Versus does a pretty good job of producing college football telecasts. And yet ... it's all a matter of perspective.

UCLA fans were highly critical of Versus during last week's BYU-UCLA game on bruinsnation.com. And that was BEFORE the Cougars had scored a point.

"These Versus announcer. They sound awful," wrote one poster on bruinsnation.com as the game began.

"Beyond awful," wrote another.

"It's like watching a high school telecast."

"Negative. I've watched HS telecasts that were better than this."

The Pac 10, of course, has contracts with ABC/ESPN and FSN.

"I like this little rivalry with BYU. But we really need to stop playing Mountain West teams at their place until their conference dumps this Versus (expletive)."

And this was posted after the game:

"Never, ever agree to any scheduling arrangements in future, which would entail broadcasting UCLA games on a joke network such as Versus.... From its clueless announcers, to its joke sideline 'reporter' (who couldn't provide any legit updates on injured players) to its awful camera angles and audio arrangements, it was an utter, complete, painful disaster.... It was a total abomination."

And there was plenty of complaining in Southern California before the game because Versus isn't on all cable systems. (It's available in more than 70 million homes, nearly two-thirds of the American homes.)

"Versus is the red-headed stepchild of sports broadcasting. Even worst than FSN ... and I didn't know that was possible."

We can only imagine what UCLA fans would have done if their team had been on The mtn. for the past couple of seasons. They can't even begin to imagine what Utah and BYU fans have gone through.

WHEN YOU WATCH college football on TV, at least you can find out the scores of other games.

Not so when you actually attend a game at BYU, where "the campus is our world" continues to be the motto. Oh, they've got two video screens at LaVell Edwards Stadium, including a brand-spanking new one in the north end that's devoted mostly to advertising with a smattering of statistics.

(There were more stats available on the old, non-video screen.)

But scores? None on either screen. None from the public-address announcer. No updates of MWC or Top 25 scores. And wouldn't you kind of think BYU fans would be interested in both these days?

BYU COULD BE SHOWING more instant replays on its big screens than it does, too.

The MWC's rule on replays reads: "In the event of a controversial play (e.g. penalty) during a football contest, the controversial play may be replayed on the stadium video screen once at full speed and once in slow motion."

That almost never happens.

WE SHOULD TAKE a moment and feel really, really bad for all those folks at ESPN who had their hearts broken last week.

What will Kirk Herbstreit and the rest of the ESPN gang do now that Fresno State has lost to Wisconsin? Their efforts to promote a non-BCS team other than BYU or Utah for a BCS bowl berth have taken a severe blow.

And, seriously, is there anybody out there who believes for one second that if Fresno State had beaten Wisconsin because of the bad call by the WAC replay official — a call the league commission admits was wrong — that ESPN sportscasters would have made anywhere near as big a deal out of it as they did out of the call at the end of the BYU-Washington game?

I'm still not big on conspiracy theories, but I'm becoming more open to them.


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com