TSSAA says goodbye to week zero

By Greg Pogue for The Daily News Journal

tssaa zero childress
Photo by George Walker for The Tennessean TSSAA’s Bernard Childress at the Board of Control Meeting

Not that it was the bane of my existence, but the designation of Week 0 as the first week of high school football had become an irritant.

Remember when mom told you not to scratch that scab or it would only make it worse. Out of mind until heard, the TSSAA’s official name of Week 0 for the first week of the high school football season had long become more than just making no sense whatsoever, but graduating to one of a constant bother.

Not that Week 1 shouldn’t be called Week 0, but it was more than the fifth week of the season shouldn’t be called Week 4. The last week of the regular season was Week 10, although teams had played over 11 weeks.

Finally, the TSSAA Board of Control on Thursday did away with the designation of the first week of the season being called Week 0. Week 1 is Week 1, and all high school football teams have 11 weeks to play 10 games.

TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress and his staff recommended the change to the Board of Control.

“Every time someone asked me,” he said about it being called Week 0, “I said, ‘I agree with you. I totally agree that we don’t have to have Week 0.’

“I know how Week 0 started, and we have outlived that. When we proposed it to the Board, we said, ‘We have outlived Week 0.’”

The Week 0 name came about because schools on bordering states wanted to play each other, although their seasonal scheduling of games might conflict. There was even an official start date to the season on the calendar of the National Federation of High School Associations, of which the TSSAA and bordering states are members.

But when schools realized they could start the season a week earlier than Week 1, they took advantage for a variety of reasons and mostly far away from the designation’s original purpose.

“What we realized over the last few years,” Childress said. “We had more teams this past year in Week 0 than we had playing in weeks 8 and 9. So, we (now) just really have 11 weeks to play 10 games.”

Prep football classic benefits MTSU

The high school football doubleheader at MTSU’s Floyd Stadium to open the 2015 season pits two Rutherford County-based Tennessee powers against two of the best from Alabama.

Blackman will play Clay-Chalkville. Oakland plays prep power Hoover. The local schools have a two-year run at Floyd Stadium to open seasons, but the event could soon include other Rutherford County programs as well.

Among the win-win deal is MTSU, which not only gets possible football recruits playing on its field, but on a larger scale having people visit campus that might not ever come.

“From a university perspective, the student bodies from all four schools will be there,” MTSU athletics director Chris Massaro said. “It’s going to be a fun event for everybody. We’re excited to host the event and celebrate high school football in Rutherford County.”

Greg Pogue, former executive sports editor at The DNJ, is host of the morning sports talk show on 94.9 FM Game 2. E-mail him at grpogue@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @ThePoguester.

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