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Scott D. Pierce: The Mtn., in its Utah-BYU finale, was unbearable

Published December 1, 2010 5:09 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Mtn.'s coverage of the Utah-BYU game was sort of a sad metaphor for the past five years. Tried hard, but the telecast was greatly flawed.

Like when things got interesting at the end, a piece of equipment overheated and the clock graphic died. Which followed a human error that took it out as the second half began.

And, for anyone watching on CBS C, it was unintentionally hilarious when The Mtn.'s James Bates thanked the sponsor of the yellow first-down graphic. There was no yellow line on CBSC, which picked up The Mtn.'s feed but didn't insert the graphic.

It wasn't just a problem with graphics, however. Whether you were wearing red or blue, listening to Bates and Todd Christensen was almost unbearable.

It was intolerable when Bates had multiple replays and still couldn't describe the action accurately. Like Utah's first TD, which he repeatedly mischaracterized.

DeVonte Christopher didn't tip the ball to himself. Replays clearly showed BYU defender Brian Logan tipped the ball, which Christopher then snagged for the score.

Bates wasn't available to comment, but network spokesman Hayne Ellis defended him. The ball "bounces around another two or three times" after Logan's tip, he said. "Maybe 'bobble' would have been a better term. I don't think 'tipped to himself' is too much of a stretch."

I do, given that Bates never mentioned Logan's tip.

Christensen, as usual, told stories. Many of which had little to do with the game. And Todd's son, sideline reporter Toby Christensen, had the big insight that BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall was cheering for his team.

The Utes and Cougars have played some exciting games over the past five years. Too bad the games were better than the channel they were on.

Déjà vu all over again: A current member of the Mountain West is leaving — and among the reasons cited is access to ESPN.

No, not BYU this time. TCU is high-tailing it to the Big East in 2012.

Clearly, the move has more to do with joining a BCS conference than it does with the TV contract. Nonetheless, TCU's athletic director cited ESPN as one of the reasons the Frogs are moving.

And, oddly enough, this was one time a conference made a move that wasn't TV driven, even though TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte told the media that conference expansion is "totally based on TV households and how many you bring to the table."

But TCU doesn't bring much to the Big East table in TV terms. Sure, it's in the No. 5 TV market. But TCU is an afterthought in Texas, has a small alumni base, and a relatively small national following

This was all about the Big East hanging on to an automatic BCS berth.

This is, nonetheless, big news for TCU fans.

"The Horned Frogs faithful won't have to send out a posse to find which network is available to what cable customers for TCU football coverage starting in 2012," Ray Buck wrote in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Utah and BYU fans can relate as their teams head for the Pac-12 and football independence (and a contract with ESPN) next season.

Scott D. Pierce writes about sports on TV every Wednesday. Contact him at spierce@sltrib.com.