It's the time of year when you start looking ahead, projecting how your team will look and thinking up wild, outlandish scenarios where players bolt for clearer paths to playing time.

Yes, the transfer portal has changed everything in college football, especially at quarterback.

Rather than sit and marinate for a couple of years, youngsters who lose the battle to be QB1 have roaming eyes. After all, what's to keep their current team from restocking through the portal and recruiting over them again next year?

With plenty of high-profile quarterback battles set to be waged in spring practice, it's worth keeping an eye on some guys who could make other teams extremely happy by picking up and following those roaming eyes to new destinations.

Is it a wacky exercise to project players who haven't lost a job yet leaving for other places? Sure. Is it even more far-fetched to predict where those guys will go? Absolutely. But the offseason is for fun possibilities, so sit back and envision these scenarios might make a lot of sense for all parties involved.

 

Luke Altmyer to the TCU Horned Frogs

With Jaxson Dart's move to Ole Miss, it would be a stunner if the USC transfer isn't Lane Kiffin's quarterback of the future. He was one of the two most gifted first-year signal-callers in the nation, along with Caleb Williams, in 2021.

So, where does that leave Luke Altmyer?

The answer may be looking for a new team. It would make a lot of sense for him to head back to his Starkville, Mississippi, home to play for Mississippi State coach Mike Leach, but Will Rogers is entrenched there. So, perhaps if Altmyer is a clear No. 2 this spring, he'll look elsewhere.

The sophomore could hang around and compete, knowing the depth chart is thin and he is one play away from the job. If not, he could have a clearer path to battle for a starting spot with Sonny Dykes' new-look TCU Horned Frogs.

The Frogs return starter Max Duggan, but he is a more athletic, run-first guy who might not fit Dykes' pass-heavy offense. Chandler Morris is an Oklahoma transfer whose father, Chad, used to coach SMU (Dykes' last stop), so he's worth watching in the open battle.

But Altmyer's youth, strong arm and exciting ceiling would make him an intriguing piece of the puzzle with the Frogs and could be a similar coup for Dykes the way Texas transfer Shane Buechele was when Dykes was coaching the Mustangs. 

You also have to think it would benefit Altmyer to be elsewhere now to go through spring with a team if he expects to be a starter in 2022 other than with the Rebs.

 

Sean Clifford to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish

With the way the Penn State Nittany Lions have faltered in the past couple of seasons, it might be best to use 2022 to build toward a potential juggernaut.

The Lions have the No. 6 class in the nation, but bringing in so many youngsters might not be the best win-now strategy. So, with Sean Clifford deciding to pass up the NFL and return to PSU for his final season, the question is: Does the long-time starter fit in this year's plan if the team rebuilds?

Just look at the potential standouts behind him on the depth chart. Incoming freshman Drew Allar is a 5-star prospect, and 3-star Beau Pribula has a lot of upside too. Then there's redshirt freshman Christian Veilleux, who is already on campus and has a quality developmental skill set.

If head coach James Franklin goes with a younger option, Clifford will need to pivot. The best place for him to look would be Notre Dame. The Irish are ready to win and have a ton of pieces in place for first-year coach Marcus Freeman.

While they have to like Tyler Buchner's upside, it's worth questioning if the sophomore QB is ready. Clifford could provide another year of security while Buchner develops, and he could be the same type of fortifying force Jack Coan was in 2021, if not more so.