MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With the calendar flipping to December on Thursday, one of the most important months in college football is about to begin.

December marks the start of the offseason for many teams across the country, including West Virginia, which did not qualify for a bowl game after a 5-7 season. Programs are now tasked with navigating key upcoming dates, including the opening of the transfer portal window, and the early signing period’s National Signing Day.

With many fans having questions about how it will all work, Gold and Blue Nation is here to provide some answers. Below is a breakdown of important dates to keep in mind as college football’s offseason gets underway, and decisions are made.

Transfer Portal Window

Q: What is the transfer portal window?

A: The transfer portal window is an established window of time on the calendar when student-athletes can officially enter the transfer portal. It was established earlier this year as a way of assisting both players and coaches in knowing who is in the portal. According to the NCAA, “College athletes in all sports will continue to be immediately eligible the first time they transfer, provided they notify their schools in writing during designated notification-of-transfer windows.”

Q: When does the transfer portal open?

A: The transfer portal window officially opens to student-athletes on Monday, December 5.

Q: Haven’t some players already said they’re transferring?

A: Many college football players across the country have indeed announced their intent to transfer out of their current program. However, due to the establishment of the transfer portal window, those athletes are not technically in the portal yet. No college football player’s name will officially be entered into the portal’s database until Dec. 5.

Q: How long will the transfer portal window stay open?

A: The transfer portal window is open for a total of 60 days during the 2022-2023 academic year. It opens in two parts – a 45-day window, and then a 15-day window. The initial 45-day window opens on Dec. 5 and then closes on January 19, 2023. The portal will then reopen from May 1-15, after the conclusion of the spring workout calendar.

Q: What happens once the transfer portal windows open and close?

A: When the portal window opens on December 5, college football players will have 45 days to put their names into the transfer portal. They can only do so during the initial 45-day window, or the 15-day window in the spring. An athlete can announce their intent to transfer at any time, though they cannot officially be entered into the portal outside of those dates.

Q: Does a player have to pick a new school during the windows?

A: No. A college football player who correctly enters the portal during the established windows can choose his next destination outside of the window. This allows time for proper decision-making in the process on both sides, the player and the program. For instance, a player that enters the portal on Dec. 5 can make his decision as far into 2023 as he pleases, provided that his next program has a space available for him.

Early National Signing Day

Q: When does the early signing period begin?

A: Division I college football’s early signing period begins on Dec. 21. It then closes two days later on Dec. 23.

Q: When is the early National Singing Day?

A: College football’s first National Signing Day of this recruiting cycle is set for December 21. That falls just over two weeks after the opening of the transfer portal window.

Q: What does West Virginia’s recruiting class look like?

A: As of this publication, WVU’s recruiting class is in good shape. West Virginia is currently rated in the top 30 in the country, according to 247Sports (No. 29) and Rivals (No. 27).

Q: Who is West Virginia’s top recruit expected to be?

A: Rodney Gallagher is the highest-rated recruit who has already announced his commitment to WVU. Gallagher is a gifted wide receiver from Laurel Highlands High School in Pennsylvania who grew up attending WVU games, and recently faced Morgantown High School in boys’ basketball.

Q: How can I keep track of the signings on Signing Day?

A: Gold and Blue Nation, of course. The GBN crew will provide comprehensive coverage of West Virginia’s latest recruiting class on TV, the web, and the free Gold and Blue Nation app.

College Football Playoff Expansion

Q: Is the College Football Playoff format expanding?

A: Yes. On Dec. 1, the College Football Playoff announced plans to move to a 12-team model during the 2024-25 season.

Q: Wait, a 12-team College Football Playoff?

A: Yes. When the CFP expands, the field will triple in size from four to 12 teams. NCAA.com gave details on what the expanded CFP field would look like earlier this year.