A handful of college football teams would say they underachieved in the 2018 season. Whatever the reasons were, the teams looked to finish strong in 2018 if they have bowl games, or start strong in 2019 if their seasons are finished. Teams like USC or Florida State, both of whom were ranked in the Top 20 in the preseason polls, went 5-7, and will not participate in the bowl season. Three Top-10 teams finished with 7-5 records, which were Miami (FL), Wisconsin, and Auburn. Miami and Wisconsin faced off in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on December 27, with Wisconsin prevailing 35-3, and Auburn trounced Purdue in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl on December 28 by a score of 63-14.
In College Football, there aren't trades like you see in the NFL, but what if they happened? Here are 10 of them that would be interesting for the 2019 season, especially for teams in win-now mode.
1. Alabama trades QB Jalen Hurts to Wisconsin for QB Alex Hornibrook
Why this makes sense: Hornibrook is left-handed, and so is Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa. Both Hurts and Hornibrook have been under-appreciated while at their current universities, and Wisconsin just brought in the number two pocket-passer quarterback recruit in Graham Mertz, so it's possible too that Hornibrook's days are numbered in Madison. The same has been rumored about Jalen Hurts transferring out of Alabama, although nothing has been finalized. Hurts and Mertz are both right-handed, and Paul Chryst, Wisconsin's head coach, has typically worked with right-handed quarterbacks.
2. Georgia trades QB Justin Fields to Ohio State for WR Binjimen Victor
Why this makes sense: Georgia receiver Riley Ridley is going to the NFL draft, and Victor is similarly built to Ridley. Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins has received a first-round NFL draft grade from the advisory board, so it's also likely Haskins declares for the draft. Victor going to Georgia would help Jake Fromm with regard to a sure-handed receiver to throw to, and Justin Fields would fill the quarterback void even though Tate Martell is already there in Columbus.
UPDATE: Fields has already transferred to Ohio State. However, if it were possible, Victor would be able to run many different route concepts and be a difficult match-up for opposing defenses. Also, Georgia receiver Mecole Hardman has also declared for the NFL draft.
3. Michigan trades QB Joe Milton to Texas Christian University for RB Darius Anderson
Why this makes sense: Michigan's roster is loaded with regard to the quarterback position, and when Dylan McCaffrey is healthy, he can do everything that Milton can do. TCU lost Shawn Robinson to transfer and needs a quarterback to fill the void, and Milton is the perfect dual-threat to run the offense. Michigan loses Karan Higdon to the NFL since Higdon will not play in the Peach Bowl, and Darius Anderson has the speed to take it to the house when he has the ball in his hands, as evidenced by this 93-yard touchdown run against Ohio State.
4. Miami (FL) trades RB Travis Homer to Washington for WR Aaron Fuller
Why this makes sense: Washington will lose Myles Gaskin to the NFL since Gaskin is a senior, and former Miami WR Jeff Thomas already decided to transfer to Illinois. Fuller would fill a void at receiver left by Thomas and Homer would replace Gaskin at running back. Trey Adams will come back for another year at Washington after being injured most of 2018 on the offensive line.
5. Texas trades QB Shane Buechele to Penn State for RB Ricky Slade
Why this makes sense: Penn State will lose Trace McSorley to graduation, leaving a void at QB even though Tommy Stevens is already there. Buechele has the ability to make plays with his arm or feet similarly to McSorley, and Texas' top rusher, Tre Watson, is a senior and will graduate also. Ricky Slade would fill the void left by Watson, and Slade is a bigger running back that can be physical for the Texas running game.
6. Ohio State trades QB Tate Martell to UCLA for RB Martell Irby
Why this makes sense: With Justin Fields headed to Ohio State, it's possible that he is there since he'll be the guy at quarterback, which leaves Tate Martell on the back-burner regarding the QB position at Ohio State. Wilton Speight just graduated from UCLA so Martell upgrades the position on the UCLA Roster. Martell Irby is a powerful running back that would help replace Mike Weber, who just entered the 2019 NFL draft. Irby and J.K. Dobbins would be a 1-2 punch at running back that has made Ohio State nearly unstoppable on offense.
7. Notre Dame trades QB Brandon Wimbush to Clemson for RB Tavien Feaster
Why this makes sense: Even though Wimbush is already going to transfer, Wimbush has not yet picked the school he will transfer to, so he is technically still on Notre Dame's roster. At Clemson, Wimbush would back up Trevor Lawrence, who is a young yet talented quarterback, and Wimbush has playing experience, so he's more than capable to come into the game if Lawrence were to get hurt. Notre Dame loses Dexter Williams to graduation, and Feaster, assuming he comes back to school for his final year of eligibility, would be the featured running back, where Feaster brings both burst and speed to the Irish offense, which played better with Ian Book under center.
8. University of Southern California trades WR Tyler Vaughns to Ohio State for S Jordan Fuller
Why this makes sense: Ohio State is losing both K.J. Hill and Parris Campbell to the NFL, so they need to fill that void at the receiver position. Tyler Vaughns played against Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl (see 2:31, 2:57, and 3:29) so the Buckeyes' staff has already seen his ability, and Vaughns can fit in rather seamlessly since he is a deep threat as a receiver. USC's leading safety Marvell Tell III is graduating so there is a void at the safety position that Jordan Fuller can fill since Tell and Fuller are both 6'2".
9. Alabama trades RB Josh Jacobs to Miami (FL) for DL Jonathan Garvin
Why this makes sense: Miami's defensive line is loaded with talent and new head coach Manny Diaz is already very familiar with the defense, so he knows what works and what doesn't. In this hypothetical, Travis Homer is no longer on the roster, so Josh Jacobs would be his replacement, and Alabama already has Najee Harris on the roster, where Harris would be the workhorse since Damien Harris will graduate. Alabama's Quinnen Williams is likely on his way to the NFL after the national championship game, so Garvin would fill a void on Alabama's defensive line.
10. Michigan trades WR Donovan Peoples-Jones to Washington for LB Ben Hines
Why this makes sense: In this hypothetical, Aaron Fuller is no longer on Washington's roster, and since he was the leading receiver, Washington would need someone who can be both a possession receiver and a deep threat. Donovan Peoples-Jones is both. For Michigan, they lose Devin Bush to the NFL draft, and Hines is built similarly, where both of them are under 6'0" but have speed to compensate.
Of course, none of these are going to happen under current NCAA rules, but if these trades took place, both sides would be able to benefit from the exchange and have better rosters since all of the players involved want to play and want to win. The rosters are designed to be improved from these trades, and would also impact the futures of the players for the better since they can prove that they are as advertised from high school and even their previous college.