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Hugh Freeze had an idea, and Zach Arnett is on board. Although the latter is in agreement with the former, Arnett presented a thought that might create some issues for group of five programs.
Freeze, in his first year as head coach at Auburn, is frustrated with the current system of college football spring games. He doesn’t understand why schools play open scrimmages against each other when they are limited to a specific number of practices during the spring period. In his eyes, it’s a waste of a day.
In addition, the numbers show that more injuries occur during practice and intra-squad scrimmages than during games. Why run the risk?
To replace the current system, Freeze proposed that schools like Auburn or Alabama should play another program within the state, like Troy or UAB.
Trent Dilfer is in favor of the idea and was chomping at the bit.
Jon Sumrall is also on board with Freeze’s proposal and provided an additional layer to the discussion.
Arnett, in his first year as Mississippi State’s head coach, also thinks that Freeze’s idea is a good one. He likes the idea of the Bulldogs playing another in-state program in lieu of a traditional spring game.
Hugh Freeze’s idea could cause problems.
While in agreement with Freeze, Arnett also indirectly heeded warning about a change of such nature and noted that some coaches might “see it as a free evaluation of other people’s rosters so that they maybe could then target in the transfer portal.” He chose not to name names.
This is an interesting caveat to the conversation.
College football’s transfer portal is set to open on April 15. If a player is going to transfer in time to be with a new program next season, he must enter the portal before April 30.
Every single Power Five program will have played its spring game by end-of-day on April 29. Only Rutgers, Oregon and Maryland will not have played their spring games by end-of-day on April 22.
Arnett is onto something. If Freeze’s proposal, which most people largely agree is a great idea, comes to fruition, it could hurt the G5 programs that are playing P5 programs.
Let’s use Auburn as the example.
Say the Tigers host South Alabama on The Plains for their “spring game.” Say the Jaguars’ running back goes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Nobody can tackle him.
What would stop Auburn from poaching the aforementioned ball-carrier when the transfer portal opens a few weeks later? Tampering rules, sure. But has that stopped anyone in the past? No.