I love the early season even when other factors don't make me hunt then. Early season elk are easier to pattern. They typically hit water on a more predictable basis. Herd bulls are not surrounded by 20+ cows so you actually stand a chance to stalk them. They can still be called in if the setup is right. And to your main point, there is usually less hunting pressure.
I say all of the above reasons why I like the early season but I would add that if your goal is any bull elk your odds may still be slightly better hunting satellite bulls during the 3rd week of the month. Even during pressure I find the 2 and 3 year old bulls fairly easy to call in. I just think the big bulls are much harder during the peak rut.