College Football 2012: Dabo Swinney's Spring Exhibition Plan Has Legs

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterMarch 28, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04:  Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers watches his players warm up against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Way back in 2010 a young Clemson Tigers head football coach by the name of William Christopher Swinney had a dream. That boy's dream was to have colleges play scrimmages against other schools, much in the same way the NFL and college basketball allowed their teams to stage exhibition contests.

Well, in 2012, it seems Dabo Swinney has not given up on that dream, in fact he's got a plan that has legs to it.

In 2010, expansion was still on the horizon, and the massive money grab that college football was going to become was still uncertain. Now, in 2012, we all can see the game for what it is, a massive game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos with money as the little white marbles.

College football is squarely positioned as America's No. 2 sport; people cannot get enough of the game and any chance they get to watch it on television is a plus for networks, schools and advertisers. 

Enter Dabo's plan for spring games. Originally the thought was about schools being able to make a little cash through ticket sales, fill up a stadium and get to see where a team stood against an opponent who was not themselves.

Now, we can add a little cash to the equation. Networks are already trying to get spring scrimmages on the airwaves because football nuts and teams' respective fans will most certainly tune in. The next level of this move would be two draw in, not just two fanbases, but college football fans in general.

The sports calendar, with the exception of the Masters and the prime time affair of the Final Four, is somewhat thin. The NBA playoffs are still a ways away. The Kentucky Derby isn't until May. There's a lot of space that networks are positioning sports most average fans don't make appointments to watch in the way they do college football.

If an ambitious network gets behind Swinney's plan, works with the conference commissioners and coaches to support the move, then brings the legislation to the NCAA we could be watching a little football in April.

Obviously there are steps to take and it must be understood that these would be controlled scrimmages, not the all-out slugfests that we see on Saturdays. Swinney clearly gets the need to play opponents with proximity in mind for both fanbases and the need for a controlled environment.

All your scrimmages are controlled and this would be no different. Coaches running ones versus ones. Trying new looks. Working players in. Learning if a new quarterback can understand time management. Experimenting with substitution patterns and players roles in the game.

It is a novel idea and one, if it garners the backing a thirsty television marketer, that could push itself into the being at least considered. For the people who scream about injuries, they happen. They happen when you're scrimmaging yourself. They happen at thud tempo during the Wednesday practice. They happen in the weight room.

The risk of injury is not removed because the USC offensive ones and taking on the USC defensive ones. We'll see what happens as this time it seems more people are actually weighing in on the ACC Champion coach's plan.