College football coaches’ least favorite time of the year is upon us — transfer time!

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It’s back! The transfer portal is here to pilfer players and give head coaches everywhere migraines. Quarterbacks are looking for upgrades or second and third chances. DJ Uiagalelei and Cam Ward furthered Oregon State and Washington State’s misery as neither QB opted to explore the unknown of life without a conference. Riley Leonard is leaving Duke, and could become the second talented ACC quarterback to lead Notre Dame.

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There are talented skill players available. Clemson’s Beaux Collins has the size and skill of a first-rounder, and there will be plenty of suitors looking to replicate what Florida State did with Keon Coleman. South Carolina’s Juice Wells also announced his desire to leave the Palmetto State, and everyone knows how much potential Gamecock receivers possess.

The turnover is staggering to be sure, and there’s definitely a better way to time this so a majority of these 43 bowl games aren’t glorified practices. However, it’s a lot more entertaining than signing day, and like Marvel Studios’ current overarching plotline, don’t try to follow it. The multiverse doesn’t make sense; characters you thought were dead or gone can come back, and hopefully whoever is doing the rewrites is more creative than the previous dolt.

Eventually, the portal won’t be this tumultuous though. COVID gave players all kinds of eligibility, so as they filter out, and student-athletes can no longer earn a doctorate over the course of college football career, the pool — and opportunities for quick fixes — will shrink.

Whether it’s enough to prove the likes of Dabo Swinney and Matt Rhule right, I don’t know. Probably not. The point of transferring is mostly about making it to the NFL, but it’s also about opportunity. Be it playing time, another chance at collegiate success, or just a change of scenery, players are eagerly taking advantage of the portal.

There are also plenty of transfers that don’t pan out. Look at Sam Hartman in South Bend. He wanted to play in a pro-style offense, which in layman’s terms, is for predictable, dropback garbage, featuring little to no creativity. The “I told you so’s” work both ways, and I’m sure there were plenty of Wake Forest fans who didn’t recognize the quarterback who led so many thrilling offenses in Winston-Salem but was stuck in neutral at Notre Dame.

If you’re anti-portal, then you should be pro revenue sharing because the moment athletes start getting compensated by the universities directly is the same moment that guys start signing contracts. That’s the only way you’re going to get loyalty. If all they’re owed is a degree, then don’t be surprised if they view who it comes from as interchangeable.

It’s hard to even try to advise programs on an approach to the portal. The landscape of the sport is in constant upheaval, and any coach who says he has a five-year plan is a moron. The plan should be redefined every six months, or whenever the next portal opens up. 

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