Alright, we’ve avoided it long enough and I think it’s time we finally talk about the LSU football QB battle. TJ Finley is on his way to Auburn and LSU is down to three real candidates for their starting quarterback for the 2021 season. There’s a lot that needs to be taken into account when making this decision. But who will ultimately be the starter come September 4 in Los Angeles for the LSU football program? Let’s make a case for each quarterback
On Thursday, June 3, 2021, the SEC Presidents and Chancellors voted to amend the conference’s transfer policy. This vote follows the NCAA’s rule change from April that allows all student-athletes to transfer one time without having to sit out one season as penalty. While this rule change was announced in April, each University was still bound to the rules of their respective conference. This ruling by the SEC is monumental, but how will it affect the college football landscape?
The SEC’s amendment allows for players to use this new NCAA transfer rule to transfer intra-conference without the one year penalty that we have seen in the past. For instance, after the 2019 season Cade Mays transferred to Tennessee from Georgia and petitioned for immediate eligibility. This bid was declined by the SEC and thus one of the best offensive linemen was not eligible to play football this past May.
This rule is effective immediately, and it opens plenty of doors along with it. Players like Arik Gilbert (UGA) and Henry To’o To’o (Alabama) will be immediately eligible to play. It has been reported that TJ Finley will be eligible to play for Auburn in September as well (via FlyWarEagle.com & AL.com), but this falls into a bit of a grey area.
This ruling by the SEC comes with caveats, just as the ruling by the NCAA did. According to the amendment by the SEC, players participating in Fall sports must enter the transfer portal by February 1. The player does not have to have their destination chosen, but they must have entered the transfer portal. The NCAA requires fall sport athletes to enter the transfer portal by May 1.
The TJ Finley Dilemma
TJ Finley recently announced that he would be transferring to Auburn and intended to compete for the 2021 starting quarterback job. The issue here is that Finley did not enter the transfer portal until May 6, which doesn’t meet the SEC or NCAA’s transfer deadline. Still, it has been reported by FlyWarEagle.com and AL.com that Finley will be immediately eligible. Recently, Mark Murphy of 247sports.com reported that all players in good academic standing will be eligible to transfer without the one year penalty for 2021-2022 seasons.
If this transfer rule does nothing else, I believe that it will give more power to the athletes within the NCAA. It certainly grants more flexibility for collegiate athletes.The transfer process for collegiate athletes is something that the NCAA has handled fairly poorly in the past (i.e. Luke Deal). This new rule by the SEC will allow for players to transfer freely within conference once without penalty.
This ruling will give SEC fans the best possible product on the field, I believe. This is because we will see far fewer great players transfer out of conference to gain immediate eligibility. This ruling could bring back the SEC dominance that we saw between 2006 and 2012. This new rule could also cause greater competition within the conference. Things didn’t work out at Alabama? Transfer to Florida. Try the other division. Etc.
Not only will this create more competition within the conference, but it will also allow for recruiting to pick up even more. The SEC is the last of the Power 5 conferences to vote on eliminating the one year penalty for intra-conference transfers. This may have been something that was negatively affecting recruiting, but now it is not an issue.
The Negative Consequences
As is the case with any net positive, there is at least a little bit of a downside. Truthfully, the only downside to this that I could see is a potential upswing in player tampering. With this rule in place, there will surely be tampering within the SEC. We could see coaches recruiting players while they are still enrolled at their current schools. While this is still illegal in college football, it is not out of the realm of possibilities.
All in all, this new amendment set in place by the SEC blazes a trail for player empowerment and should be seen as a positive thing. I, for one, am very excited to see what the future holds for college football and the athletes that are affected by this transfer rule.
Winner: Jimbo Fisher & Kellen Mond
Going into this weekend, Jimbo Fisher had a 4-12 record against Top-25 opposition in his short time as the head coach for the Aggies. The Aggies also never knocked off a Top-5 opponent going into this game against the Florida Gators under Fisher. Kellen Mond has gained plenty of doubters throughout his career in College Station, even though at his best he may be the best QB in the SEC. Well, we finally see what the Aggies can be when everything comes together and they play up to their potential.
KELLEN MOND WITH A ROCKET?
Texas A&M3️⃣8️⃣ Florida3️⃣8️⃣
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 10, 2020
Winner: Stetson Bennett
Even the strongest supporters for Stetson Bennett could not have seen this coming; especially on the stage that was set Saturday night. Not many experts gave Stetson the respect he deserved, but to be fair he was facing a former 5-star QB in Bo Nix who was a candidate for breakout player of the year. But by the end of the night in Athens there was no question who was the better QB on the field.
Winner: Mike Leach, KJ Costello, & the Return of Stark-Vegas
Who said the “Air Raid” offense would not work in the SEC? Oh, that was all of us. Mike Leach made us all look like absolute fools this weekend and KJ Costello was the perfect QB to bring down to Starkville. Nobody, especially Bo Pelini & Coach O, thought Mississippi State could come to Tiger Stadium and throw for an SEC record 623 yards, while putting up 44 points on the vaunted LSU defense.
The 4th part of our 6-part installment highlighting the best players returning for the Power 5 conferences and finally made it to the BIG-10 after a short break. These players can be incoming recruits, but most of the players featured will be returning stars from previous seasons.
We cover the BIG-10, which is home to fourteen different programs and is home to multiple national champions. Ohio State has been the best team for multiple consecutive seasons now; winning the past 3 conference championships. Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, & Wisconsin have all made New Year’s Six bowls. In the CFB Playoff era, Ohio State made a run and upset Alabama and Oregon to win the national championship. We have seen elite players, such as Dwayne Haskins take the college football world by storm and make a Heisman run.
The BIG-10 is one of the deepest conferences in college football; indicated by the 40+ players that were drafted in this past NFL Draft. Make sure to check out these players in the 2020 season, because these guys will be playing on Sunday in the near future.
The NFL is the only league generating sports news currently, which makes this a perfect time to release the inaugural mock draft from The Bluebloods. The draft is currently projected to start on April 23rd in Las Vegas, NV. This mock draft comes after the NFL combine, which gives us a more complete picture of most prospects.
1. Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow, QB
Many experts seem to think the Dolphins could trade up for this pick, but I do not agree. The Bengals know that any pick other than the Ohio hero, Joe Burrow, will result in their jobs if things go south in the coming years. Burrow played at an elite level throughout the 2019 season and set multiple records in the process. The Bengals have weapons for Burrow to use (A.J. Green & Joe Mixon), which makes this pick a no-brainer.
We cover the BIG-12 here, which is home to ten different programs and multiple national championship teams. The conference is highlighted by Oklahoma, which has made the playoffs for 3 straight years and had multiple Heisman trophy winners (Kyler Murray & Baker Mayfield) in recent years. Texas has played for a national championship as recently as 2009; plus won the Sugar Bowl against Georgia two years ago. Baylor has experienced a drastic rise to national relevance and even made a New Year’s Six appearance this past season. Teams like TCU & Oklahoma State have had very recent success and are on the rise coming into the 2020 season.
The BIG-12 has a national stigma of fielding the best offensive talent in the country, but as you read this list you’ll notice there are some extremely talented defensive players in this conference as well. I expect the BIG-12 to be one of the most competitive conferences in the country in 2020 and these players will play a huge role in how that race finishes in Dallas.
The second of our 6-part installment highlighting the best players returning for the Power 5 conferences and the AAC is finally here. These players can be incoming recruits, but most of the players featured will be returning stars from previous seasons.
We cover the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), which is home to fourteen different programs and is home to multiple national champions. Clemson has dominated the conference in recent years and has been a national powerhouse, winning two national titles since 2016. Miami had dominant runs in the 1980’s and in the early 2000’s, but is rebuilding itself into a national contender. Florida State was a national champion in 2013 and was one of the teams who made the first ever playoff in college football. Georgia Tech appeared and dominated Mississippi State in their New Year’s Six bowl appearance in 2014. Virginia made a strong run to the Orange Bowl this past season, but fell short to a red-hot Florida team.
The ACC is home to some of the best programs in the country and always fields two or three national contenders every season. The conference lies in a recruiting hotspot, which includes states like Florida & Georgia. This conference is loaded with talented players, which made this list extremely hard to make. Make sure to check out these players in the 2020 season, because these guys will be playing on Sunday in the near future.
National Signing Day has passed and a sense of optimism is contagious; as programs across the country believe players in the most recent recruiting class will bring wins and championships to their schools. Regardless if you have the #1 class in the country or the #50 class in the country; fans & coaches will tell you that every player has the potential to be the next college football superstar.
Now whether that player has the potential or was completely overrated by analysts; the truth remains that most players will not win the heisman, but these players will lay the foundation of your program for 3-4 years into the future. You could have the next 3-star turned Heisman winner (Johnny Manziel) or you could have totally whiffed on a 5-star that had no real potential (Ryan Perrilloux).
Even the best programs in the country have recruited one of the best prospects in the current recruiting class and that player end up transferring and never playing a down in that uniform. We aim to cover some of these players here and highlight some of the most notorious busts in college football recruiting since 2010. As college football fans we all hope our team is not featured on this list in another 10 years, but the odds are not in our favor.