York’s Bobby Carroll has an obvious reason for disliking Week Zero of the high school football season.
The last two years York has been the only team in The Herald’s coverage area to not play a meaningful game during the opening weekend of the season. The Cougars have then lost to Rock Hill the following week both years, and both coaches would agree that the Bearcats’ Week Zero action proved advantageous in both games.
York bounced back to beat Union County last Thursday, but Carroll was still cursing the Cougars’ loss to Rock Hill on Tuesday.
“It would have been nice to have a little more game-type deal done before then,” he said. “You just make so many mistakes early.”
Other coaches aren’t as opposed to Week Zero. Ed Susi’s Fort Mill team plays five non-region games, enjoys a recuperative week, then plays its five region games. Having 11 weeks in the season means teams get a bye week at some point during the fall. When it’s well-positioned like Fort Mill’s, it can be a blessing. When the bye comes the second week of the season, like Lancaster’s the past two years, it’s not as helpful.
Most folks opposed to Week Zero don’t take issue with when it is played, just with the confusing nomenclature.
In 2016 and 2017 York’s second game of the season came in the third week. Naturally in South Carolina that’s called Week Two. Yes, this is the confusion that Week Zero sews.
Count Spartanburg Herald-Journal sports editor Bob Dalton in the camp opposed to Week Zero. He started using the hashtag #NoWeekZero on Twitter at the beginning of the season because the term is misleading and silly.
“Week Zero might have made sense when there were just a handful of games,” Dalton wrote in an email. “There were more than 100 games across the state this year. Two-thirds of the teams the Herald-Journal covers played that night. And all of those games counted. That doesn't seem like a zero to me.”
Coaches at Tuesday’s Tri-County Coaches Association meeting in Fort Mill couldn’t remember exactly when the term “Week Zero” first appeared on the scene, but think it was around the time that many preseason jamborees, including the big one hosted annually in Rock Hill by The Herald, started to fall by the wayside. The final Herald jamboree was held in 2008.
Carroll is one of the few that think the term is stupid and don’t want to start the season in mid-August.
“I just think football in August is too early,” Carroll said. “I personally wish football started after Labor Day.”
That might be difficult to do, especially without putting more pressure on winter sports already waiting for football season to wrap up so athletes can join basketball and wrestling teams. But that doesn’t mean the inaccurate and confusing terminology has to stick; let’s ditch Week Zero, at least in name, once and forever. #NoWeekZero.