After all the spring practices are in the books. As the long 3 month stretch of nothing but conference and NCAA rules debates, police blotters, recruiting and mindless predictions as the only news in college football stare us in the face, the ACC tosses us one last nugget. A conference call with the coaches to talk about spring practices.
You can listen to the nearly 2 1/2 hours of coaches talking vaguely about spring practices here. Coach Paul Chryst is on at roughly 2 hours into it.
Coach Chryst was asked about Tom Savage’s rise in the draft boards.
“You never know what to expect so if you said you’re surprised or not surprised you’d be wrong,” Chryst said. “He certainly has a lot of the talents and physical attributes. The biggest thing Tom hasn’t done is just play a lot of football.”
Savage transferred twice before ending up at Pitt, which Chryst said limited his visibility to NFL teams. Once they got a chance to look at the tape, they apparently liked what they saw.
“I think a lot of the buzz that comes before he wasn’t as much a part of because he hadn’t played for two years,” Chryst said. “I think what he did in the season, the combine, individual workouts, it’s been great to see. Hopefully everyone is right and his stock is rising.”
In Chryst’s seven-year tenure as Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator, the Badgers had 27 players drafted into the NFL. In two years as Pitt’s coach, he has yet to have a player taken. That will change this year, with Savage, defensive tackle Aaron Donald and wide receiver Devin Street each likely to hear their names called.
“I think for the program, it’s good,” Chryst said. “But most important you’re happy for those individuals. That’s what really makes it special.”
Or, dare we say, “neat.”
There were questions for all the coaches about general topics. The issue of unions for college football players was mentioned. Right now that whole issue is limited to just private colleges. And the vote by Northwestern players really doesn’t matter. It is not going to be known while Northwestern appeals the ruling to the full NLRB. All it does, along with the O’Bannon court case is put pressure on the NCAA and the member institutions to decide when they are done playing chicken with all of this and actually come up with a real plan.
The ACC-specific topic of discussion is whether the conference should stay at 8 games or go to 9.
David Cutliffe of Duke claims that the coaches want to stay at 8 games. Though he was later contradicted by Miami’s Al Golden and VT’s Frank Beamer. The ACC had previously planned to go to 9 games, but backed off because of the ND deal and pressure from Clemson, FSU and GT. Those three schools have annual rivalry games with their in-state SEC foe and did not want to be down to only 2 non-con games they could control.
With the move to a college football playoff and emphasis on strength of schedule, the issue is being revisited. Couple that with the fact that the Big 10 is going to 9 games. And the SEC is likely to as well after this year, that would leave only the ACC with an 8-game schedule.
The reality is that it will happen at some point. The ACC is planning its own network, and 9 games becomes more important from an inventory standpoint. Even with the rotating ND games for all the schools.
Even if Pitt gets to put the PSU game back on as an annual thing. Or sets it up to rotate with WVU down the road, I still favor the ACC going to 9 games. It makes the schedule more appealing and provides more games against all the teams in the conference slightly more frequently.