Week 0 Just Happened

What the heck was that? Why was there football yesterday? Isn’t week 1 next weekend?

Week 0 is an honored college football tradition dating all the way back to *checks Wikipedia* 2017 or 1983? Like everything involving the NCAA, there are a multitude of complex rules, rule changes, and weird decisions. To play a week 0 game, the game must be approved by the NCAA; that’s the main thing to keep in mind. There were a bunch of week 0 games in 2002. None were played from 2005 to 2015. And 2017, the current set of rules for week 0 was put in place. Since 2017 we’ve consistently had multiple Week 0 games (ignoring 2020 for obvious reasons).

(If you’re trying to win a bar bet, the actual 1st Week 0 game was in 1983 when #1 Nebraska beat #4 Penn State at Giants Stadium in New Jersey)*

Who Would Even Want to Play in Week 0?


Every team would gladly play a week 0 game given the opportunity. 

It gets the kids back for fall camp 1 week sooner, so coaches get more practices.

It adds another weekend of TV inventory for networks and conferences. (i.e. more money)

And most importantly, it gives teams an extra bye week.

How Do I Get a Waiver?

As of 2017, there are 3 surefire ways to get approved for an NCAA waiver, and be allowed to schedule a week 0 game.

  • Be Hawaii
  • Play a game at Hawaii during the season
  • Schedule an international game for Week 0

Other games that are approved are special cases.

Aside – The B1G and Big 12 have been encouraging their teams to play future international games to have more consistent access to Week 0. It’s all about money and exposure.

This Year’s Games:

  • Odds listed refer to spreads taken from FanDuel at the time of kickoff.

Hawaii at Vanderbilt (-17.5) – Hawaii gets to play in Week 0

UMass at New Mexico State (-6.5) – New Mexico State has a game at Hawaii in Week 4

Ohio at San Diego State (-2.5) – San Diego State has a game at Hawaii in Week 7

San Jose State at USC (-30.5) – San Jose State has a game at Hawaii in Week 9

Navy vs. Notre Dame (-20.5) – The game is in Dublin, Ireland

Now for the oddballs.

UTEP at Jax State (+1.5)

FIU at LA Tech (-10.5)

These games are C-USA conference games. In the last round of conference realignment, 9 teams left C-USA and 4 new ones joined. To allow previous non-conference commitments to be honored, these games were allowed to be placed on Week 0. The alternative was to tear up non-conference schedules, possibly resulting in the loss of “money games” that are essential for smaller programs budgets.

So What Happened Yesterday? Anything Interesting?

Ohio at San Diego State:

This is easily the most consequential game of Week 0. 

Ohio is a top team in the MAC, and San Diego State is a top team in the MWC.

San Diego State winning this one helps the Mountain West claim to be the best G5 league this year. San Diego State has placed itself in the NY6 hunt, and Ohio is likely out of the running.

Navy vs. Notre Dame:

This is a traditional CFB rivalry game. It was nice to see it spotlighted in Week 0. Unfortunately, it’s rarely competitive. Yesterday was no different, ND is clearly a cut above Navy.

Hawaii at Vanderbilt:

Vandy was favored by 17.5. That clearly was a bit much. Hawaii might not be completely awful this year. Overall, there’s not much to take away here.

San Jose State at USC:

USC is great. We saw that yesterday. San Jose State is bad. We saw that too.

UMass at New Mexico State 

UTEP at Jax State 

FIU at LA Tech:

Bad teams played other bad teams. Congrats to Jax State for winning their 1st game as an FBS program. There’s not much to see here unless you have money on the line or are an alumnus.

Want more Walk On Fan? 

Check out our preseason prediction for every game for every team in the Pac-12 here. 

Follow us on Twitter (or X) @Walkonfan.

This article was written by Cole Tollison and edited by Hayden Breene

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