For at least a couple weeks, one of the elements being displayed there is a countdown of the number of days until the kickoff of the college football campaign.
“Season starts in 37 days” it proclaimed Tuesday. On Wednesday it was down to 36.
Uh, no. The season begins 29 days from then, with eight games on Aug. 26 — a Saturday. Three of them (Portland State-Brigham Young, Chattanooga-Jacksonville State and Stanford-Rice) even are to be shown on ESPN! There’s another game that Sunday, Richmond-Sam Houston State, which ESPNU televises.
The date the ticker is referring to is the following Thursday, which is NOT the start to the season but instead the kickoff to the first “full weekend” of games, making it a prime target for hype — which you can expect to see plenty of as that date draws closer. ESPN and its leading affiliated outlets, including ABC, have 19 games scheduled over an elongated four-day weekend. That schedule is highlighted by the Florida State-Alabama game that Saturday night on ABC (KDNL, Channel 30 locally). There also are in excess of a dozen more games that will stream exclusively on ESPN3, plus seven on it’s ACC Network .
We asked an ESPN spokesman for an explanation, which is:
“We consider August 26 to be Week 0 of the college football season because, for the vast majority of fans, the season begins in earnest on August 31 with a full slate of games among Top 25 teams and other major schools.”
College football, partners don’t let partners downgrade the product.