Some fans of the sport may say that one of the best things about college football is that there is no preseason, that teams practice all summer and are thrown into the fire with an immediate start to the regular season. However, if you were to ask Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Tommy Tuberville, college football should definitely have exhibition games.
Speaking to Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Tuberville explained his reasoning.
“We should have,” the University of Cincinnati head coach said, after a Bearcats practice at their Higher Ground camp here. “There’s no reason that we should not have probably a spring game that’s an exhibition game, and at least a scrimmage against another team, to kind of tell where you’re at. I think it would really enhance what we do.”
“It hasn’t been pushed hard enough,” Tuberville said. “Basketball is so far ahead of football in terms of working things out. The NCAA and the rules committee, they’ve way bypassed us. We’re kind of three or four years behind. Now we can work with our players in the summer, meet with them, anyway. (Basketball has) been doing that for a couple years. I guess they do a better job with their union than we do.”
It’s hard to argue Tuberville’s reasoning, as practically half of college basketball season is teams playing games against non-conference opponents, with the important games not coming until the latter half of the season. But, at the same time, basketball is nowhere near as physically grueling a sport as football and doesn’t have nearly has much physical contact between players. With a greater risk of injury, it’s easy to see why the NCAA higher-ups would be hesitant to give college football exhibition games, even if it is just a scrimmage between two teams in the spring.
Of course, Tuberville acknowledged that to Groeschen.
“I think they’re scared of injuries,” Tuberville said. “It’s basically an uneducated decision. We don’t educate them enough. We would be able to be much better protected, in terms of injuries, if we played against somebody else. If we went the speed of the game with somebody else, just for a few plays other than all of a sudden we just throw them out there and you know, ‘Here we go.’
“There’s a reason the NFL does it. Of course, a little bit of theirs is money. But you could charge. You could charge for a scrimmage. For instance, we could do home and home every year, maybe in the springtime go to Indiana and the next year in the fall they come here, you know, do a scrimmage. The cost would even out.”
“There’s really no reason not to do it,” Tuberville said. “It’s not pushed hard enough. There hasn’t been a plan for it. Hopefully in the next 10 years we can get a plan. We’re worried about all this injury stuff which, you know, we all are worried about it. But let’s make a plan. Let’s educate them. … People are going to go full speed against them instead of just out here when you know you’re only going half speed, and all of a sudden you throw them out there in a full-speed situation.
“I’d like to see the study on injuries early in the season, as opposed to late, because of it.”
Though Tuberville’s points are valid, it’s highly unlikely that college football will have such exhibition games in the near future, if ever at all. The sport has been played and scheduled a certain way for decades, and there is little reason to believe that Tuberville’s ramble will suddenly bring about change.
In the meantime, he’ll just have to continue to get his team ready for their season opener at Paul Brown Stadium against the SWAC’s Alabama A&M Bulldogs on September 5.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports