Clemson's Dabo Swinney was the first coach to go public with the idea of spring scrimmages against other schools. Brady Hoke has been vocally on board with the plan. Other coaches have jumped on the cause as well.
In reading a recent report from the AP, it is clear the idea is not dying on the vine, as it has in the past. While not every college football coach is on board (Bob Stoops and Nick Saban have been outspoken against this), there is plenty of support and intrigue from those within the profession.
Duke's David Cutcliffe, one of the most well-respected coaches in the profession, hits on the major roadblock to forcing this measure through—the NCAA:
That's an old idea, that's a good idea, but that's very difficult to get the NCAA to move in those regards. Your best chance is if you can prove you can make some money, because then you have a chance for the presidents and the ADs to vote in favor of it.
With the rise of popularity in college football, specifically spring game events, now is the time when the game has the money to make this happen.
The sporting calendar, from a television standpoint, is fairly barren after the NCAA tournament. On the college sports side, baseball, softball and lacrosse are great, but they aren't drawing the droves of fans to the television screen that college football does on a consistent basis.
Giving fans a taste of action, more than simply an intrasquad scrimmage, would make for some appointment viewing in the college athletics world.
For the coaches like Stoops and Saban who don't like the plan, there is an easy solution—you don't have to schedule a scrimmage. Continue to proceed with spring in the same fashion that you have and leave the exhibitions to people who want to see how their teams respond against someone other than their own friends.
Hoke has taken things a step further from the Dabo Swinney plan. He and Ron English, the coach of Eastern Michigan, are on the same page in thinking of using one another to see how their teams handle situations against an opponent. The two coaches see the benefit in mixing things up against a team that's not their own. From English:
Spring ball gets long for coaches and players, so this rule change would add a little spice and a sense of urgency to get things done.
The movement is gaining steam, as the American Football Coaches Association plans to discuss this measure in their upcoming meeting later in May. This discussion is a start down the path, and here at Your Best 11, we'll keep you updated on how this interesting movement develops.
Ultimately, it seems to be a good plan for coaches to work with another staff in maximizing their spring production in getting ready for the fall season.