Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is one of college football’s biggest advocates for the NCAA permitting a spring scrimmage against another team.
We’ve always endorsed the idea for three reasons: It would further enhance the enormous popularity of college football, it would give players and fans something to look forward to during the middle of the offseason, and most importantly it would generate much-needed revenue for college athletic departments struggling in the tough economy. Or proceeds could be donated to charity.
Would you be tempted to attend one of those scrimmages if they were held this spring? We think a lot of people would. The NCAA already allows scrimmages and pre-season exhibitions in other sports, including basketball and soccer.
“I don’t know if it will ever happen but it’s fun to think about,” Swinney told the AJC.
It’s an idea that has been kicked around before. Here are the basics of Dabo’s proposal: College football teams have the option of a spring game against themselves or another team. If you play another team, it must be both an out-of-conference team but also one within a reasonable driving distance. The coaches will agree upon the rules of the scrimmage in advance.
“Personally, I think it would be a good thing for college football to do,” Swinney said. “College football takes in a lot of money. I think it would be an opportunity to give something back to your school or a charity.
“The other side of it is this: We’re already doing it in basketball. Our basketball teams play other teams but it’s closed, so nobody knows about it. For example, Clemson plays Georgia in basketball every year. But it’s a closed scrimmage. You know, nobody can be in there except the two teams. If they didn’t want to do any type of public thing, I wouldn’t have a problem with having a closed football scrimmage where nobody could be there but the staffs of both teams.”
We’re going to have to interrupt Dabo there. We’d like an open scrimmage in front of the general public and …. for the best of spring matchups – national TV. Why? $$$
“The good thing about doing something like this is that in the spring time, you don’t have your whole team there. Like last spring, for example, we were missing 31 guys for spring ball. So we were very, very thin. This year, we have more bodies on hand. But still, every time you practice against each other in a scrimmage, you’re 100-percent invested with your personnel, as opposed to if you go and scrimmage somebody else. You’re scrimmaging their defense, while your defense is on the sidelines. When your offense is out there, your defense is on the sidelines. You’re not 100-percent vested with what’s going on. I just think there’s something good with that.
“Plus I think a scrimmage would be a great way to further teach our guys and prepare them for the season … to be able to implement your schemes against another opponent, and it could be against anybody. Obviously, I don’t think you should do it against a team in your conference. But anybody else … maybe the NCAA could put stipulations like it’s got to be a team within a 100 or 200 miles or something like that. Most everybody could find somebody to scrimmage against.
“I think it would be fun. I think the players would enjoy it. I think the fans would enjoy it. But that’s just one guy’s opinion.”
Clemson has its annual spring game vs. Clemson on April 14, and expects a crowd of more than 30,000 fans. What if that scrimmage was against the SEC East champions located only 75 miles away? “If it was Georgia, we’d certainly fill it up,” Swinney said. “It would be like that for Clemson and a Georgia, or whomever it may be, in a scrimmage situation. It would probably be like that at many other spring scrimmages between teams in the Southeast region.”
What are the negatives? We can’t think of many. Some may say injuries. But this is college football, not rec football. If you ever go to a spring game (remember to drink a lot of caffeine to keep yourself awake), you will notice that teammates go just as hard against each other as they do against opponents during the regular season. They’re battling for jobs, and every practice snap is an audition for somebody.
We asked some other coaches what they thought about the idea:
What would have to happen next for spring scrimmages to become a reality? “Any NCAA member school or conference can propose a rule change or update,” according to NCAA spokesperson Christopher Radford, who also provided us with a long list of bylaws that prevent it from happening right now.
Now it’s YOUR turn. What do you think? Good idea? Bad idea? Why? What would be your dream matchup? Please post below.
JUST IN …
MARCH MADNESS, WHAT’S THAT? RECRUITING MADNESS!
WHILE YOUR BRACKETS GOT MESSED UP …
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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