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How many days until college football starts? Every year, it’s confusing

2017’s season starts on Aug. 26, but really gets rolling on Aug. 31.

May 23, ESPN announced the following:

Woo! College football in 100 days! I wonder which games are first! Let’s look and see on ESPN’s schedule!

ESPN.com

And some FCS games, too!

So it’s 100 days until Aug. 26, when the 2017 college football season begins?

No. As of May 23, it’s under 95 days. It was 100 days way back on May 18, when the Department of Justice named a special counselor and The Bachelorette contestants were announced. Remember those days?

Google, a popular website

But the tweet said it’s 100 days until games kick off.

The wording is careful. It says it’s “100 days until kickoff weekend,” which is apparently the name ESPN’s using for the first full weekend of college football, the weekend that includes dozens of games and headliners like Alabama vs. Florida State and Florida vs. Michigan. That weekend begins on Thursday, Aug. 31.

So no one can agree on when college football season starts?

This happens every year, especially since the early-teaser weekend started happening a few years ago. Media outlets want to hype people for the start of the season, other media outlets want to hype people for the first games that they have to air, individual teams want to hype people for their own first games, and fans just want to get hyped.

Early-teaser weekend? What?

In 2014, ESPN added a pre-Week 1 game between FCS powers Eastern Washington and Sam Houston State. That weekend has rapidly expanded to include two straight years of games in Australia (Cal beat Hawaii last year, and this year, Stanford plays Rice there), three other 2017 FBS vs. FBS games, and a 2017 ESPNU game on Sunday (Colgate at Cal Poly), all days before “kickoff weekend.”

So those are like preseason games that don’t count or something?

Oh, they count toward standings and bowl eligibility and everything else.

Why does this happen?

ESPN likes it when you watch sports on TV.

Why are there so many West Coast teams in here?

It centers on Hawaii. Hawaii’s so far away from other teams that the Rainbow Warriors and their common opponents sure don’t mind an extra bye week during the season, so teams that either are Hawaii or play at Hawaii (like Fauxpening Weekend participants BYU, Colorado State, and San Jose State do) might not mind starting their seasons early in order to squeeze in another bye.

Alternatively, the NCAA allows teams that play at Hawaii to schedule 13th games, to help them make up some travel costs. BYU and SJSU are doing that instead.

This sport is confusing and unorganized.

That is true in all cases and at all times.