Are you ready for some (spring) football?
If you're feening for the sport, 15 practices provide you a little bit of a fix during a glorious time of year for sports with things like the NCAA tournament, Major League Baseball and the Masters right around the corner.
With the advent of the one-time transfer rule and the excessive use of the portal, there are plenty more reasons to pay closer attention to spring practice than you used to. No longer is it only about position battles, but there are other focal points.
Early freshman enrollees are more prominent now than ever before, so this is our first chance to see the new additions to our favorite teams. For players who feel like they're on the outside looking in at key roles, the second transfer portal window opens, too.
And, for some programs, it's the first opportunity to see your team's new coach and how everything meshes on the field. Headlines abound this spring, so you have plenty of reasons to read about your favorite teams—even if it is just practice.
Tune into these things during college football's spring session.
College Football Reset (Realignment)
The past few years of Group of Five college football have produced a few powerhouses, but a couple from recent memory stand out.
With apologies to Tulane's golden run in '22 that ended with a 46-45 Cotton Bowl upset of USC, the best two teams to come from lower-level competition were fellow American Athletic Conference programs UCF (2017) and Cincinnati (2021).
The Knights claimed a natty following Scott Frost's final year in Orlando, going undefeated and feeling slighted they weren't in the College Football Playoff. The Bearcats actually made it a couple seasons ago before losing 27-6 to Alabama.
Now, those teams no longer have to "prove it" to get to the final four. They are joining the Big 12 in 2023, along with BYU (another recent feel-good story) and Houston. Perhaps the biggest storyline of that bunch is Scott Satterfield leaving Louisville to usher Cincy into the new surroundings.
While there won't be anything known this spring about whether they compete playing up a level, everything needs to ramp up. They must elevate their play, and all that starts this spring as they find out who can cut it and who can't.
Those four aren't the only programs changing conferences, either. The AAC lost three of the four teams above and will replace them with Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB and mid-major powerhouse (from Conference USA) UTSA.
With the AAC picking on Conference USA, that league had to revamp, too. It did so by adding Liberty (who is bringing in former Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell to replace Hugh Freeze), New Mexico State, Jacksonville State and Sam Houston State. Kennesaw State moves up to the FBS this year and will join CUSA in 2024.
Gear up, because realignment isn't done. Texas and Oklahoma joins the SEC next year.