Because of conference realignment, college football is going to lose a lot of rivalries. Texas-Texas A&M, Kansas-Missouri, and of course, Pitt-West Virginia. It's possible that we won't see the Backyard Brawl played in the regular season for years.
Dabo Swinney, head football coach at Clemson, has an idea that could fix that: Have the NCAA allow spring scrimmages against another team. They do something similar for basketball, so why not let the football teams play one pre-season scrimmage to have a game-like scenario to practice with? Schools could generate revenue by having such a game in place of a spring game and it would allow rivals to play games that they may have difficulty scheduling out-of-conference.
That may seem like a great idea, but I'm not liking it.
The biggest issue is that players could get injured. Yes, players get injured all the time, regardless of whether they're playing a game or in practice. But in a scenario like this, where Pitt could play West Virginia, players are likely going to go 'all out', when it's supposed to be a scrimmage of sorts. The Backyard Brawl is a heated rivalry and a lot of the current players on both sides have a strong dislike towards the opposing school. A game that may start out under Pro Bowl-esqe conditions might soon elevate to a real, live game.
Personally, from a fan's perspective, it would be one giant tease by the University. Here, let's dangle the prospect of a Backyard Brawl, but only as a scrimmage. Buzz Killington, anyone? I just don't think it would work out well. Sure, it would be nice to see Pitt lineup against West Virginia or Penn State, but if they're not going all out, then I don't know how much I would enjoy it. And if they are playing at full speed, a season could be lost with a key injury before it even starts.
What do you think? Would you want Pitt to be able to play against West Virginia or Penn State in a spring scrimmage if it meant risking injury or seeing a watered down brand of football?