When I first heard that some BYU fans were ticked off at ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, my initial thought was — here we go again.

You had to know that when he said of the Cougars, "I think they're ranked way too high," BYU fans were going to be unhappy.

Fans are notorious for getting extremely upset when TV analysts diss their teams. And not just BYU fans. Remember when Utah fans wanted the head of then-ESPN analyst Trev Alberts during the Utes' 2004 BCS run?

And when I looked at the transcript of what Herbstreit said, the only thing that was upsetting was also absolutely predictable — he brought up Hawaii.

Guess what, folks. We're going to be hearing about Hawaii's 41-10 loss to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl all season. And it will be used as anti-BCS busting "evidence" for years to come.

But you've got to watch the video of Herbstreit's Aug. 17 comments to get the full effect. As he was being asked about the preseason AP poll, he broke into rather derisive laughter the moment BYU was mentioned. And that's the sort of thing that upsets fans.

"Why is it that every year, somebody has to be the next Boise State?" Herbstreit said. "Somebody has to be the next Utah from a few years ago? These teams that are the non-BCS, in my opinion, have to, just like everybody else, earn their right to get there after six or seven or eight or nine wins. Then we can start to talk to them.

"Hawaii last year was force-fed on all of us. I kept saying, 'No, don't do it.' They go to the BCS, and Georgia made it look like it was a scrimmage."

There's absolutely nothing wrong with Herbstreit expressing his opinion. That's what he gets paid for.

However, he has a responsibility to be consistent and avoid talking out of both sides of his mouth.

He can't tell us that BYU is overrated and, in the same breath, tell us that Fresno State is better than BYU.

"In my opinion, the best non-BCS team is Fresno State ... In my opinion, they are much better than BYU," he said,

Um, what happened to waiting until "six or seven or eight or nine wins" to declare Fresno State the top non-BCS team? You can't have it both ways.


HERBSTREIT HAS A HISTORY of underrating BYU that goes back a long way.

He picked 14th-ranked Kansas State to beat No. 5 BYU in the 1997 Cotton Bowl — a game the Cougars won 19-15.

Earlier that season, Herbstreit's weekly "upset special" was Rice over BYU. The Cougars squeaked past the Owls 49-0.

If you believe in omens, maybe having Herbstreit as a non-believer is a good one for the Cougars.


UTES EVERYWHERE WERE TICKED at Alberts when he said Utah didn't deserve to be in the mix for a BCS bowl berth because of its "weak schedule."

You may recall that Utah beat Pitt 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl.

And, in the interest of demonstrating some consistency, here's what yours truly wrote four years ago:

I think Alberts' comments were ridiculous, if only because HE DOESN'T KNOW how the Utes would stack up against BCS opponents (other than Texas A&M and Arizona, two teams Utah beat). It's his job to express opinions, but they ought to be based in fact and THERE ARE NO FACTS demonstrating that Utah doesn't belong with the BCS Big Boys. ... This sort of unsubstantiated "analysis" happens all the time. It's what 24-hour sports networks and sports talk-radio is built on — people expressing opinions (however groundless) as facts.

Ironically, four years ago Alberts told viewers that Fresno State was the cream of the non-BCS crop. That was just before the Bulldogs lost consecutive games (to UTEP and Boise State) to fall to 4-2.

Maybe that's another good omen ...


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