You've got to hand it to Dabo Swinney. On Wednesday, the Clemson coach told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Michael Carvell that he would like to see the NCAA permit a spring scrimmage against another team.
The basics of Swinney's plan:
Teams have the option of a normal spring game or one against an opponent.
The opponent must be out of conference but within driving distance.
The coaches must agree on scrimmage rules beforehand.
Win. Win. And win.
More money for athletic departments. More exposure for both schools. More for coaches to learn about their teams, not having to monitor both sides of the ball and measuring them up against another team of equal stature.
Here's more from his interview with the newspaper:
"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."
Injury is obviously a risk, as it is every time a players steps onto the field. But it's not like players aren't going hard in practice when starting positions are up for grabs.
The newspaper surveyed a number of college coaches on the idea, including North Carolina's Larry Fedora, Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson and Virginia's Mike London, each of whom appears open to the idea.
Some of these matchups seem natural — Clemson vs. Georgia, Georgia Tech vs. Auburn, Miami vs. Florida, North Carolina vs. South Carolina, Maryland vs. West Virginia, Boston College vs. a number of Big East schools, to name a few. Colleague Edward Aschoff of the SEC blog offers up a few not-so-convenient options, though they'd be every bit as entertaining — namely, Alabama-Florida State and Tennessee-Virginia Tech.
I know I'd be more entertained by this than by teammates hitting each other and switching sides for three hours. Interested to hear your takes.