Thinking of entering the fan transfer portal? Consider these 5 SEC schools. | Toppmeyer

Blake Toppmeyer

The transfer portal giveth, and the transfer portal taketh away – and not just as it pertains to players, apparently.

Landon Israel, a disgruntled 9-year-old Tennessee Vols fan from from Sevierville, Tennessee, recently entered what he dubbed the fan transfer portal.

Eric Gray, Henry To’o To’o, Jarrett Guarantano, Ty Chandler, Wanya Morris, Quavaris Crouch and many other former Vols decided they didn’t want to stick with Tennessee.

Why let the players have a monopoly on changing allegiances?

Landon joined the exodus.

He considered LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss for his cheering services and settled on Ole Miss after a phone call from Lane Kiffin.

In a handwritten letter to Kiffin, Landon wrote that he was “starstruck” by talking to the coach and that Kiffin’s phone call “sold the deal.”

Personally, I embrace loyalty where possible. Nonetheless, I appreciate Landon’s ingenuity.

Tennessee hasn’t won the SEC East in his lifetime and probably won’t win the division anytime soon. Ole Miss probably won’t win the SEC West in the near future, either, but at least Kiffin is good theater.

Landon’s idea got me thinking: If a fan is questioning his or her allegiance and wanted to enter the fan transfer portal, which SEC teams would be the best options?

Here are five suggestions.


Want to root for a winner? Don’t mind embracing the evil empire? Then your choice is easy.

Hitch your wagon to Nick Saban and don’t look back. Alabama might relinquish a bit of dominance when the 69-year-old Saban retires, but he has shown no sign of slowing down.

There’s never been a better time to be an Alabama fan. Quarterback Bryce Young is a preseason Heisman Trophy favorite. The basketball program is coming off its first Sweet 16 finish since 2004 and should build on that momentum as long as coach Nate Oats stays put.


As the best all-around athletic program in the SEC, Florida offers a good option if you want to celebrate year-round success.

The Gators are a perennial SEC East contender in football, have made four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in basketball and are a powerhouse in the Olympic sports.

Plus, the Swamp is one of college football's cathedrals.

Ole Miss

The stink of Hugh Freeze has lifted off Ole Miss, and you can support the Rebels in good conscience again.

Kiffin will make fans laugh, thanks to his mastery of deadpan delivery and his frequent needling of Saban. And it’s often more attractive to root for someone who has been humbled by past failure, like Kiffin has.

Kiffin’s up-tempo offense and strong-armed quarterback Matt Corral ensure Saturdays aren’t dull.  

Ole Miss’ last SEC Championship in football came in 1963, but the Rebels have experienced some recent diamond sport success, celebrating a softball SEC Tournament title in 2017 and a baseball conference tournament title in 2018.


Comfortable rooting for the bad boy? Go with Auburn, whose men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl refused to cooperate with an internal probe of his program.

Pearl received a three-year show cause penalty in 2011 for lying to the NCAA during its investigation of his conduct while he was Tennessee’s coach.

Saying cheating is rampant in Division I athletics is like saying your car dealer wants to rip you off. Duh.

At least with Pearl, you won’t be surprised if your team comes under investigation.

Supporting Auburn means being part of one of college football’s greatest rivalries. No team has Saban’s number, but Auburn at least enjoys some success against the Tide, winning the Iron Bowl five times since Saban became Alabama's coach in 2007.


If you operate best with a chip on your shoulder, then the Razorbacks might be the team for you. Arkansas doesn’t garner much respect, maybe in part because it’s a bit of a geographic outlier and didn’t begin competing in the SEC until 1992.

But the Razorbacks have an all-around solid athletic department, and the performances of Arkansas' football and men's basketball teams during this athletic year offered reason to think better days are ahead for two programs that had fallen on hard times.

Blake Toppmeyer is an SEC Columnist for the USA TODAY Network. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer. If you enjoy Blake’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.