FARGO — ESPN "College GameDay" analyst David Pollack this week threw out the idea that the Division I Football Championship Subdivision should consider playing in the spring every year.
Pollack pointed to exposure and television deals as two main reasons.
"How about the FCS be spring football from now on?," Pollack said on the network. "Not many of those guys are we worried about going to the NFL. ... That would be an idea I think would be awesome."
Pollack's viewpoint had its share of critics on social media, including North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, perhaps the top NFL prospect in the FCS. He made it known what he thought of Pollack's proposal. Not so awesome.
"It's a no from us," Lance tweeted. "And yes, A LOT of us do have league dreams."
The spring is the time of the year when the NFL evaluates the talent pool in college football in person, whether it be the NFL Combine or pro days. Pollack's reference appears to be a shot that the FCS does not produce many prospects.
Last year, according to the NCAA, 157 players from 76 FCS schools were on NFL opening-day rosters. That included 11 of the 13 players from the FCS who were drafted. The Baltimore Ravens had nine FCS players including former Bison linebacker Chris Board.
It’s a no from us.. and yes, A LOT of us do have league dreams. https://t.co/jR2lK27fGV— Trey Lance (@treylance09) July 23, 2020
Lance has been the subject of a lot of NFL talk after his breakout freshman season last year, where he won both the Walter Payton Award that goes to the best offensive player in the FCS and the Jerry Rice Award that goes to the top freshman. NFL analysts have already projected him to be a high first round pick.
Pollack was part of the "College GameDay" crew when the show came to Fargo in 2013 and 2014 and again last year in Brookings, S.D., when the Bison played at South Dakota State.
"Why don't you pay attention to the FCS as much because you have all the big boys playing," Pollack said. "From now on, FCS-level spring football so you get TV deals and sponsorship deals and they thrive more, have more eyeballs and more fun for us because we get to see more football in the spring."
Pollack's idea is most likely the result of a few FCS leagues looking at playing in the spring. The Ivy League canceled football this fall and said it is looking at the possibility of playing in the spring. The Southwestern Athletic Conference has gotten more specific about a spring season saying it plans on an eight-week training period starting in January followed by a seven-game conference schedule.
One of the FCS' power leagues, the Colonial Athletic Association, said it will explore the possibility of a spring conference schedule at a later date. But at the same time, two schools, James Madison and Elon, said they're both going to play this fall as independents. Villanova is also considering playing this fall.
The Patriot League and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference both said they will make a decision later if they will play in the spring. Presidents of the Big Sky Conference are meeting next week about coronavirus-related issues, but there is no indication the league is going to sway from the current path of fall football.
The Missouri Valley Football Conference has said all members schools are on track to play this fall.
Jim Nagy, the executive director of the Reese's Senior Bowl, agreed with Lance. The Senior Bowl is considered one of the premier postseason college football all-star games and is played in January in Mobile, Ala.
The Senior Bowl features some of the top NFL Draft prospects who have completed their college eligibility. Former Bison quarterback Carson Wentz played in the 2016 Senior Bowl and went on to get drafted later that year No. 2 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Nagy wrote this on his Twitter account: "Respectfully disagree with anyone floating the idea of making FCS football a permanent spring sport. Completely nonsensical. There were 157 FCS players on opening day NFL rosters last year. That’s not a small number."
Others questioned Pollack's knowledge of the FCS in general. Brian McLaughlin from Hero Sports, which covers the FCS, interviewed Pollack when "GameDay" was at the Villanova vs. James Madison game in 2017.
"David .... really didn't know much about the FCS," McLaughlin tweeted.
Respectfully disagree with anyone floating the idea of making FCS football a permanent spring sport. Completely nonsensical. There were 157 FCS players on opening day NFL rosters last year. That’s not a small number.
Respectfully disagree with anyone floating the idea of making FCS football a permanent spring sport. Completely nonsensical. There were 157 FCS players on opening day NFL rosters last year. That’s not a small number.— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) July 23, 2020