Columns & Blogs

If you're ready for football, then you can't be picky

It's your fault. Yeah, you. You want football. Crave it. Long for it. Saturdays and Sundays are no longer enough. Like a moth to light, you flock to the television any time they line up 11 on each side and get four downs to go 10 yards.

So don't blame Boise State for playing games on nearly every day of the week. Don't blame ESPN for televising football on every day that ends with a "y."

You wanted it.

Be careful what you wish for.

Traditionalists — those who think Fridays are for high school football, Saturdays for college and Sundays for the NFL — take cover. There are no boundaries anymore.

Don't be surprised. You must have seen this coming. The time for whining about the encroachment of college football into high school territory and the NFL overtaking college domain is over.

That ship sailed a long time ago. The increasing demand for programming — and that's all football is, high-impact television programming for all of our new channels — overwhelmed any boundaries that once existed.

Thursday ESPN further blurred the line, moving the Broncos' game at New Mexico State to Sunday, Oct. 15. It's part of the network's plan to compete with NBC's new Sunday night NFL package.

Though BSU did not have any say in the decision and will not receive any money, the school sees the move as a positive. For the Broncos, who have played regular-season games on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the last two years, it's another chance to showcase their program and university on national television.

So what if the game will be competing with an NFL game and likely a major league baseball playoff game? Saturday afternoons have plenty of competition as well.

"It's going to be one of two or three sporting events that's televised nationally at that time. It's going to be tremendous exposure," BSU athletic director Gene Bleymaier said. "Either play the game on Saturday or play it on Sunday and get national exposure. That's a pretty decent trade-off."

A trade-off the Broncos, any other team in the WAC and more than half of the teams in the nation will take every time. Boise State now has four nationally televised games, an enviable position.

It doesn't matter to the

Broncos that only one of those games is on a Saturday. If anything, it's a positive. There is less competition for eyeballs on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday — the days of the Broncos' other nationally televised games this year.

Exposure is exposure. Exposure on ESPN is even better. And as desperately as fans crave football, football programs are addicted to the type of exposure ESPN — the Worldwide Leader — provides even more.

"Anybody from Boise, when you travel out of town now and you wear anything with Boise State, people recognize it and people comment on the football team and on the blue turf. They know Boise State. We couldn't say that 10 years ago," Bleymaier said. "I think that's directly related to the exposure we've seen on ESPN."

And fans who believe taking such non-Saturday games is beneath a program of Boise State's stature need a wake-up call. Comparing BSU to tradition-rich programs that consistently command prime television slots on Saturdays — Southern Cal, Michigan, Texas, etc. — is downright silly and unfair.

The Broncos have done well cultivating their program through non-traditional game times and Boise State is not about to abandon the strategy that has catapulted it to national recognition. Since the WAC has signed a contract with ESPN through the 2009 season, the Broncos' schedule promises to get more, not less, random.

And BSU doesn't mind. Every time the Broncos appear on ESPN, no matter what day of the week, it gives the coaching staff another bit of recruiting ammo in California and Washington.

It makes a real difference.

And you, too, can make a difference.

If you don't like the proliferation of games, simply turn off the television. Don't watch the college games that pop up on random days. Don't tune into the NFL on Thursdays or Saturdays. Watch sitcoms or cable news instead.

Bet you won't.