piece for their program on someone else’s roster. The NCAA ratifying a new rule to allow transfers not to have to sit out a year has opened a big market. Here’s how NCAA teams have capitalized.

Making Ed Orgeron a Genius

Joe Burrow was going to be buried on the depth chart at Ohio State. In his first two seasons, he served at J.T. Barrett’s backup. 

When he was about to lose a quarterback competition to Dwayne Haskins, Burrow moved to LSU as a graduate transfer. He was immediately eligible because of his status as a graduate transfer.

Once Burrow made it to LSU, it shifted the national balance of power. In his first year with the Tigers, LSU went 10-3. Burrow’s final season last season would be one for the record books. 

Burrow led LSU to a 15-0 record, which included a lopsided victory over Clemson in the 2020 National Championship game. Burrow threw for six touchdowns and 463 yards to lead the Tigers to their first title since 2007.

Walker becomes a Superstar

Kenneth Walker III may have been the most significant factor in Michigan State coach Mel Tucker getting a $90 million contract extension during the season. After playing at Wake Forest for his freshman and sophomore seasons and rushing for 1,158 yards, Walker hit the portal and went to play for the Spartans.

Once Walker arrived in East Lansing, he made Michigan State an instant contender in the Big Ten East Division. 

Walker piled up 1,636 yards and scored 18 touchdowns. The Spartans would finish the season 11-2 with a victory over Pittsburgh in the Peach Bowl. 

While Walker didn’t play in the Peach Bowl, his impact was a big reason the Spartans finished third in the division and upset rival Michigan.

Gabriel Still Searching for his Home

Dillon Gabriel was supposed to be the quarterback who kept the UCF football train rolling. After compiling an 18-8 record through 26 starts, Gabriel broke his left clavicle against Lousiville during the 2021 season, which ended his season early. 

After the season, Gabriel decided he wanted to move to a bigger conference, leading to one of the more bizarre transfer portal stories.

Gabriel first committed to play for Chip Kelly at UCLA. However, within a month, Gabriel changed his mind and decided to head to Oklahoma after the Sooners had their top two quarterbacks from last season, Caleb Williams and Spencer Rattler, enter the portal. 

Gabriel threw for 8,041 yards with 70 touchdowns compared with 14 interceptions during his time with the Golden Knights.

Pitt finds another quarterback

Pitt’s football team had its first 11-win season in 40 years during the 2021 season. There was a lot of concern about a drop-off with veteran quarterback Kenny Pickett heading to the NFL. 

However, the Panthers became more attractive with a strong performance in the Peach Bowl playing without Pickett, plus a victory over Wake Forest in the ACC title game.

Pitt was able to lure former USC quarterback Kedon Slovis to the program for the 2021 season. The Panthers did have a leg up in the recruiting battle, as Slovis’ girlfriend Kate McKey plays for Pitt women’s soccer team.