Davison Cheney: Next time I watch BYU football on ESPN, I'm turning the sound off

By Davison Cheney

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 13 2013 12:45 p.m. MST

Craig Bills (20) of the Brigham Young Cougars recovers a fumble against Wisconsin during NCAA football in Madison, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

I was excited for the entire two weeks prior to the BYU vs. Wisconsin game last Saturday because my BYU Cougars were going to be on ESPN!

Not ESPN 2 — which is certainly not chopped liver — and not on the FLMNFTTWB (Football Lovers Mountain Network For Teams That Wear Blue).

I certainly don’t mean to knock any of those channels. If the BYU game isn't being broadcast, I would be pleased as punch to have it on the QVC channel in place of the "Opal Jewelry After Dinner Show." If I can't see my favorite college team on TV somewhere, then life — as my kids know it — is over for the weekend.

But ESPN! The mother of all sports channels, the first and the last, the Lucy and Desi, the big kahuna of hunas everywhere.

I rushed home from work and sat down with my family, a bowl of butter with some popcorn and an enchilada or two. I allowed myself a Diet Coke due to the incredibly special occasion.

Anticipation turned into intense hope, which evolved into prayer and bargaining with heaven that I would try to be a better father if only Kyle Van Noy would just take out a Badger or two, or if Taysom Hill could do that Pocatello-thing he does so well.

I watched my team lose by 10 points to a top-25 big red team whose tradition of excellent defense could have been stitched on the back of their shirts.

It only took a moment for me to realize there were two separate games going on: the one I was watching and the one I was listening to. While I watched my team get beat, I had to listen to my team get dismissed and dissed and a few other "d" words.

I know that it's hard for the men who wear pressed and laundered size 22/long and wide dress shirts to be impartial. After all, sports is their bread and butter. It's how they feed their families. It's what keeps their necks so thick.

National sports commentators are going to have opinions and they are going to bring those opinions to the table when they are wired for sound.

Besides, everyone has an opinion on BYU. The Cougars have ended the season in the Top 25 18 times isince 1977, with a .727 win percentage since 2005. National television sports commentators would be foolish not to have an opinion on the Cougars.

But, holy opinionation! After sitting through two hours of hearing their point of view on why BYU was going to lose, why the Cougars would never-ever do well, and suffering through one of them laughing when Taysom Hill's play failed, I was ready to cut off the power.

Then they dropped the straw that broke my camel's back. The discussion came around again to the foolish decision BYU made to go independent, and the "fact" that no one wanted to go to Provo to play at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

The hair on the back of my neck stood at attention. I turned around to see my wife ripping a throw pillow into bite-sized pieces.

I turned the game off and left the room. She turned it back on and turned down the sound. We listened to KSL’s commentary. Yes, it was 10 or 15 seconds out of sync — like Lina Lamont's "no, no, no … yes, yes, yes" in "Singing in the Rain." It didn't matter.

I don’t care how much those commentators get paid or how they look in their purple ties and Gray-Away hair dye. I am tired of their constant badgering of BYU — as if the badgering from the actual Badgers was not enough.

Who would want to go to Provo, they want to know? Notre Dame for one. Actually, try for two.

Remember Georgia Tech and Boise State? How about Texas, anyone? (Though the Longhorns may have second thoughts about Provo now for a completely different reason — Texas 21 to BYU's 40.)

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