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Big Ten Football Bowl Game Opt-Outs and Transfers, Ranked by Order of Severity

Taulia Tagovailoa’s off to the NFL Draft—but does someone in the Big Ten have it worse than Maryland when it comes to transfers and opt-outs ahead of their bowl game?

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NCAA Football: Maryland at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, I guess it’s time to at least make some lists of who’s in and who’s out for the Big Ten in bowl season, since this news just rolled out from McMurphy:

That’s a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it is Objectively Bad for Maryland, a team that notably has been doing super great since Billie Joe Armstrong is annually roused from his slumber. On the other hand, it does mean that when Maryland loses this game, it doesn’t officially count.

Big Ten Bowl Opt-Outs and Transfers, Ranked in Order of Severity

9. #17 Iowa Hawkeyes

vs. #21 Tennessee Volunteers, Citrus Bowl

  • WR Diante Vines (transfer portal)
  • Minor transfers: QB Spencer Petras, QB Joey Labas, DL Anterio Thompson, EDGE Jackson Filer, CB Terrell Crosby, CB Myles Norwood, CB Brenden Deasfernandes

8. #1 Michigan Wolverines

vs. #4 Alabama Crimson Tide, technically the Rose Bowl

  • Minor transfers: RB CJ Stokes

You read this correctly.

7. Northwestern Wildcats

vs. Utah Utes, Las Vegas Bowl

  • OG Josh Priebe (transfer portal, conditional on OL coach Kurt Anderson)
  • Minor transfers: QB Cole Freeman (transfer portal), DL Matt Lawson (transfer portal), CB Nigel Williams (transfer portal)

Northwestern’s offensive line isn’t good enough to lose a mainstay like Priebe against a good defense like Utah’s. Weirdly, Priebe’s transfer appears conditional based on the status of OL coach Kurt Anderson, so...that’s a thing.

6. Minnesota Golden Gophers

vs. Bowling Green Falcons, Quick Lane Bowl

  • QB Athan Kaliakmanis (transfer portal)
  • Minor transfers: QB Drew Viotto (transfer portal), RB Zach Evans (transfer portal), RB Max Grand (transfer portal), RB Marquese Williams (transfer portal), OL Tyrell Lawrence (transfer portal), OT JJ Guedet (transfer portal)

Despite a number of minor transfers to go with their starting QB, Minnesota has only gained in the point spread since Kaliakmanis announced his transfer. Sure, the Gophers have no other quarterbacks on roster who have attempted a pass, but this...uh...this doesn’t seem to be a huge barrier.

Not that it’ll stop PJ Fleck from telling us that 100 times while reminding us it’s Not An Excuse, since he did not play his “Excuse” card.

This is not higher down on the list because Minnesota should not have to throw the ball to beat Bowling Green. That’s one of those evergreen, true rules, right? Couldn’t ever go wrong.

5. #10 Penn State Nittany Lions

vs. #11 Ole Miss Rebels, Peach Bowl

  • EDGE Chop Robinson (opt-out)
  • DC Manny Diaz (transfer to Duke)
  • Minor transfers: WR Cristian Driver (transfer portal), CB Jace Tutty (transfer portal), backup P Alex Bacchetta (transfer portal)
  • Uncertainty, per VSIN: “Keep an eye on OT Olu Fashanu and CB Kalen King.”

Chop Robinson is a loss, and Penn State could get bumped up to fourth depending on the statuses of Fashanu and King.

4. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

vs. Miami Hurricanes, Pinstripe Bowl

  • OT Kamar Missouri (transfer)
  • CB Max Melton (opt-out)
  • QB Evan Simon (transfer)
  • Minor transfers: QB Raeden Oliver (transfer portal), QB Gavin Rupp (transfer portal), WR Max Patterson (transfer portal), WR Rashad Rochelle (transfer portal), Mike Ciafonni (transfer portal), (transfer portal), CB Carnell Davis (transfer portal)

Kyle Monangai playing in this one is big for Rutgers, who will miss Max Melton’s contributions in pass defense. Thankfully for the Knights, approximately half of Miami’s team is opting out or transferring rather than play in a cold-weather bowl game. Schiano’s gonna start earning that contract extension almost immediately.

3. #7 Ohio State Buckeyes [based on potential]

vs. #9 Missouri Tigers, Cotton Bowl

  • QB Kyle McCord (transfer portal)
  • WR Julian Fleming (transfer portal)
  • RB Chip Trayanum (transfer portal)
  • RB Miyan Williams (NFL Draft opt-out)
  • Minor transfers: TE Joe Royer (transfer portal), OL Victor Cutler Jr. (transfer portal), DL Omari Abor (transfer portal), LB Reid Carrico (transfer portal), CB Jyaire Brown (transfer portal), CB Ryan Turner (transfer portal), S Cameron Martinez (transfer portal), S Kye Stokes (transfer portal)
  • Uncertainty, per VSIN: “Numerous opt-outs possible, including WRs Marvin Harrison Jr....TE Cade Stover...entire starting defensive line.”

Poor Ohio State will have to rely on five-star QB2 Devin Brown.

(It would actually be funny, though, if the rest of those “uncertain” players transferred so we could really test the idea of if Ohio State’s backups could beat most teams. Since Emeka Egbuka and Denzel Burke are in for the game we won’t exactly know if that’s true, but I’d like to test it nonetheless.)

2. Wisconsin Badgers

vs. #13 LSU Tigers, ReliaQuest Bowl

  • WR Chimeke Dike (transfer)
  • WR Skyler Bell (transfer)
  • OL Trey Wedig (transfer)
  • LB Jordan Turner (transfer)
  • RB Braelon Allen (opt-out)
  • C Tanor Bortolini (opt-out)
  • CB Jason Maitre (opt-out)
  • Minor transfers: QB Myles Burkett, OL Dylan Barrett, CB Amaun Williams

That’s just a lot of people (and some linemen who it’s not ideal to lose) in an offense that already has its ups and downs. Enjoy a healthy dose of Cade Yacamelli, I guess.

1. Maryland Terrapins

vs. Auburn Tigers, Glen Mason Memorial Music City Bowl

  • TE Corey Dyches (transfer)
  • LB Jaishawn Barham (transfer)
  • QB Taulia Tagovailoa (opt-out)
  • CB Tarheeb Still (opt-out)
  • CB Corey Coley Jr. (transfer)
  • Minor transfers: WR Tyrese Chambers (transfer portal), TE Rico Walker (transfer portal), OL Ja’Kavion Nonar (transfer portal), CB Gavin Gibson (transfer portal), S Tamarcus Cooley (transfer portal), EDGE Riyad Wilmot (transfer portal)

Maryland is now relying on a quarterback named “Bill” (Edwards, who will platoon with freshman Cam Edge). According to, “This line shifted from Auburn -2.5 to Auburn -6 within 20 minutes of [Taulia Tagovailoa’s opt-out] hitting the wire.”

Thankfully for Maryland, this loss officially won’t count by SEC rules of “It just means less [if we say it does].”


Whose transfer portal losses and opt-outs are worst for their bowl game?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    (102 votes)
  • 25%
    (52 votes)
  • 21%
    Ohio State
    (44 votes)
  • 2%
    Someone else
    (6 votes)
204 votes total Vote Now