Take a look around college football and you’ll notice that it’s not just the coaches jumping from program to program; the quarterbacks are as well.

And why shouldn’t they? Only one QB plays at a time, and it’s natural to look for a better opportunity to showcase your skills. Especially in today’s era where parents spend insane amounts of time and money taking their kids to private QB training and showcases, I wouldn’t fault any player for looking elsewhere.

There have been no shortage of QBs to enter the portal since the season ended, and I would expect B1G teams to be extremely active. Even if they aren’t in the running for some of the top guys, such as Spencer Rattler (left Oklahoma; recently announced he’s headed to South Carolina) or Dillon Gabriel (left Central Florida, reportedly for UCLA), it makes a ton of sense to build depth.

Looking around the Big Ten, how many teams feel great about their QB situation? I would say 6 (Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Maryland and Purdue), and 5 of those are in the East. After ruling out Illinois since it already added Syracuse transfer Tommy DeVito, that means half the conference could conceivably be looking to attract a transfer QB.

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At this point, there’s really no reason not to, even if you kinda-sorta like a guy you have coming back. Michigan and Michigan State were good case studies on this. Both added a transfer last offseason, and neither ended up needing to use him because players they recruited who showed promise late in the 2020 season (Cade McNamara and Payton Thorne) ended up winning the job and thriving. But just in case they didn’t, both teams had some good depth from experienced starters as a safety net.

This sounds somewhat similar to the situations that Iowa and Nebraska face. Alex Padilla and Logan Smothers are at the very least intriguing, but who knows how either will fare over the course of a full season. Both teams really need better QB play next season with an already-solid roster in place. That means having as many options in place as possible.

Ironically enough given their win-loss records and track records over the last few years, Nebraska is the far more attractive landing spot for a transfer. Mark Whipple, the Huskers’ offensive coordinator, ran one of the most QB-friendly offenses at Pitt this season, and surely transfers will dream of putting up Kenny Pickett-esque numbers. Nebraska is reportedly smitten with former LSU QB Myles Brennan. Iowa, with one of the B1G’s worst offenses and the head coach’s son at offensive coordinator, may have a more challenging time wooing a quality transfer QB, but it needs to try. Spencer Petras has had 2 seasons as the starter, and we know what he can do.

The West is in a unique spot, just begging to be won next year. Purdue could potentially wind up as the preseason favorite, given that Aidan O’Connell is returning. Everyone else has major questions at QB, including Minnesota, which will be getting Tanner Morgan back for another year. Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska all had terrific defenses in 2021 with inconsistent QB play. Insert some stability to the most important position in sports and you might have something; look what happened with Purdue once O’Connell emerged.

Either way, though, it’s extremely important to build depth. Sometimes, B1G schools come off as a little old-fashioned. It’s an academics-focused group that prides itself on its AAU accreditation. But if players are going to leave — and there have been plenty of QBs in the transfer portal already, like Michael Penix Jr. (Indiana), Adrian Martinez (Nebraska), Jack Plummer (Purdue), Quinn Ewers (Ohio State), Jack Miller (Ohio State) and Ta’Quan Roberson (Penn State) — then these teams need to be sure to replenish their stock.

Last year, Penn State failed to do this. Two of its QBs transferred in the offseason, and when Sean Clifford got hurt, the Nittany Lions didn’t have a serviceable backup.

There are no excuses anymore for teams and QBs. Even if they have trouble recruiting one out of high school, there are plenty of quality players out there looking for opportunities, especially when they can step into a situation where everything else is already strong, like with many of the West programs. Peyton Ramsey leading Northwestern to a West title in 2020 is a perfect example.

How these West schools handle the QB market over the next month could play a big role in which program is in Indy next year for the Big Ten Championship Game.