The spring transfer portal window is open. How much should you care?

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College football is a year-round sport. Anyone and everyone gets up for the games in the fall, but the diehards never sleep.

Next season begins before the current season even ends when the transfer portal opens on Dec. 4. The future of the program crystallizes on December 20th's Early Signing Day. There's another signing day in early February. March is for spring football. And now that your team's roster is cemented, here's a second transfer portal window open until April 30 threatening to rearrange it.

College coaches are revealing how the new calendar has made their jobs more difficult, but what about the fans? When are they supposed to recharge their emotional batteries? Surely they can tap out now. Nothing of consequence will happen in these next 15 days, right? Wake me up in August.

As a fan, you must pick and choose the battles for your attention span. Don't waste your 100 percent focus in April when your squad need it in November. But you cannot ignore this period either. Here's how to manage the spring transfer portal window.


Power Four fans – "We can fix him"

Here's a story of two Michigan State players that entered the transfer portal in the spring last season. Wide receiver Keon Coleman decided to test the waters after posting 798 yards and seven touchdowns. He ended up at Florida State with Heisman contender Jordan Travis and was a First Team All-ACC performer who'll now go to the NFL. Quarterback Payton Thorne left after two starting seasons for Auburn. He split time with Robby Ashford as Auburn skidded to 6–7. 

Moral of the story: If a player leaves a Power Four team for another Power Four team this late in the process, it's normally because he had a path to diminished playing time or wasn't a culture fit, possibly with a new staff. A move to the Group of Five might lead to better results based on talent alone. A move within the power conferences means something has to change, and it's up to your school to fix him. Perk your ears if a hometown player, or someone who was once committed to your program in high school, enters the portal. 

By and large, the spring transfer window is meant for adding Group of Five standouts as quality depth pieces. There's just not enough time until the season opener for them to entrench themselves in a starting role. The best example from last cycle is Bralyn Lux at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders had two starters at cornerback, but Malik Dunlap had sports hernia surgery in late April and all backups were underclassmen. Lux came over from Fresno State and went on to start eight games over the season. A more common occurrence is someone like Minnesota defensive tackle Trill Carter going to Texas and finishing with nine tackles as a reserve.

My advice to Power Four fans, take some time to relax. The worst has likely passed you by. If a player leaves your team, it's most likely best for both parties. Your coach, with the exception of Keon Coleman and Payton Thorne, likely isn't hunting for starters this late in the process. As for some teams to watch: Texas Tech could scan for a reserve offensive linemen or two, while TCU might seek a third running back. Baylor had two defensive tackles medically retire, so they could be a player in the interior defensive line market.


Group of Five fans – No News is Good News

Here's a "Game of Thrones" analogy for the Group of Five fans. You are a commoner in Winterfell. Your favorite team's staff is the Night's Watch defending the Wall from White Walkers of the Power Four poaching your players. They are on defense, and no news means all is well.

The fire alarm can either be a drill or a flame. Last cycle, North Texas saw their second-leading receiver, Jyaire Shorter, and second-leading tackler, Larry Nixon III, transfer in April to Auburn. North Texas still had the American Athletic Conference's second-best passing offense without Shorter. It had the nation's worst rushing defense without Nixon III. UTSA lost two-time leading receiver Zakhari Franklin to Ole Miss and still managed a 9–4 record. But the offense scored five points less per game than it did in each of the past two years. 

The second portal window is a much more stressful time for Group of Five fans than Power Four fans because your team is reactive rather than proactive. But that doesn't mean there isn't opportunity. There is more future-starter potential in the portal for the G5, especially if it's a former P4 player. Texas State added quarterback TJ Finley in the spring window last year, and he won the starting quarterback job before leading the Bobcats to their first ever bowl victory. SMU got wide receiver Jordan Hudson from TCU. 

But, like the P4 teams, the G5 programs aren't banking on starters. Sam Houston seems open to getting another offensive linemen or two in the portal, as well as a reserve running back or interior defensive linemen. North Texas should look to the portal for some defensive tackle help. 

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