The Transfer Portal and NIL Aren’t Ruining College Football- They’re Saving It By Creating Parity

NIL and the transfer portal is giving us a season that, 6 weeks in, could have the most potential National Championship winners than any season in recent memory.

Kids don’t want to sit, and they want to get paid if they can. So if you’re sitting on the bench at Ohio State, and someone has a few thousand in endorsement deals and a starting spot waiting for you at Purdue or Indiana, you might be tempted to take it. 

Technically some of this is an inducement, which isn’t technically allowed, but until the NCAA can stop it, it’s the unwritten law of the land.

This creates volatility for the top-tier programs, the same volatility that that most college football fans are subjected to. It also makes the games on the field more exciting. Texas Tech had Oregon down late, Boston College almost upset Florida State, and Notre Dame needed all 60 minutes to put away DUKE!

So here we are headed into week 6, and the top 30 teams in the AP Poll all have a legitimate opportunity to win out and make an appearance in the College Football Playoff. 

Last year at the Week 6 mark, Texas Christian University was at #13. This year the team in that spot is Washington State. If the Horned Frogs can make a run like they did in 2022, why can’t the Cougs? Why can’t Cam Ward be the new Max Duggan?

And yes, it’s a bummer for teams to continue to lose star players to teams that have always had the ability to re-load, like a USC, but what happens when a talented USC player feels like they’ve been recruited over through the portal? They get to move on, too. That’s how Oregon ended up with Gary Bryant, and how CJ Williams ended up at Wisconsin. It’s also how you get Courtland Ford starting at right tackle for a currently undefeated Kentucky Wildcats team. 

One of the things that the portal and NIL was supposed to kill off was the impact Group of 5 teams, because the moment that a player pops, you have to assume a Power 5 position coach is in them or their parents DMs. But what seems to be happening instead, is G5 kids are playing better than they ever have, because they’re incentivized by not being locked in for four years in a small college town. Look at Wyoming, sitting here at 4-1, about to host an undefeated Fresno State team on national TV despite losing a ton of players to the portal the last two years. The Cowboys program should be dead after losing so many players.

And Fresno State should have fallen off after losing Jake Haener to the NFL, but the Portal allowed Jeff Tedford to go out and save Mikey Keene from having to sit on the bench at UCF, and they’re right back in the mix. Fox Sports thinks this is compelling enough to push Iowa State vs TCU to FS2. 

Let that sink in.

Pac-12 Apostles Podcast (10/4/2023): Pat McAfee vs Washington State, Utah Players Get Trucks, Week 5 Review/Week 6 Preview

On this week’s episode of the Pac-12 Apostles podcast, George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden break down the five conference games from the last week and preview the Pac-12 Network-heavy week six slate. Plus, the guys talk about Pat McAfee trying to ignite a rivalry with Washington State fans, and Utah players all getting brand new pick up trucks as part of an NIL deal.

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The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the conference. Join us by becoming a Pac-12 Apostle. Subscribe and share the podcast.

Please leave a rating and review of our podcast on iTunes! We record a podcast once a week with emergency episodes when necessary. Our podcasts are always heavy on Pac-12 football. But we make it a point to also try and cover the other notable Men’s and Women’s Pac-12 sports. We cover recruiting and any other major storyline in the Pac-12 universe.

George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.

Ralph Amsden is a sportswriter and podcaster. He is the publisher of Rivals’, Content Director for, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State University Rivals affiliate, Wyoming born, Arizona raised, and now based in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and four kids, Amsden made his mark in Arizona sports media through investigative reporting, and being one of the first people to leverage social media and the podcast medium to grow his platform. . Ralph might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but whether the topic is food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.

Rodney Harrison Calling Zach Wilson Garbage In Chris Jones Interview: Wrighster Or Wrong?

We need to talk about Rodney Harrison’s seriously unprofessional postgame interview of Chris Jones.

Honestly, this shocked me. 

Every year as the NFL has more and more broadcast partners, an increasing number of former players and coaches are getting opportunities to be part of the pregame, postgame, or broadcast crews. 

I’ve been in the booth. I’ve done every kind of analysis there is, and I know that there can be pitfalls and temptations when that red light comes on, to put a message out to the public that might not be something the audience is ready to digest. 

Rodney Harrison though? He shouldn’t be that guy. He’s been part of NBC’s coverage for fifteen years now. And NBC is supposed to be the classy channel, serving up football to the morally upstanding crowd that spent the rest of their football viewing hours at church or with their families. 

So what happened? Let’s get into it.

The Kansas City Chiefs just finished a 23-20 win over the New York Jets in front of Taylor Swift.

I’m not sure if you caught one of the 500 mentions that she was at the game.

And Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones, who sacked Zach Wilson in the win, was invited up to the booth to speak with Harrison and Tony Dungy.

Harrison asked Jones : Was Zach better tonight than what you anticipated he would be watching him on tape? And you can be honest.

Jones replied with: Honestly, if I’m being completely honest, we knew it was gonna be a battle. He’s continuing to get better week in and week out. He’s continuing to lead week in and week out

At this point it went off the rails, Harrison interrupted to call Zach Wilson “garbage,” and when Jones pushed back and said that “Zach Wilson is special,” Harrison finished the exchange disagreeing, saying that “I think he had a special night, but I don’t think he’s “special.”‘

Damn, Rodney.

Look, no one thinks that Zach Wilson is out here tearing up the league. He was replaced by Aaron Rodgers this season. The Jets knew Wilson wasn’t ready to be the guy in 2023, but he just put together a good enough game to keep the Jets within striking distance against the defending Super Bowl champions. Was right then and there really the time to be calling this man “garbage?”

And if you’re going to call a player garbage, what do you need Chris Jones to agree with you for? You have a platform. Call the man garbage on your own time. 

You wasted a moment with one of the game’s best defensive players, who earned the right to talk about HIS team and all they’ve done to stay on top, to bring negativity to the set and embarrass yourself  in front of America.

Now, to Harrison’s credit, he apparently did reach out and apologize for his comments, but I’m more concerned with how we got to this point in the first place. Everyone has takes that are too hot for broadcast TV, and some networks have build an entire sports talk economy so there can be a place for those takes. If Rodney Harrison wants to step off that NBC desk and do the podcast circuit, or get on the radio with me and chop it up, anything goes. 

But we can’t have people that have reached the pinnacle of broadcasting looking down at these hot take streets and trying to have one foot in both worlds. And we definitely can’t have people in that role setting up the game’s best athletes to take the bait and end up in some drama that they never wanted to be a part of. 

Let that sink in.

We Need To Stop Saying University of Colorado Is “Black America’s Team”


We need to talk about Black America.

I mean, we don’t, but according to Skip Bayless we do, so here we go.

Recently, Skip Bayless fired off a show promo tweet asking ” Is Deion’s Colorado now Black America’s Team?”

Social media was not kind to Skip, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and explore the segment that actually aired on Undisputed.

Skip Bayless asked the question to Richard Sherman and Keyshawn Johnson, based on an article written by Mike Freeman of USA Today, in which Freeman says:

As Deion Sanders continues to capture the fascination of college football, even when his team gets blown out, something else is happening. It may not make headlines, but it’s happening all across the country. In Black homes. In Black businesses. Black fathers and sons, Black moms and daughters, Black friends and workmates – so many in the Black community are talking about Sanders. They are saying that Colorado is Black America’s team.

To Richard Sherman and Keyshawn Johnson’s credit, they seemed to understand the question while being a little confused by the premise.

Richard Sherman said Deion’s “got a lot of fans in the black community, and he’s got a lot of fans in every community.”

Keyshawn Johnson said “Everybody wants to roll with Deion, because it’s Deion.”

Not everybody. Just ask the people that wanted him to stick it out at Jackson State and continue to help uplift HBCU’s. Just like Deion Sanders, those people aren’t hard to find.

My instinct is reject this premise altogether, because THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BLACK AMERICA.

We don’t have one voice, or one interest. What race of people does?

We’re not a monolith.

If you’re black, maybe there’s an added incentive for you to have a rooting interest in Deion Sanders’ success.

Every positive indicator you can grasp onto is a helping hand when it comes to both self-affirmation and raising up the next generation.

But I guarantee you that if you say Deion Sanders’ name at a gathering of Black Americans, that are supposedly united around wanting to see University of Colorado succeed, you’re going to get the whole spectrum of opinions.

And that includes people who don’t care about Deion Sanders at all, and will never care.

Believe it or not, not every black person cares about sports.

10 million people tuned in to the last Colorado game. There are over 40 million black people in America. The math ain’t mathing.

And if you do care about sports, especially college football, are you rooting for Deion Sanders to the point where you’ve left your allegiance behind? Do you want him bringing the Buffaloes to your town to beat up on your school?

I know I don’t.

And they didn’t by the way. Go Ducks.

My point is that it’s silly to consider any group of people to be one thing, on one team. White people never have to deal with this.

Even if there’s something that is disproportionately loved by caucasians, like pickle ball, or pumpkin spice, or Duke basketball, or the movie Rudy, it would be absurd to say something is being embraced by all of White America.

But when it comes to minorities, for some reason we entertain the premise on a live television show moderated by Skip Bayless?

If there was a meeting that we were all supposed to be on Team Deion, I must have missed it!

For another example of this, look at what’s happening with the Washington Redskins… or Football Team… or Commanders.

A petition is going around from an organization called the Native American Guardians Association that wants new owner Josh Harris to change the name of the franchise from the Commanders back to the Redskins.

And the reaction online has been “I thought Native Americans were the ones that wanted the name changed, why can’t they make up their mind?”

Well maybe because there is no “they.”

Native Americans aren’t one thing. So much so, that it’s where we literally get the term “tribal.”

Holding an entire group accountable for the opinions of one part of that group is how the entire indigenous community ended up having treaty after treaty carve up their land, culture and resources.

Look, I don’t care how well intentioned Mike Freeman was, his column is what gave Skip Bayless permission to go out on TV and present the idea that Black America has some sort of hive mind.

Presenting the idea that an increasing number of black people are rooting for Deion Sanders isn’t dangerous, but the idea that it isn’t possible for opinions on Deion Sanders to vary because of one’s skin color is the exact reason that every time I tweet about Coach Prime, I have trolls in my mentions saying that I only support him because he’s black.

We’re giving permission for idiots and racists to think like idiots and racists.

Let that sink in.