No one has poked more fun at ESPN and "College GameDay" than me. Or had more fun doing it.
And, after covering television for nearly 20 years, few people are more cynical about the business than I am.
So believe me when I tell you that ESPN and "GameDay" deserve huge praise for coming to Provo on Saturday.
Sure, the BYU-TCU game is a pretty big deal. It's the No. 8 (or 7 or 10) Horned Frogs and the No. 16 Cougars.
But that game is on Versus, not on ESPN or ESPN2 of ESPNU or ABC. So "GameDay" has nothing to gain by hyping BYU-TCU.
And networks are not in the habit of doing anything when there's nothing in it for them.
Clearly, ESPN doesn't think that coming to Provo will hurt "GameDay." And the show is going to highlight games that will air on ESPN networks.
And the fact is that ESPN doesn't have any games on Saturday that feature matchups between two ranked teams. Because BYU-TCU is the only such game this week.
But "GameDay" could have gone to the site of a game an ESPN channel is carrying. One "GameDay" telecast doesn't absolve ESPN of its failures when it comes to the Mountain West. But it's a big gesture for which the league (and BYU and TCU and their fans) should be grateful.
CHEER, DON'T BOO: If (when?) Lee Corso puts on the Horned Frog mascot head Saturday morning and predicts that TCU will win, BYU fans will undoubtedly boo.
Maybe they shouldn't. Remember, Corso picked Oklahoma to beat BYU and BYU to beat Florida State.
VERSUS VS. DIRECTV: As of this writing, the cable channel and the satellite provider have not resolved their differences. So if you subscribe to DirecTV and you want to see Utah-Air Force of BYU-TCU on Saturday, you'd better find a friend who gets Versus on cable or Dish.
It's not worth going through the whole thing again. Nothing has changed since Sept. 19, when BYU-Florida State was on Versus.
But let's just reiterate that this is not a MWC issue. Any more than it's an NHL issue, a Pac-10 issue or a Big 12 issue.
All three have contracts with Versus, too.
JAZZ ON CABLE: I know that the news that the Jazz will be on FSN and no longer on KJZZ came as a shock to a few people, but it's hardly a surprise. Only 16 games were on Ch. 14 last season.
And it's the way of the world. Most of college football (including almost all the big bowls) are either on cable or headed that way. The NLCS just ended on TBS; most of the NBA playoffs are on TNT, TBS or ESPN.
NFL games have migrated to cable, joining most major-league baseball games.
Would it be nice if all sporting events were available on broadcast TV? Absolutely. But those days are long gone. You can complain, but this is never going to change.
Could be worse. Some NBA teams sell individual games as pay-per-view.
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