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

Published: Friday, Sept. 4 2015 8:37 a.m. MDT

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) 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)

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.)

California and Fresno State are coming, and Wisconsin will be booking a flight to who-would-want-to-go-there-land in 2019.

Does Stanford grab you? Or USC or Arizona? BYU has a 1-1, a 1-2 or 2-2 record with all of these top programs and many others.

These teams may have a qualm about going to LaVell Edwards Stadium, but most of those reasons have to do with not wanting to get beat by the Cougars in legitimate matches. No one wants to get beat. But national championships only happen when quality teams do well against quality teams.

That is the real reason these teams schedule BYU, and it's the reason BYU schedules them.

So here is the plan. I am going to have my kids record the next game and then we will sync up the TV to the radio. Greg Wrubell will call my game.

When BYU has fouled, I will hear about it because he does not Wrubell-anize; he does not ignore what is happening on the field when it suits him. I won’t hear other teams being put down. I will hear stats and opinion to go with the game, and I will hear the play-by-play from a guy who hasn’t warmed a makeup chair for an hour or sat through classes on how to overtly gesture at chest level.

And I won't have to vacuum up the living room floor after having thrown things at the TV commentators as they diss my team and my alma mater — again.

Davison Cheney attended BYU, where he became proficient in music and theater, which prepared him to be unemployed and to overreact. See his other writings at davisoncheneymegadad.blogspot.com.

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