The high schools still practice for three weeks in advance of their first football games-- and that hasn't changed. But big time colleges, like Michigan State, now go almost four full weeks. August used to be a time colleg eplayers and coaches were on vacation until Labor Day. But that's when there wre nine game schedules. Today it's all different-- MSU began practicing on August 4th-- and the first game isn't until August 31st against Boise State.
Used to be freshmen players arrrived on campus for several days of orientation-- those days are gone forever. The freshmen are thrown in with everyone else right from the get go. Pads aren't worn for the first few practices, but MSU put them on Wednesday and had at it. Big time football now runs from early August and into January whether the "student/athletes" find that to their benefit or not.