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.