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Beyond the Fort: The mad, mad world of Big 12 QBs and more

This offseason isn’t so boring after all, is it?

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NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Congrats friends — you’ve now survived 10 days without college football, and whew, the news-cycle seemingly hasn’t let off the gas one bit with significant player movement and everyone’s new favorite term that is at the center of it all: The Transfer Portal.

On that note, we won’t waste any more time in getting to the heart of the matter. Let’s get caught up on the latest news from around the nation in the wonderful world of college athletics.

Exit Kyler Murray, enter Jalen Hurts

Was it actually inevitable all along? Maybe so. But Lincoln Riley has landed yet another transfer quarterback at Oklahoma, and this one is the most coveted one yet as former Alabama starter Jalen Hurts announced in a piece with the Players’ Tribune on Wednesday that he is headed to Norman to play for the Sooners as graduate transfer in 2019.

Obviously this is not the news that the rest of the Big 12 wanted to hear, perhaps having even a greater sting for TCU fans knowing that Hurts is a Texas-native and that the Horned Frogs were also aggressively in the market for a graduate-transfer quarterback. Now, it’s up to the rest of the league once again to stop the Sooners from what would be a Big 12 5-peat after Riley has (at least seemingly) successfully reloaded for yet another year. That’s not to mention the hire of former Ohio State assistant Alex Grinch as the team’s new defensive coordinator — a move that will likely result in at least some improvement to a defense that was statistically one of the worst in all of college football last fall.

Alas, Oklahoma’s new starting quarterback — barring an incredible offseason from Tanner Mordecai or Spencer Rattler — is 26-2 as a starter with two College Football Playoff semifinal wins under his belt. And with Riley having already produced a pair of Heisman winners — both transfer quarterbacks themselves — in his first two years as head coach, who knows? Is Hurts going to make it three-for-three.

You (almost) got blocked

*Rolls eyes* — Okay, so everything turned out okay in the end. But some useless drama surfaced across the Big 12 on Wednesday as not one but two quarterbacks came close to having an in-conference transfer blocked by their respective school. Per ESPN’s Jake Trotter, Oklahoma initially intended to block back-up quarterback Austin Kendall from a potential transfer to West Virginia — citing competitive reasons — before ultimately releasing him to transfer anywhere without any restrictions for eligibility in 2019, though not without plenty of social media backlash. A similar report developed regarding Alex Delton’s decision to transfer from Kansas State to TCU, as CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported that the Wildcats had entered “slow down” mode before his release was ultimately granted hours later.

Needless to say, blocking quarterbacks from transferring to certain schools isn’t exactly the best look in the world from a PR standpoint. Sure, Kendall has attended just about every practice for Oklahoma over the past three years, and Riley isn’t wrong to fear that West Virginia — or any other Big 12 school — would benefit to some extent from Kendall’s knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes in Norman.

Now, was OU just waiting for confirmation on Hurts before letting Kendall loose? Possibly the case. But considering coaches are free to bounce around just about wherever they wish, is it really fair to hold college athletes to an entirely different standard? You be the judge.

Take a journey into the transfer portal

Do you want to become the latest entry into the transfer portal? Okay, well you can’t actually enter your name into the most mysterious realm that exists in all of sports. But you can take a behind the scenes tour in this piece from the Athletic’s Bruce Feldman. A subscription is required to read, but hey, it’s hard to get this insight anywhere else.

Trouble on the hardwood for Oklahoma State

If you thought TCU basketball had it tough amid the onslaught of transfers — Jaylen Fisher being the latest — think again.

For starters, there’s West Virginia, who is 0-5 in Big 12 play for the first time in program history and suffered one of its worst defeats in program history on Tuesday the hands of the Horned Frogs. Oh, and then there is Oklahoma State, who announced on Wednesday that a trio of players — sophomore Michael Weathers, and redshirt freshmen Maurice Calloo and Kentrevious Jones — had been dismissed from the program due to a violation of team rules. Per the Tulsa World, the dismissals are believed to be linked to an investigation of a Jan. 1 vandalism to two vehicles in Stillwater.

So what does this mean for the Cowboys? To sum it all up, Oklahoma State has just nine players on the men’s basketball roster — eight scholarship players. And for a team already trending towards the bottom of a stacked Big 12 Conference, it’s the last thing that head coach Mike Boynton wanted to see — not only in regards to the players’ careers but also for the team’s chances of being competitive after narrowly missing the NCAA Tournament last March. TCU will face Oklahoma State for the first of two regular season meetings in Fort Worth on Feb. 6.