Utah’s Kyle Whittingham said this week the recent upheaval in college football brought about by NIL changes and loosening restrictions around transfers have given him a “huge distaste” for the game and for the direction the sport is headed.

Towards the end of his Monday press conference, Whittingham was asked how well he knows USC coach Lincoln Riley. The two teams meet this weekend in Salt Lake City — a clash between old-school and new-age in more than a few ways.

Whittingham said they’ve crossed paths on the recruiting trail a few times when Riley was coaching at Oklahoma, and they’ve obviously sat in meetings together since Riley has joined the Pac-12, but “no real time spent” together to form much of a relationship.

“Obviously doing a great job at USC,” he said before diving into a conversation about Riley’s use of the transfer portal to flip USC’s roster.

“Obviously the transfer portal is being manifest how impactful it can be there and at Oklahoma. Oklahoma had mass departures. USC had mass influx of talent. You see what’s happening,” Whittingham continued. “Teams are going to be able to make major improvement or go the other way more so than ever before because of the amount of turnover on your roster. There’s far more turnover on your roster now than there ever has been in the modern era of college football.”

USC is unbeaten, winners of six straight since Riley took over as the head coach. FOX Sports’ Tim Brando made a quip during the UCLA-Utah broadcast on Saturday that he can’t think of another team beyond Ole Miss that has gotten more from the transfer portal. It had to be just a brain fart.

Riley has transfers leading his team at quarterback, at running back, throughout the receiving corps, at left tackle, at inside linebacker, and at cornerback.

Things have largely gone well.

On the other side of it, Oklahoma has fallen apart. The Sooners lost 49-0 to Texas on Saturday in what was the program’s most lopsided shutout in history. Oklahoma has its first three-game losing streak since 1998.

The biggest issue for OU was at quarterback. Dillon Gabriel, a transfer brought in this offseason, was hurt and unavailable. That left Oklahoma with Davis Beville — another transfer into the program this offseason — and a gameplan that included a number of direct snaps to the tailback and tight end.

A year ago OU had two 5-star quarterbacks on the roster. A year before that it had Chandler Morris (who started in TCU’s opener this season) and Tanner Mordecai (a starter now at SMU). The portal has turned what was a significant strength of OU’s team into its most glaring weakness.

Entering the year, everyone could plainly see OU was an injury to Gabriel away from disaster. Disaster struck this past weekend at the Cotton Bowl.

“Pay them a bunch of money,” Whittingham said tongue-in-cheek when asked how programs go about retaining players now. “Do you have money we can use to pay them? That’s kind of what it comes down to, that’s what it’s coming to. I’m not accusing anyone of illegal improprieties or anything like that because it’s above board now with NIL, but as I said before, there’s going to come a time in the very, very near future where the Top 25 NIL pots of money are going to mirror exactly the Top 25 teams in the country.

“That’s just how it is. That’s where it’s headed. There’s no debate about it, unless they change the rules. But I don’t know how (the NCAA is) going to backpedal now with the can of worms that they’ve opened.”

And for many, that makes for a less attractive product, a sport that doesn’t quite resemble the thing it was 20, 30 years ago that caused all of this — the massive influx of cash — to be possible.

“It’s more than hard (to embrace the change),” Whittingham said. “It gives you a huge distaste for the game and for how it’s run and for the direction it’s going. Is that harsh enough?”