Colorado-Arizona State game won’t be moved to Week 0 after wavier denied by NCAA: Source

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There will not be a Week 0 college football game between Colorado and Arizona State to open the 2023 season, an administrative source involved in the process confirmed to The Athletic on Wednesday. The news comes two days after ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit suggested during the broadcast of the national championship game that the Week 0 game would take place.

“(Deion Sanders) was on GameDay with us and he actually gave us some news … breaking news, from Prime,” Herbstreit said on Monday night’s broadcast, according to 247Sports. “They’re actually not going to be opening up with (TCU). Colorado’s going to open up with Arizona State in their first game, and then they’re going to play TCU in their second game. Looks like they’re sneaking around there a little bit, but that was just told to me from Coach Prime tonight.”

Those comments turned out to be a bit premature. The Pac-12 had requested a waiver for the teams to play in Week 0 in order to avoid a team or teams having to play nine consecutive weeks in the regular season, the source said. NCAA staff made the decision to deny the waiver with input from the Football Oversight Committee (FOC). The FOC pointed out that several teams play nine consecutive weeks in the regular season and that the Pac-12’s case did not warrant special consideration. Typically, teams that play in Week 0 have extenuating circumstances. For example, anyone who plays Hawaii is able to play in Week 0 to help space out their schedule with an extra idle week.

More waivers for Week 0 are denied than are granted, the source also pointed out.

Wednesday’s news comes amid a broader conversation around college football’s calendar. The FOC and a specially formed 365-day working group have been looking at how to best structure the sport’s season and offseason. It is very possible that college football’s leaders decide to move the start of the season up to the current Week 0 for all teams to alleviate the stress on the back end of the calendar, especially with additional games in a 12-team College Football Playoff. But for now, teams still need waivers to play the weekend before Labor Day weekend.

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(Photo: Dustin Bradford / Getty Images)

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