Jim Boylen just might be the most entertaining college basketball coach in the country to watch on TV.
The Utah coach is more animated than "The Simpsons." He hops up and down, he gesticulates wildly, he runs out on the court during timeouts. His energy seems boundless.
And that's not even mentioning what happens when he gets ahold of a microphone after a win in the Huntsman Center.
There's almost a WWE quality to Boylen. The fans who love him really love him, and he's the kind of guy opponents will end up coming to see just hoping they have a chance to razz him.
It is fascinating to see how someone who's so completely unrestrained during games restrains himself in his weekly coach's show. And, on occasion, becomes downright surly in postgame interviews.
That's not criticism, it's merely an observation.
Being fun to watch on TV doesn't make you a bad coach any more than it makes you a good coach. Neither does displaying charisma in interviews.
But it just might contribute to filling up and arena and getting viewers to tune in.
Local fans argue that The mtn. is making a big mistake by putting each MWC men's basketball team on the same number of times this season. And they have an excellent point.
How do you argue that first-place BYU has no more viewer appeal than last-place Colorado State?
On Saturday, The mtn. will air three games Utah-Wyoming at 2 p.m.; TCU-UNLV at 5 p.m.; and Colorado State-San Diego State at 8 p.m. The Air Force-BYU will not be televised.
At this point, only three teams BYU, UNLV and New Mexico have a mathematical chance of winning (or tying for) the Mountain West regular-season championship. Which means that two of the three games The mtn. is carrying on Saturday will have no effect on who wins the title.
If The mtn. wants to attract a national audience when it gets on DirecTV later this year, it has to make better editorial judgments than this.
And that, Cougar and Ute fans, will hurt you in years when your teams aren't good.
By the way, when BYU and Air Force tip off in Provo on Saturday at 7 p.m., CSTV will be in the midst of a college hockey game between Ohio State and Miami of Ohio; Versus will be airing bull riding.
If you watched the pregame of the Utah-at-BYU men's basketball game on The mtn. last week, at least part of what you saw was as fictional as your average sitcom.
The screaming BYU fans standing behind the announcers were nothing but unpaid extras in a scripted scene. They were herded onto the court and cued when to yell and cheer.
You could easily argue that television cameras rarely capture reality when they're pointed at fans. The mere fact that they have a camera focused on them makes people act out.And you could easily argue that this isn't a news event, it's an athletic contest. But just a little integrity in terms of what's real would be nice.
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