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MMQB: Future of the NCAA Transfer Portal

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Talk about peak offseason content!

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Folks, the BSD Slack is a bizarre place where nothing is too stupid to be discussed. With that being the case, I raised the question the other day: if the NCAA fielded an All-Transfer Portal team (note: anyone who entered the transfer portal this offseason would be eligible, even if they decided to return to their school), would it be good enough to make the College Football Playoff?

This is a dumb question because there’s a whole bunch of issues to figure out:

  • What is their schedule?
  • What conference are they in? Or are they cowards like Notre Dame who won’t join one?
  • Who coaches them?
  • Depth feels like it would be an issue, no?

Pretending like those questions aren’t important and just trying to answer “Would they be good enough to make the CFP”, my immediate reaction was: probably. I think a lot of it would hinge on the quarterback market — this past one, as you’ll see, was not particularly strong — but I think the rest of the starting 22 would be pretty good.

Then I put the starting lineup together. I used The Athletic’s Top 50 rankings, as I won’t sit here and pretend to have watched much of *insert Conference USA team here*. This is what I came up with...

QB: Jack Coan (Notre Dame) OR McKenzie Milton (Florida State)
RB: Eric Gray (Oklahoma)
WR: Charleston Rambo (Miami)
WR: Jameson Williams (Alabama)
WR: Wan’Dale Robinson (Kentucky)
TE: Arik Gilbert (LSU)
OT: Obinna Eze (TCU)
OG: Doug Nester (West Virginia)
OC: Bryan Hudson (Louisville)
OG: Eric Wilson (Penn State)
OT: Wanya Morris (Oklahoma)

DE: Jermaine Johnson (Florida State)
DT: Antonio Shelton (Florida)
DT: Siaki Ika (Baylor)
DE: Arnold Ebiketie (Penn State)
LB: Mike Jones Jr. (LSU)
LB: Henry To’o To’o (Alabama)
LB: Justin Rice (Utah State)
S: Tykee Smith (Georgia)
S: Kenderick Duncan Jr. (Louisville)
CB: Tyrique Stevenson (Miami)
CB: TJ Carter (TCU)

Note: Only Bryan Hudson and Eric Wilson were outside of the Top 50

I think right off the bat, quarterback is a major issue. It’s difficult to project any team to the College Football Playoff if they don’t have a stud at QB. So even if there was a Justin Fields or even a JT Daniels, I still don’t think that team is good enough.

That’s not to say it’s a bad team; I’d probably earmark them around 9-3. But I did expect to be a bit more impressed when I went through and laid out the starting lineup. I think the obvious issue: who are the true game breakers on that team? They are all (to varying levels) solid-to-good players, but that just feels like a team that lacks that extra pop that needs to break into the playoff.

So this raises the question: will we ever reach the point where this mystical “All-22 NCAA Transfer Portal” team could be good enough to make the CFP? Right now, the portal is filled with good players but it doesn’t have an influx of great players. How much longer will it be before the transfer portal top 50 is a quasi all-star team of college football players? Will it ever?