College Football 2022: It’s Game Week At Last, Which Means Week One, NOT Week Zero

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It is unclear when the term started getting used and supposedly became cool.

But it is starting to become a rite of summer that is a wrong.

We are talking about “Week Zero” of the college football season.

That is this week, but in truth, this is the “Opening Week” or “Week One” of the college football season. Week Zero is a more accurate name for a week in which people go on a crash diet and only drink Coke Zero, which is about as tasteless as the term Week Zero.

If there are games during a week after weeks and months in which there were no games in a particular sport, then therefore that is Week One of that sport. Period.

I’ve heard various explanations of how Week Zero came about. It is nothing but a bad synonym for a soft opening, like that of a restaurant. Still, that is a restaurant “opening.” No one says, “Oh, this is day zero of this restaurant.”

And no one should say, “Week Zero of the college football season.” It’s Week One.

Other explanations are more detailed and longer, but whenever one has to use a lot of words to explain something very simple, chances are that explanation is garbage.

I don’t know why, but people and organizations and institutions like to make up new words, even when not needed. Perhaps to show power? Or is it a weak stab at creativity. There is nothing creative about the “Week Zero” label. Don’t let them. Don’t be brainwashed.

The NFL likes to make up words as well. It, for example, came up with OTAs years ago for some idiotic reason. OTAs is an abbreviation for Organized Team Activities. Typical NFL bureaucracy. A simpler word would be PRACTICE. That’s all it it is. And all Week Zero is is Week One.

Organizations and institutions also like to make up euphemisms for marketing purposes and/or just to make something sound better. When LSU, for example, went to a football ticket licensing program after the 2003 season, athletic department officials said fans who had to pay hundreds and thousands of dollars for the right to buy tickets were contributing to a Tradition Fund. They weren’t paying surcharges, which in reality were the extra fees for the right to buy tickets.

“We’d prefer you not use the word ‘surcharge,'” a slick associate athletic director told me at the time. And I said, “You know what? I’m going to stick with the Webster’s dictionary here and use surcharge. You can print the tickets at LSU, but LSU will not be changing the dictionary.”

So, I’m sticking with Week One. You zeroes who can’t think for yourself? Use Week Zero.

The genesis of Week Zero happened in 1983 when No. 1 Nebraska beat No. 4 Penn State, 44-6, at Giants Stadium on Aug. 29 in East Rutherford, N.J. – a full week before Labor Day. Traditionally, the college football season for the most part at the time had opened on the last Saturday before Labor Day (and still does). But the NCAA started giving out waivers for earlier starts. So, that Nebraska-Penn State game didn’t actually happen in Week One, some lame brain thought. It happened in Week Zero.

In recent years, somebody at ESPN or somewhere else at about the same time with a similar Brain Zero decided to get cute and started calling the soft college football opening weekend, Week Zero.

That’s about the last time you will see those two words written by me in reference to Week One, unless I’m ridiculing it. You’ll see it elsewhere, but not here.

LINCOLN, NE – SEPTEMBER 28: Head coach Scott Frost of the Nebraska Cornhuskers talks with quarterback Adrian Martinez #2 during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Memorial Stadium on September 28, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

Interestingly, Nebraska and embattled coach Scott Frost open Week One this year. Nebraska also opened Week One in 1983. The Cornhuskers play Northwestern at 12:30 p.m. eastern time this Saturday on FOX at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Bet you any euro, they don’t know what Week Zero is in Dublin.

Here are some TV games of note for the opening weekend:

WEEK ONE, SATURDAY, AUG. 27: (All times eastern.)

-Austin Peay at Western Kentucky, Noon, CBS Sports Network

-Jacksonville State vs. Stephen F. Austin, 3:30 p.m., ESPN, Montgomery, Alabama

-Idaho State at UNLV, 4 p.m., CBS Sports Network

-Wyoming at Illinois, 4 p.m., Big Ten Network

-UConn at Utah State, 4 p.m., FOX Sports 1

-Duquesne at Florida State, 5 p.m., ACC Network

-Alabama State vs. Howard, 7 p.m., ESPN, Atlanta

-Charlotte at Florida Atlantic, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network

-Florida A&M at North Carolina, 8:15 p.m., ACC Network

-Vanderbilt at Hawaii, 10:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network

BATON ROUGE, LA – APRIL 23: LSU Tigers head coach Brian Kelly during the LSU Spring Game on April 23, 2022, at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

That Florida State game does not look overly appealing, but the Seminoles will play Sunday, Sept. 4, against LSU and new coach Brian Kelly in prime time on ABC at 7:30 p.m. So that could be a good appetizer for LSU fans, if they can find the ACC Network somewhere, somehow.


Things really get rolling the next week with No. 2 Ohio State hosting No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 3 and defending national champion Georgia hosting No. 11 Oregon.

SEC and other national TV games of note follow.



-West Virginia at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m., ESPN. (NOTE: Pitt hosts Tennessee Sept. 10, 3:30 p.m., ABC.)

-Ball State at Tennessee, 7 p.m., SEC Network

-Louisiana Tech at Missouri, 8 p.m., ESPNU


-Sam Houston at No. 6 Texas A&M, Noon, SEC Network

-No. 11 Oregon at No. 3 Georgia, 3:30 p.m., ABC

-No. 23 Cincinnati at No. 19 Arkansas, 3:30 p.m., ESPN

-Troy at No. 21 Ole Miss, 4 p.m., SEC Network

-No. 7 Utah at Florida, 7 p.m., ESPN.

-Miami of Ohio at No. 20 Kentucky, 7 p.m., SEC Network+, ESPN+.

-Mercer at Auburn, 7 p.m., SEC Network+, ESPN+.

-Elon at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m., SEC Network+, ESPN+.

-No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Ohio State, 7:30 p.m., ABC.

-Utah State at No. 1 Alabama, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network.

-Memphis at Mississippi State, 7:30 p.m., ESPNU.

-Georgia State at South Carolina, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network+, ESPN+


-Florida State vs. LSU, 7:30 p.m., ABC, New Orleans.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.


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  1. ZERO mention of the Purdue/Penn St game on 9/1. Cmon man. You remember the Boilermakers, don’t ya? They beat UT in a bowl game last year in what essentially was a home game for the Vols. How about some B10 respect?

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