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Scott D. Pierce: BYU-Hawaii telecast's announcers' repetition annoying

Published December 5, 2011 1:20 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

During the ESPN2 telecast of the BYU-Hawaii football game on Saturday, we learned that the Warriors had to win in order to go to a bowl.

We learned this over and over and over again, because play-by-play man Carter Blackburn and analyst Brock Huard mentioned it about 863 times.

OK, that's an exaggeration. But, honestly, it was impossible to keep track of how many times the subject came up because they talked about it over and over and over again.

"If Hawaii wins, they will be bowl-eligible and, most likely, almost certainly be playing at the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl here at Aloha Stadium," Blackburn said. "But Hawaii has to win this ballgame to get to 7-6."

"Hawaii needs this game to be bowl-eligible," he said minutes later. "They will be playing most likely here in Honolulu in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl."

That changed slightly in the second half, but only because the score changed.

"The 6-6 Warrior team has to have seven wins to be bowl-eligible," Blackburn said. "Likely playing in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl if the Warriors can come back now and beat BYU."

And, a short time later, he said, "Hawaii needs to win this game to get to a bowl game, likely the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl here in Aloha Stadium, if the Warriors can come back and win."

And that's just four of many more examples.

Clearly, it was a legitimate point. And, if you were looking for a way to hype a non-league game between unranked opponents — one of which had known since October where it is going bowling — this was as good a way as there could be.

But Blackburn's constant repetition of the same phrases, with Huard tossing in plenty of comments like, "Their bowl hopes are on the line," was excessive and annoying. And the one thing you don't want your announcers to do is aggravate viewers.

Clearly, we weren't getting ESPN/ABC's top announcing team. They had a few other games to staff on Saturday, like the ACC and Conference USA title games, a pair of Big East games that decided that league's championship, Oklahoma State-Oklahoma and Baylor-Texas.

(At least Blackburn and Huard got it right. Studio host Wendi Nix sent viewers back to Hawaii for the second half by saying, "The Cougars need a win to become bowl-eligible.")

And better sportscasters than Blackburn and Huard have fallen into this trap of beating something to death. It's a symptom of a bigger problem — the belief that they need to be talking constantly. Which, clearly, they don't.

Given that there's not always much to talk about, they fall back on repeating themselves over and over and over again.

See? It's annoying.

Scott D. Pierce's column appears Mondays and Fridays in The Mix. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.