Along with spring fever comes unbound optimism for college football fans. With notions of conference supremacy, dominance over your most hated rival and exceeding preseason expectations, allows fans to imagine the best possible version of the program. The culmination of spring practices comes in the form of the spring game that centers around the final practice before summer’s arrival.
As much as the spring game serves a preview of what’s to come, the scrimmage moonlights as a social event for alumni, season ticket holders and those curious as to the current state of the program. Or at least for those who can make the trip to Orlando to watch the Canes in 2019.
In most circumstances, streams or live broadcasts of the spring game serve as an alternative for fans who are unable to attend the spring game. Unfortunately, that has not been the case for Miami recently. Over the last few years, Miami has been one of the few football programs in the country not to have a live broadcast of the game.
This isn’t the case for everyone, however. There are those of you who would be content just to see a highlight reel of the game, which is more suitable to the approach that sport is consumed these days. And it’s an anomaly to this scribe why the University of Miami doesn’t have a spring game that a large portion of the fanbase can tune into come Saturday, April 20th.
This past Tuesday Canes Football confirmed the news that we all have been dreading. There will be no live broadcast or stream of the 2019 spring game.
There was a lot of effort trying to make a stream available but the logistics were difficult to overcome. Knowing fans who can’t make it want to see what’s happening, we’re going to make an effort to push as much valuable content out during and after. 560WQAM will have the call— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) April 9, 2019
A healthy number of fans will make the trip to Orlando, to observe the groundwork that is ‘The New Miami’. Head coach Manny Diaz has players and fans salivating at what’s possible this season. The 2019 spring game provides intriguing storylines for fans to discuss and digest. Some of the headlines entering the game include: the play at quarterback, competition along both the defensive and offensive line, and the final season for Miami’s star linebacking trio.
Even though there are benefits to UM not airing the spring game, there’s also opportunities that the school misses out on. The most obvious is all the exposure. Even though major networks are fighting to win back cord-cutters, there are still many Americans — and internationals — that stream or watch live. Each team in the SEC will have their spring game broadcast on a network of some sort. Reigning national champions, Clemson, had their orange-and-white game live on ESPN2.
Of course, recruiting is the lifeblood for any major program. With a proper platform, this organized scrimmage is another form of advertising aimed at impressionable prospects. Fans see spring football as an opportunity to sneak a preview of what’s to come in the fall. Broadcasting or streaming the game allows Miami fans to see the first version of the 2019 Hurricanes. As upsetting as seeing a Hurricane QB throw a pick on national television, in this rare instance it would be celebrated with a Turnover Chain. Programs across the country have used spring games to host recruits, simultaneously promoting the school and football program. The Hurricanes are in the unique situation of holding the spring game at a neutral site, but the intention remains the same: Impress local targets to strengthen or create a bond moving forward.
Are we making a fuss over a glorified practice? Maybe. This Miami roster will look significantly different come training camp. The offense is still trying to grasp offensive coordinator Dan Enos’ system and while you can win a job in April, you might not hold a starting spot in August. But seeing is believing. All that matters are wins when the games have weight. Yet something should be said for seeing progress firsthand as opposed to word-of-mouth.
We all can take solace in knowing that this is likely the final year that the Hurricanes will have a dilemma such as this. On August 22 — two days before the Hurricanes take on the Florida Gators — the ACC will launch its own network to compete with the likes of the Big Ten and SEC Networks. Under the ESPN umbrella, the Atlantic Coast Conference will serve as the new hub for the 15 members of the conference. Although we’re doing a healthy projection, the 2020 UM spring game broadcast should not be as complicated as the 2019 edition has turned out.
At the end of the day, the spring game is a souped up practice that is meant to reinvigorate fans before a summer hiatus from the sport. I, like many of you, don’t mind pausing clips here and there to analyze how well the offensive line is protecting the QB on any given play. I don’t mind hearing from the beat reporters who pass on their observations from practice and post-practice quotes. However, there’s something to be said for being able to form your own opinion through observation.
In an era where the evolution of “The New Miami” has grabbed the attention of the fanbase, some fans just want a glimpse into the future.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!