After the first weekend of HBCU football, where Southern went into the Montgomery and escaped with a win against Alabama State, Delaware State held on to win against Howard after setting football back 50 years in the first three quarters, and Tennessee State nearly completed the comeback after being down 20 points versus Austin Peay, I started to ask myself the question if HBCU football — and maybe FCS football in general — are better suited for the spring. I even put the perception out on Twitter, my favorite litmus test for most wonders I have for John Q. Public.
After putting it out there that spring football might not be that bad, and maybe we should consider it a permanent thing, many people said this is fun, but football is for the fall.
Others agreed for various reasons that the pigskin was created for the times these leaves are turning. A couple of people concurred that this is nice and that maybe dignitaries and those that care about HBCU football at least have the conversation.
But after going through a pandemic where the fall football season was canceled, football exposure and hunger came to a boiling point while the season was MIA. No matter what, the first kickoff of spring football was going to be celebrated.
Then, this past weekend happened! Southern could not overcome an early Arkansas-Pine Bluff lead, Alabama A&M scheduled pick-up game and absolutely destroyed South Carolina State, Jackson State went into Eddie Robinson Stadium and on a late goal-line stand beat Grambling, and Prairie View held on against Texas Southern with a late interception at home to win the Labor Day Classic. Saturday was phenomenal.
You had people buzzing on social media about their multiple T.V./computer setups to try to catch everything. I cannot remember a Saturday other than a classic-filled weekend or a rivalry week where the anticipation was so high, and the payoff was just that much better. Immediately after, that question came up again, is this spring thing sustainable?
Prayerfully, we are rounding the corner of the pandemic where everyone is anticipating getting back to “normal.” Still, the question must be asked if FCS. programs, especially HBCU football programs, could benefit more from playing in the spring than the fall.
I get the cons of it; football is to be played in the fall, “money games” against FBS opponents are essential for budgets, and players that are NFL prospects may not be prepared for the draft. I truly get all the reasons for not doing it, but for a sport that could use the publicity for these programs, thus creating more exposure, a spring season puts HBCU football within sports conversations in the mainstream.
So, while I know some may completely laugh at the idea while others have a lightbulb pop above their heads, we can always agree to disagree, but at least I made you think.