5:17 PM EDT, April 22, 2012
You can call it a scrimmage.
You can call it a jamboree.
You can even call it a practice, but just don't call it a game.
Maybe it's just me, but after seeing my fair share of spring contests over the past few weeks, I can truthfully say that I am all in favor of allowing programs to face each other in actual spring games.
Dabo Swinney had it right when he suggested that schools like Clemson should be allowed to face off against other schools in a jamboree-style meeting. He even suggested that there should be an option to play a traditional spring game or an out-of-conference opponent that is within driving distance.
The idea has garnered a lot of traction. So much that the American Football Coaches Association will discuss it during its annual meeting next month.
"Based upon the buzz about this within the profession the last couple of months, I'm sure we'll be talking about this when we meet," AFCA president and Harvard coach Tim Murphy told The Associated Press last week. "I think the NFL model would be a good way to do it, going through drills with another team. If you wanted to hold a scrimmage, you could do it, but it would just be more complex."
Sure, it would be more complex, but somehow other Division I sports like basketball, soccer and field hockey manage to pull it off. Meanwhile, the NCAA frowns upon schools from doing the same with football.
"I would definitely be for it," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said during the Big Ten's teleconference.
Fans would love it and most of all, it would provide something that school's desperately love: money.
With schools charging anywhere from $5 to $15 to attend a spring game, imagine what you could charge if you were facing USC or Ohio State?
For coaches who have limited numbers of players available to them during the spring, the idea of playing another team would be an attractive alternative.
"I think it's getting harder and harder in the spring to field two teams to play each other," USF coach Skip Holtz said following his team's spring game on Saturday. "It would be great if it was like a preseason game."
There are, of course, drawbacks to the idea.
Injuries would always be a concern as no coach wants to see a player go down with a major injury. However, a player can get hurt during team drills as well.
Rules would have to be established beforehand to limit contact to players such as quarterbacks and kicker. My guess is, kickoffs would be off the table as well.
Then there is the sportsmanship angle.
No matter how toned-down the scrimmage or game would be, it would still be competitive although who wins and who loses should not be a priority.
"As long as it didn't turn into a scheme thing where everyone is putting the emphasis on who wins or who loses, then I think it would be a great idea," Holtz added.
ON THE MENU
Another busy weekend of spring games. Here are some highlights:
Arkansas: A record crowd of 45,250 showed up to watch as Tyler Wilson threw for 467 yards and two touchdowns and three wide receivers had more than 100 yards as the Red team defeated the White team, 65-0. It was the first game without head coach Bobby Petrino, who was fired earlier in the month.
Notre Dame: Linebacker Kendall Moore and cornerback Lo Wood led the Notre Dame defense to a 42-31 win over the offense on Saturday. Earning points for stops and turnovers, Moore had eight tackles while Wood added seven. Quarterback Everett Golson led the offense with 120 yards and two touchdowns and George Atkinson III had 124 yards rushing.
Ohio State: Braxton Miller threw for 258 yards and Rod Smith had 47-yards rushing, including the game-winning touchdown, as the Scarlet team defeated the Gray team 20-14. There were 81,112 fans on hand to watch Urban Meyer's spring-game debut.
Oklahoma State: Charlie Moore caught nine passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns as the Gray team defeated the Orange 31-21 during the team's annual spring game. Quarterbacks Clint Chelf, Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh continue to impress as the team looks to replace Brandon Weeden this fall.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions defense forced five interceptions and had eight sacks as the Blue defensive squad defeated the White offensive squad 77-65 in front of 60,000 fans at Beaver Stadium. It was the debut of head coach Bill O'Brien.
Tennessee: Marlin Lane rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns as the Orange team defeated the White 17-14 in front of 34,421 fans at Neyland Stadium. Tyler Bray was 14-of-26 for 157 yards and a touchdown for the White squad.
Paterno family declines honor: The family of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno reportedly turned down an offer by the school to rename the football stadium in honor of the legendary coach. According to Sara Ganim of The Patriot-News, a source close to the Paterno family said the idea of renaming Beaver Stadium was never an option they were interested in pursuing and the idea "was never important'' to the coach, who passed away in January.
Early risers: Notre Dame and Navy kick off their 2012-13 season in Dublin, Ireland at the 51,700-seated Aviva Stadium. CBS announced that it will kick off its 2012-13 college-football television coverage by broadcasting the Sept. 1 contest. The game kicks off at 2 p.m. Dublin time, which is 9 a.m. for viewers on the East Coast. Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson will call the game with Tracy Wolfson on the sidelines.
We rank 'em: We continue our annual preseason College Football Countdown, where we rank all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the country. Go to OrlandoSentinel.com/collegegridiron365 daily to find out where your team ranks.
On the Web: For more college football news, go to our blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/collegegridiron365 and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/collegegridiron365. Follow us on Twitter at @osmattmurschel and @gridiron365.
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