I’ll be honest with you, I don’t really get Week 0. I don’t understand why it exists and I don’t understand why it’s zero. Zero is the absence of something, the absence of a value. If there are actual football games being played just call it Week 1. It just makes more sense and I’m somebody who can’t stand when things don’t make sense. Which is why I think we really ought to be using the metric system, but that’s probably not the rant you’re here for.
I don’t know when Week 0 became a thing but at least it means the college football season has arrived. I can finally stop prowling YouTube for replays of old games just so I can have football on Saturdays. Instead, I get to look forward to titanic contests like UConn vs. Utah State, Austin Peay vs. Western Kentucky, and of course Duquesne vs. Florida State. Okay, so Week 0 is a little light on heavyweight fights but after nearly eight full months I’m not going to complain, I’m going to have college football on from 11:00 am to whenever the hell Vanderbilt at Hawai’i ends and love every second of it.
With that all being said, let’s take a look at what this so-called Week 0 has to offer.
The first college football game of the year kicks off at 11:00 with Austen Peay at Western Kentucky. But if you can hang on for another half hour you can enjoy the headline game for Week 0. Nebraska and Northwestern will take the pitch in Dublin, Ireland, in a game which was originally slated for 2021 but was delayed due to the pandemic. Last year the Cornhuskers and Wildcats finished 6th and 7th in the division, respectively, so we’re not exactly presenting our best to an international audience. However, this game does have some important implications for at least one side. Nebraska’s early schedule outside of hosting Oklahoma looks very manageable, and getting a win Saturday will be important to start building momentum. Aside from the Sooners, their next real challenge will be a date with Purdue halfway through October, ahead of a tough November. If Scott Frost wants to stay in Lincoln longer than it takes one of his offensive lineman to reach the bathroom, he’ll need to beat the Wildcats.
Northwestern’s outlook this year is much bleaker, but at least they’ll have the better helmets this weekend.
Both Northwestern and Nebraska going with an Irish-inspired “N” on their helmets for Saturday. pic.twitter.com/t0aOedUixq— Ben Stevens (@BenScottStevens) August 25, 2022
Week 0 - Afternoon Games
|August 27, 2022||Idaho State @ UNLV||2:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com||N/A|
|August 27, 2022||UConn @ Utah State||3:00 PM||FS1||FoxSports.com||Utah St. -26.5|
|August 27, 2022||Wyoming @ Illinois||3:00 PM||BTN||FoxSports.com||ILL -11|
|August 27, 2022||Duquesne @ Florida State||4:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN||N/A|
Saturday afternoon we’ll start to have some more options, but still nothing that will really move the needle. More FBS programs are on the menu, but the quality of competition is really...meh.
Wyoming at Illinois is the headliner here, and not just for the fact that it involves a Big Ten team. Bret Bielema’s second year brings higher expectations as he tries to build a winner in Champaign. Last year’s squad was undoubtedly an improvement over the 2020 group, boasting two victories over top 20 teams, but they still finished bowl-less at 5-7. They’ll face a Cowboys team which lost twelve players to the transfer portal and their best defender to the draft. If Bielema wants to build a winner, it needs to start here.
There isn’t much sizzle to the rest of the afternoon slate, one featuring plenty of FCS teams and the brave little Huskies from Connecticut. Those Huskies travel to Utah State, another Mountain West team, albeit one which finished last year ranked #24 in both the AP and Coaches polls. Meanwhile the Idaho State Bengals travel to UNLV and the afternoon wraps up with Duquesne at Florida State. Maybe the Seminoles will be able to exorcise the demons of last year’s upset at the hands of Jacksonville State, or perhaps the Dukes can make lightning strike twice in Tallahassee.
Week 0 - Evening Games
|August 27, 2022||Charlotte @ Florida Atlantic||6:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com||FAU -7|
|August 27, 2022||Florida A&M @ North Carolina||7:15 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN||N/A|
|August 27, 2022||North Texas @ UTEP||8:00 PM||Stadium||Stadium.com||UNT -1|
|August 27, 2022||Nevada @ New Mexico State||9:00 PM||ESPN 2||WatchESPN||NEV -8|
|August 27, 2022||Vanderbilt @ Hawai'i||9:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com||VANDY -8.5|
We come at last to the end of our broadcast day, which offers up a handful of games to keep us interested. None of the games really pop on paper but it’s college football so you never know what can happen, and at this point in the day I’m just happy to still have football on. Nevada at New Mexico State has a bit of a Big Ten connection as Jerry Kill takes over as head coach of the Aggies, his first head coaching position since stepping down at Minnesota in 2015. Otherwise we’re just looking for upsets and entertainment value here. You think Tanner Morgan has been around for a long time? Wait until you hear about the 28 year old quarterback at North Texas who turns 29 next month? Could the Rattlers of Florida A&M make like their famous Marching 100 and high step out of Chapel Hill upset winners? Or could we see a double-digit overtime epic, sending Vanderbilt at Hawai’i into the following morning and making you late for church?
Everything is on the table. It’s Week 0 After Dark, and I’m glad as hell it’s a thing.