Really, it’s a coaches vs. fans kind of debate, isn’t it? (We know where ESPN stands.)
But even the coaches know a spring game brings its own kind of juice.
“The cons [to not having a spring game] are for the fans and a certain piece of recruiting, because my first two spring games here, it’s been electric,” Stoops said. “We’ve had great crowds, very energetic and it was a nice way to break the end of spring ball and gear up for the fall and just to get out and spend some time with the fans, plus the recruiting piece.”
Sumlin’s second spring practice at Texas A&M, which included famed quarterback Johnny Manziel coming off a Heisman Trophy, drew an estimated 45,000 fans to Kyle Field.
“We had 45,000 people and ESPN; the exposure is a big deal,” Sumlin said. “I think our guys, from an energy standpoint, enjoy the spring game.”
So why not take the next step and go with what coaches like Swinney, O’Leary and Freeze have suggested: go live.
“I would love to see us be able to scrimmage another team,” he said. “That way you can go ones on ones, twos on twos, threes on threes — really get something out of it. Maybe even adopt a charity. Maybe it’s [an FCS] opponent that you don’t play in the regular season. I think there would be a lot of interest in something like that. I wish we could do something like that.”
I know it sounds radical. But I can’t help but wonder… Ohio State had almost 100,000 folks at its spring game, and charged them $5 apiece for the privilege. What could schools like Georgia and Clemson collect from football-starved fans to show up for a game between the two on a nice April day?