Last Updated: 2017-08-30
Every season handicappers and bettors wait, and wait, and wait to start looking in detail about what they’re actually wagering on. Many rely strictly on returning starters and what happened last season, which can be a catastrophic mistake. Don’t forget the transfers, some of which are high-profile and have the potential to have high-impact.
This season there are a number of quarterbacks changing schools that we just can’t overlook.
It seems many people have the Houston Cougars falling from grace after losing HC Tom Herman to the Longhorns. Let’s not forget that Herman coached exactly twenty-six games there, so there’s not a long history of winning and/or recruiting. I wouldn’t discount Herman, but life under Major Applewhite will go on, and it’ll go on with their OC becoming the HC so there’s not as much “interruption” as one might think.
But, Houston will add Kyle Allen at QB, a transfer from Texas A & M. He’s thrown almost 500 passes in his two seasons in College Station, and played in a Bowl Game. You simply can’t discount that, and there’s likely a lot less transition from the Aggies offensive style to the Cougars’ style.
A potential under-the-radar transfer is at Pittsburgh, a team that doesn’t get a lot of national headlines for their football program. They’re adding Max Browne, who comes from the left coast and SoCal. With the Trojans he only started three games, but two of them were against Stanford and Alabama, which means there isn’t a team in the ACC that should intimidate the kid. The Panthers do have a tough early season schedule, playing at Penn State and home to Oklahoma State, but that will only make Browne more competitive and the Panthers more valuable thereafter.
West Virginia continues to get no respect, and honestly their home loss against Oklahoma last season still rings in most bettors’ ears. However, this season they bring in Will Grier. You may remember that he played in Gainesville, so with no disrespect to Mountaineer fans, playing in Morgantown is a step down the pressure level for Grier. He was 6-0 at Florida before a possible suspension for substance abuse, but he threw for 1200+ yards there, and looked great in WVU’s Spring game. They open against V-Tech, but at a neutral site (Landover, MD) and have been installed as four-point underdogs. I think they’ve got a real shot at winning as V-Tech isn’t bringing back much at all.
Auburn adds Jeff Stidham, who comes over from Baylor. As a Freshman in 2015 he started three games before injuring his ankle, and when Baylor fell apart he announced his decision to transfer. Of course coming to a perennial power like Auburn he’s received perhaps the most attention and has the highest expectations. He excelled in the Tigers’ Spring game, raising the expectations even more. My concern is not his ability, but his lack of playing time, which could lead to some rust. It may not, but the value with Auburn may be higher after a couple of actual games.
There other less high-profile transfers, but they are no less important to our handicapping.
The Tar Heels will add Brandon Harris, who spent several seasons at LSU. People will downgrade North Carolina for losing Mitch Trubisky, as they should, but just maybe, too much.
There are also other skill-position transfers that have the potential to make big impacts, so being thorough with due diligence can get us off on right foot in a few weeks. If nothing else, we’ll learn quicker, and if you don’t learn you don’t win.
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