College football stinks, but the transfer portal is cool

The college football season ended Monday night. I sat down in my overstuffed brown recliner with a tumbler full of iced tea and a bag of Doritos.

I was asleep by kickoff.

I wanted to root for the Texas Christian Horned Frogs.

My late friend and mentor Steve Buttry graduated from there.

The late Mick Ferrari, a former Drake University president and good friend, served as TCU president.

I woke up to learn that the university of my dead friends was murdered by Georgia.

I missed nothing.

That’s generally how I feel about college football.

College football holds less appeal for me than when I was a boy.

Hayden Fry, Chuck Long, and Ronnie Harmon loomed over the state like folk heroes.

Going to the Rose Bowl, the grandaddy of them all, meant something.

For the Iowa Hawkeyes, it meant a brutal beating by a Pac-10 team.

At least there were a nice parade before the game.

I preferred the bowl system. It made New Year’s Day special. All the nation’s good teams played the nation’s nearly good teams.

Somebody upset a top-ranked team in a morning bowl and sudden this evening bowl had national championship implications.

Now we have playoffs, which everybody likes but me.

I’m told it’s more exciting.

I think it’s just more fun for gamblers and gambling companies, whose interests should always be catered, of course.

The one thing I really like about college football is the transfer portal.

I like the name — transfer portal. It feels like a mashup of a bank statement and a 1960s sci-fi movie.

I can almost hear the movie trailer voice guy saying, “Thrill to the adventures of the cosmic accountant who ventures between bank reconciliations to save the multiverse.”

Portal itself is an interesting word. It means “grand, imposing entrance.”

Think the Parthenon or Sistine Chapel.

The college football players fill out some paperwork and pack up their dorm.

There is some chatter on the sports networks.

Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” discussed a quarterback who leapt into the transfer portal to play a sixth year.

The guy will be 25 years old next season.

This reminds me of Droz, the slacker lead character in the underrated 1994 comedy “PCU.”

Droz’s character description is “multi-year senior.”

Those of us who aren’t good at football, which is almost everyone, also have transfer portals.

When I was mad at an editor early in my career, I threatened to quit.

The editor said, “Iowa is an at-will employment state. We’re all free agents.”

And as journalism taught me many times, sometimes you choose free agency and sometimes free agency is thrust upon you.

If I had access to a transfer portal now, I don’t know where I would go.

I teach middle school now. I spent a lot of money and time remaking my life and gaining skills so I could do this job.

I’m not keen on changing careers or locations.

I mean I used a strong double-stick tape to put up the decorations in my classroom.

The only portal I would use one that involved time travel.

I’d go back and play a few games of checkers with my late father.

Maybe I would whisper in my teenage self’s ear to stick with behavioral therapy and lay off the carbs.

Or maybe I would just go back to a random New Year’s Day when the pop flowed freely from glass bottles, the peanuts were lightly salted, and the bowl games mattered.

Middle school teacher Daniel P. Finney is a Marion County Express columnist.

Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.

1 Comment

  1. Ng says:

    I like it most when you and Paul talk about your personal lives and work lives the best. That’s when I get the most insight into your lives and can relate the most. That’s what makes me read your columns and listen to the podcast. This was a very good one.


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