Most of you probably know that I don’t dabble in Big 12 basketball. HCS’ own Matthew Postins is our hoops expert here at Heartland College Sports. And yes, while it is still technically basketball season, there was something else that caught my eye recently. Don’t get me wrong, everyone loves those feel good Cinderella stories during March Madness but with hoops officially behind us, what does the future hold for college football?
On a recent teleconference, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that “It’s too soon to begin planning,” when it comes to the possibility of pushing back the 2020 football season. He then went down a road for the worst as the possibility of playing a shortened season came to mind but until we get to that point, I would rather not try to fill our heads with something that isn’t a for sure thing just yet. Sure, it could happen but it is still a ways away before those decisions need to be made.
When this all started a couple weeks ago, the Big 12 pushed back all spring sports until at least the end of March. And obviously now we know that sports aren’t going to come back right now. So when the question was asked about spring football, commissioner Bowlsby said, “I think it’s very unlikely that we’re going to have any spring games and I don’t think, except for those that have already had some days of spring practice, I don’t believe we’ll have any additional days of spring practice.”
This means you can kiss spring football and spring games goodbye. And in the bigger picture, this means no football news at least until we start getting into fall camp in August and who knows what could be going on during that time. Obviously, this hurts player development and new coaches such as coordinators and in Baylor’s case, a new head coach in Dave Aranda. But this also hurts the fans who look forward to their daily news updates and in most cases, a spring game to attend.
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Every school handles their spring football differently. Schools like Iowa State don’t even have a spring game and Kansas State did a “Spring Showcase” last year. But for schools like Texas and Oklahoma, they brought in musical acts such as country music singer Lee Brice and rapper Ludacris.
Don’t get me wrong, as much as I love singing “Move bi@#% get out the way” (which is a Ludacris song for those who don’t know), as I am speeding my way through heavy traffic, this whole idea of cancelling spring games may not necessarily be all that bad. In fact, I put some thought into how we could elevate these spring games to new heights.
As a “media” member, (I say that loosely because by no means am I a true professional), I have been covering spring games for the last few years. I have noticed a bit of a trend. Spring games don’t mean nearly as much as they did ten or even five years ago. Each year, we see less and less, and like I mentioned earlier, some schools have gone away from them completely.
So, what should the plan be? Well first off, spring practices should still be kept in place but instead of a boring, plain spring game where it is basically a glorified team scrimmage, how about we start seeing some schools face off with one another? For instance, what if Oklahoma played Nebraska in Lincoln or in Norman? Or Texas possibly playing Texas A&M in Austin or College Station? You want to talk about fan turnout and television ratings? Those types of games would raise the bar on spring games and the big networks would drool over trying to get that nationally televised.
Also, why not have two spring games? Play one at home and one on the road. I believe that would be fair and would create some interesting matchups. Sure, I am sure most coaches would hate that, but we could still put the “don’t touch me” jerseys on the quarterbacks and keep everything else the same. If coaches decide to keep game plans and play calling vanilla, that’s fine but at least we would see some better action on the field with a higher level of intensity.
Whether you agree with this take or not, there is one thing you couldn’t argue against and that is the money. More fans in the stands and more eyeballs on the television would create a win-win situation for schools. And guess what? You can keep your musical acts if you want to play at halftime. I wouldn’t mind listening to a solid musician drinking a cold one while watching two power five schools battle it out during the month of April with little to no news going in college sports outside of baseball.
But as of right now, this is all a daydream. We surely don’t know what the future holds during these times, but one thing is for certain, if there is one thing you don’t mess with (outside of our own personal lives), it’s college football. And I can’t wait until kickoff comes back around.
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