McCaffrey and Fournette not playing in their teams’ respective bowl games got you down? No worries, mon, the pundit class is riding to the rescue.
Andy Staples is all oh, hells, yeah! about this.
This is simple and brilliant. In fact, it is so simple and brilliant that it’s difficult to imagine the schools—who traditionally like to create as much red tape as possible—passing an NCAA rule that would allow redshirting players to play in their team’s bowl game without losing a year of eligibility. But it would be excellent.
Imagine Ohio State putting in a package for freshman quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who instead will spend the run-up to the Fiesta Bowl mimicking Clemson’s Deshaun Watson on the scout team. Imagine Alabama beefing up its linebacker depth following the injury to Shaun Dion Hamilton with Ben Davis, who probably would have played this year if not for a preseason ankle injury.
This would be even more helpful to teams farther down the bowl pecking order. Because of the stakes, coaches in the playoff aren’t as likely to toss in redshirting players who have yet to appear in a game. But for coaches outside the playoff, where bowl practice is basically a head start on spring practice, the concept could be a godsend.
Um… Alabama doesn’t have enough of an advantage in the playoffs with the roster Saban’s already got? He needs more help?
This rule tweak has little downside, and it’s difficult to imagine who would oppose it. Coaches would love it because their rosters are depleted by injury at this point in the season. Fresh bodies would help their teams. Redshirting players would love it because redshirt years can feel like interminable slogs. They’d be more attentive in meetings and at practice down the stretch in October and November if they knew their good habits could result in playing time in late December or early January. Fans would love it because they’d get a sneak peek at the future. Even if their team had a disappointing season and wound up in a lackluster bowl, they’d be much more interested in the bowl game if they thought there was a possibility of seeing a new star rise.
Amazing that in one breath we can complain about some players ditching their teammates after putting in a long season of work together and then in the next get all excited about the possibility of allowing coaches to bench some of those very same players we’re (supposedly) concerned about to give others who haven’t taken a snap in anger all year the opportunity to strut their stuff. Instant gratification is the flavor of the day.
This is why we don’t deserve nice things any more.