Power Ranking each ACC team’s performance in the transfer portal

FanSided college football writer Josh Yourish ranks the ACC's performance in the portal based on additions and departures this offseason.
Dec 2, 2023; Charlotte, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell
Dec 2, 2023; Charlotte, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 17

More than any other conference, the ACC has been defined by the transfer portal over the past few seasons. Clemson had a chokehold on the rest of the conference for nearly a decade, but Dabo Swinney refused to embrace the new way of things in college football. Meanwhile, Mike Norvell and Florida State built a national championship contender almost entirely on transfers. 

The dichotomy between those who embrace change and those who reject it is fully encapsulated by this football conference. The demise of Clemson is obvious and isn’t stopping. 

The shifting balance of power is tied directly to the portal, so it can be instructive to analyze which teams are exploiting this new fruitful avenue for acquiring talent. Norvell at FSU and Jeff Brohm at Louisville have ridden the portal to the top of the ACC, so who will be next to breakthrough in the 17-team conference?

With the additions of SMU, Stanford, and Cal, the conference is no longer limited to the Atlantic coast. The college football landscape is in flux and the coaches who learn to survive in this new environment will end up on top. 

. Incoming: 0. Outgoing: 10. 432. . Clemson. 17. . .

Dabo Swinney is convinced that he can win the same way he did in 2018 and if he just ignores the transfer portal then maybe it will go away. Swinney didn’t take a single transfer this season after a 9-4 record. Clemson is clearly in decline and the coaching staff is doing nothing to stop it. 

Swinney couldn’t even keep his team together. If you aren’t going to add in the portal, it’s a necessity to keep players like Beaux Collins and Andrew Mukuba, but Clemson saw both walk out the door this offseason. 

Over the past five years, Clemson has taken just two transfers, both backup quarterbacks. If the options truly are, adapt or die, the Tigers have chosen the latter.