How Many Games Should the Spring Football Schedule Even Have?

We haven’t focused enough on how much of a double-edged sword having a spring season really is, and determining the season’s length will be tricky for the MAC.

At the end of last week, I caught up with Eastern Michigan’s head coach Chris Creighton. He was still finishing up a busy week, still just days after the Mid-American Conference’s decision (by the school presidents) to not have a normal fall football schedule, and work towards setting things up in the spring. While the decision has been broadcasted to move things in favor of everybody’s health and safety with COVID-19 still disrupting normal American behavior, health and safety regardless of COVID-19 in the spring ought to slide up on the scale of mainstream football discussions.

People in football, much like at EMU, are definitely talking about it, but how much attention has this common-sense approach to a spring season have by the fans? While the hopeful answer is to have a safe football season in the spring, the question I’ve had in my head since April is: how many games should these players even play in the spring, assuming that there’s a standard 12-game schedule to still look forward to this time next year?

Here’s a quick excerpt from my conversation with Creighton:

Y11: What makes it so hard to move things so hard from the fall to the spring?

Creighton: We’re not going to play football outside in January and February, are we? So now in that window, if we start playing in March, how many games are we going to play, 12? So that takes you into May. Then mid-May for a conference championship? And bowl games are when? And we’re coming back to camp (in June or July)? Now, I tear my ACL on March 1, so now I miss the spring year of eligibility, and now I miss the fall? So I’ve just lost two years of eligibility because of an injury? That’s pretty tough to swallow.

Now, if you say we’re going to play eight games just to reduce it and fit it in, how many guys want to even play two-thirds of a season and have it count? Very few, very few. If COVID-19 is still with us and we have an eight-game slate and the week before the first game, we have somebody who has symptoms and they contact trace and quarantine — now your season, whether you test positive or not, under the current guidelines you’re missing two of those eight games.

Creighton went on to talk about how spring seasons also complicate scholarship counts moving forward, and that there’s a financial side to all of this that he doesn’t really have a say on but is looking forward to having Spring Ball played in the fall (which is unofficial, but that’s at least the expectation).

While moving the season was still the right move to ultimately make, we might soon find out how much of a double-edged sword holding onto a spring season really is going to be.

I’ll have more for you from this interview over at my newsletter.

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