Some D-I coaches favor a pre-season

NEW YORK — Coach Mike Riley and his No. 24 Oregon State players would like nothing better than to squeeze in a pre-season tuneup before taking on No. 6 TCU Saturday night in Texas.

"I think that'd be awesome," Riley said recently.

This might be Oregon State's toughest game of the season and it will be the first time the Beavers have blocked or tackled an opponent since they played BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl in December.

While the NFL is considering cutting its exhibition schedule from four to two games (and lengthening its regular season), Riley and some other college coaches are in favor of a pre-season game or even a scrimmage.

"It would be a chance to see some new stuff and have your players have to adjust," Riley said.

Of course, Oregon State is the exception among top teams in major college football, many of which will open the season this weekend toying with weak opponents.

NCAA rules allow Division I college football teams to play 12 contests, including scrimmages against other teams. Since no school is about to give up a regular-season game to play a game that doesn't count, the first step would be a rule change.

NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said in an e-mail that "there have not been any proposals from member schools or conferences to change the rule on scrimmages."

But maybe one might be coming.

Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez is a proponent of playing a pre-season tune-up.

"Our coaches and I believe this is something worth considering," Michigan Athletics Director David Brandon said.

At lower levels of college football, it's not uncommon for teams to work in pre-season intersquad scrimmages.

"We're probably one of the only levels of football that doesn't have pre-season games," Rodriguez said.