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Time once again for confusing, conflicting ‘100 days until college football’ countdowns

Nobody agrees on this sport’s actual opening day.

On May 22, ESPN started a “100 days until” countdown to “the first Thursday” of college football:

The College Football Playoff’s tweet wasn’t as precise:

A quick Twitter search informed me that most people took off with the 100 days figure and ran with it:

Wait, is it really only 100 days until we get to see college football on TV again?

Well, not exactly. ESPN decided to use the first Thursday night of college football, on Aug. 30, as the countdown endpoint. While the 100 days figure is accurate, we actually get to see the first college football games on Saturday, Aug. 25. That’s just 95 days away!

Those are the FBS games, and we’ll also get North Carolina A&T vs. Jacksonville State.

There’ll probably also be JUCO, NAIA, and lower-division games even earlier than that, though those probably won’t be on TV.

This “Week 0” opening Saturday is still kind of a newer thing, and it can be hard to think of it as a true college football Saturday.

In 2014, ESPN added a pre-Week 1 game between FCS powers Eastern Washington and Sam Houston State. That expanded to include two straight years of games in Australia (Cal beat Hawaii in 2016, and Stanford beat Rice there last season), and 2017’s list of five FBS games, all before “kickoff weekend.”

This year’s games don’t look quite as intriguing, but we’ll get to watch college football again nonetheless. ESPN knows you’re going to watch the games if they’re on, so why not add an early week?

In years past, the “100 days” countdown has been a bit more confusing.

That’s because outlets were a bit more vague about what they were counting down to:

Likewise, Division I’s actual first day was 95 days away from that date last year.

So a few key points to remember here:

  1. Everyone loves countdowns to exciting things, especially when it’s been five months since we’ve seen a college football game!
  2. Regardless of where you end your countdown, we’ve made it to the 100 days mark! Getting there!
  3. Please hurry up, these 100 or so days.

Thank you for listening to this Public Service Announcement regarding college football countdowns.