Colgate-Cal Poly gains early opener
(STATS) - Early openers prior to the traditional start of the college football season just may become the new rage in the FCS.
Colgate will travel to Cal Poly for a first-ever meeting on Sunday, Aug. 27. Kickoff in San Luis Obispo, California, is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Under an NCAA bylaw that was updated before the 2016 season, two Division I non-conference programs can meet in a nationally televised game during the weekend prior to the Thursday preceding Labor Day. Participation is limited to broadcast or cable television, not Internet-only, and to one institution per conference per year.
The early weekend is considered Week Zero in college football.
Chattanooga and Jacksonville State will meet in an ESPN-televised matchup in Montgomery, Alabama, on Aug. 26 - the fourth straight year in which a waiver was secured for the national showcase, which began with the 2014 FCS Kickoff.
Texas Southern and Florida A&M also have scheduled an Aug. 26 game without announcing a broadcast network.
Cal Poly, a Big Sky member, is coming off a 7-5 season in which it qualified for the FCS playoffs. Colgate was 5-5 following a Patriot League championship season in 2015.
"It's pretty cool to play a nationally televised game for your opener," said Cal Poly coach Tim Walsh, whose triple option offense features All-America back Joe Protheroe. "We'll get some national exposure and there are not many others who will be playing that weekend. It will be nice for our fans who can't make it to the game to be able to see us on television."
As a result of the early opener, Cal Poly's game at San Jose State, originally scheduled for Aug. 31, has been moved back to Sept. 2. Colgate's second game is on Sept. 9 against Richmond.
Cal Poly and Colgate will both have two byes in their schedules.