From why didn't I think of that.com, someone launches a Facebook page last week suggesting the idea that Auburn and Alabama mount some form of pre-season scrimmage to raise money for the victims of the storms of April 27th.Ahh, if it was just that easy. As a matter of fact, maybe Nick Saban or Gene Chizik are wondering why they didn't suggest it first, knowing full well the hurdles involved, but looking like a hero for proposing it nonetheless. Is something like this downright impossible, or might some other form of it actually be able to be pulled off?
Knowing us like I do, if you branded it with the universities' logos, Alabama and Auburn fans would show up to watch teams hurling cow pies at each other. Not surprisingly, most Bama fans would still think that the Auburn team would earn three credit hours for the event and Auburn fans would accuse Saban of grey-shirting most of his calves. But with any idea that makes too much sense, the reasons why you can't do it are intricate indeed.
Last I read, the NCAA still has tight restrictions on pre-season practices and playing time before the fall. That's the prime reason we only have spring football and not spring/summer/fall/winterball, although Nick Saban is currently working on that. The NCAA would have to grant a substantial waiver for teams to merely organize as a squad outside the normal spring schedule. And channeling the aforementioned Saban rules from above, then every team in the country would want the same treatment and I just don't see Indianapolis opening those floodgates.
But if the NCAA somehow did manage to find it in it's heart, the other big obstacle would be getting two teams to actually be able to scrimmage together, much less play a game. I lost my link to the rulebook, and some of you brilliant legal minds correct me if I'm wrong, but teams are not authorized to scrimmage against other teams, even lesser division opponents, even during sanctioned practice sessions. I know the idea has been floated from time to time, especially with top division teams taking on lower tiered teams (which also seems like a great idea) but I've never seen the idea advanced past midfield. So more than likely, this topic would be a big strike two.
If you couldn't organize anything with players currently under the purview of the NCAA, would it be hard to find recent former players who wouldn't mind teeing it up again in a mini Iron Bowl? Now I know what you're thinking--with the on-again, off-again NFL lock-out, why couldn't you get the guys who just got drafted back out there? Ahhh, NYET! No professional athlete could chance an injury in an event like this. As a matter of fact, their contracts specifically forbid taking risks of this magnitude, and the agents of the guys who haven't quite yet signed contracts would never allow it. So the idea of Cam to Julio for six will just have to remain on your future fantasy league team for now. Yep, that's right. Even if you did have recent players who just exhausted their eligibility out there, you'd split them up and have mixed teams. That way the crowd would root for everybody, remember? Roll Eagle. War Tide.
But for the sake of argument, say you did get past the NCAA buzz-kills and some sort of a scrimmage was ok'd for this summer. How would the logistics work for it? Naturally, I think everybody would want the game in Tuscaloosa, and maybe we could get a charity like the Red Cross to dispense tickets and account for the proceeds. But to call it a 'game' might go against the spirit the creator of the Facebook page intended. He specifically called for only winners and no losers, which on it's face goes against everything the fans of both programs believe. But I think they could all rally around for such a great cause.
As a result, we wouldn't see a game or a scrimmage, but would witness an event, an exhibition, a production or perhaps some sort of a performance. Maybe it'd just resemble some big pep rally for both teams. Bring out current and former players. Bring in the latest draft crop of both teams and all the legends from the Plains and the Capstone. Celebrate being the state with the all-time historic best tandem of teams in the nation. Celebrate the last two national championships won by the state and the fact that with recent events just this year with the Toomer's Tree poisonings and the Tuscaloosa tornadoes, that a thawing of sorts in the nation's most intense college football rivalry has brought us together to unite for a common cause for the state. Heck, who wouldn't go for that? (And P.S. please don't check too hard for smuggled booze, BDS folks)
Do you guys have kumbaya playing in your heads now too?
Maybe in the interest of detente', one of you regular Alabama fan readers can put a link to this thread on estranged sister blog Roll Bama Roll and see what kind of response it gets.