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How To Football: Week Zero

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Shake the rust off, college football is back

NCAA Football: New Mexico Bowl-Hawaii at Houston
Mood now that college football is back
Tim Flores-USA TODAY Sports

We made it.

I know we say that this time of year every year, but it actually feels like we made it somewhere. We can finally flush away the weirdness of last season, push aside the realignment/Alliance talk, and settle in for what’s hopefully a normal college football season.

If you’re new here, this isn’t the FULL start to the season, this is just the toe meets leather games that are scheduled due to loopholes in NCAA rules or to shine spotlight on teams that otherwise wouldn’t get any (more on this below). Think of this week as the bread that gets delivered to your table when you sit down before you even get a chance to look at the actual appetizers.

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Dublin, Illinois Shift

  • Nebraska-Illinois: Conference games sometimes happen in week one, but they rarely happen in week zero. And P5 conference games almost never happen in week zero. But this game was originally scheduled to be played in Ireland, and when games happen overseas they get a waiver to start camp early and play it in week zero. Because of COVID-19, the game is happening stateside, but they’re keeping the week zero designation. AS FOR THE ACTUAL GAME, well, it’ll sure be a game between Nebraska and Illinois. On one side of the coin, it’ll mark good ole BERT’s return to the B1G and if we’re being honest, if the bar or expectation isn’t on the floor then I don’t think you could fit a pamphlet under it. On the flip side of the coin, if Scott Frost to loses to Bret Bielema in his first game at charge at Illinois, that coupled with the pending NCAA investigation (granted, for trivial bullshit) could make that seat pretty hot.
  • UConn-Fresno State: Fade UConn. This isn’t a gambling blog (yet), but fade UConn.

Rainbows And Roses Shift

  • Hawaii-UCLA: The second stipulation to week zero scheduling: if you play at Hawaii, you get the same benefits because that requires the game to be played overseas for...well, at least one team. Outside of this blog’s undying affection for Hawaii football, there’s a legitimate reason for an LSU fan to watch this game since it’ll be a live look at our seasoning opening opponent.

HBCU Gameday Shift

  • Alcorn State-NC Central: Arguably the coolest thing about Week Zero is that it shines a light on FCS teams that would otherwise get lost in the shuffle of games with PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS. Not only does it give FCS teams a platform, but now also HBCUs. This game, being played in Atlanta as the MEAC-SWAC Challenge, is a great example of the college football collective turning it’s attention to some teams that would otherwise never see the light of day. But now College GameDay will broadcast live in Atlanta for an HBCU game, which I think is important for the overall health of the college ecosystem, even it schools like LSU don’t feel any effect from it.
  • Eastern Illinois-Indiana State: The other FCS game of the night should be a pretty good one. You probably know Eastern Illinois as the answer for bar trivia questions relating to Sean Payton, Tony Romo, Jimmy Garoppolo, Mike Shanahan, Brad Childress, and LSU special teams coordinator Greg McMahon. Indiana State is of course, the alma mater of one Larry Bird.

Finish The Drill Shift

  • Southern Utah-San Jose State: It’ll be a blowout so I’ll use this space to plug this great article from Andy Staples on Nick Starkel.
  • UTEP-New Mexico State: Look, I’ll be honest, my college football appetite is voracious and I myself am...less than thrilled about this game. In fact, I won’t watch it in all probability because I don’t feel the need to shell out for FloSportsTV to watch this, but you go as the spirit moves.