Are They Taking Over College Football?

transfer quarterbacks

College football programs with national championship aspirations, or those that just hope to elevate their fortunes, have learned a lesson: The quarterback who leads them to a winning record, a prestigious bowl or even to a national title might well be an athlete who was recruited by someone else. That’s something for customers on legal sports betting apps to remember as well.

With the transfer portal in vogue the past few years, college football programs seem to get their quarterbacks from somebody else’s campus more and more. But, frankly, transfer quarterbacks have been around for a while.

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Transfer Quarterbacks Not New At All

It might not be fresh in the minds of fans that Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman started at the University of Oklahoma in the 1980s. A switch in the Sooners’ offensive scheme led Aikman to make his way to UCLA, where he won the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback.

Many current top NFL quarterbacks who garner attention at legal online sportsbooks transferred from one school to another in their college careers. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts started at Alabama, lost the starting job to Tua Tagovailoa, then wound up at Oklahoma for a strong senior season.

Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray started at Texas A&M but went on to win the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow started at Ohio State, but shifted to LSU, where he led the Tigers to a national championship and also won the Heisman. Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields started his college career at Georgia but went the other direction from Burrow, transferring to Ohio State, where he took the Buckeyes to the National Championship playoffs.

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How Teams Fare With Transfer Quarterbacks

With that history, consulted ESPN to look at the NCAA Division I college football landscape as it relates to quarterbacks who move from one program to another, perhaps altering the fortunes of both the programs and of odds at college football betting sites. We wanted to determine how well college football programs do when they use the transfer portal to acquire a quarterback.

We used the final College Football Playoffs rankings to see how often transfer QBs led their teams to finish in the Top 25. In the analysis, used the quarterback on each roster who started the most games in 2023.

The results are below. Of the top 25 teams in college football for 2023, 11 of them, or 44%, had a transfer as their primary quarterback. Three of the top 10 (30%) had a transfer QB. And of the four teams who are in the CFB Playoffs, two are quarterbacked by transfers.

Quinn Ewers moved from Ohio State to Texas, where he’ll lead the Longhorns to the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 as a 4-point favorite with Caesars Sportsbook to beat the Washington Huskies, who are led by Indiana transfer Michael Penix Jr.

Do You Need Transfer QBs To Compete For CFB Playoffs?

Situation Number of Teams Percentage Top 25 Team With Transfer QB  11 of 25 44% Top 10 Team With Transfer QB 3 of 10 30% Top 4 Team With Transfer QB 2 of 4 50%


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Bill Ordine

Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.

Author: Louis Miller