Smurf Turf: Earth to Craig Thompson

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Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2008 - 8:27pm

Anybody catch the Utah-TCU game a few weeks back? Or how about Utah's amazing comeback against Oregon State? Or the time BYU romped on UCLA?

Actually I lied, I didn't either. Since Mountain West's inception in 1999, it has grown into a strong conference in all of their athletics. Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson orchestrated a bunch of schools into a BCS bustin' conference in every major sport. Up until Aug. 26, 2004, he was doing a fine job. On Aug. 26, some might say Craig Thompson sold his soul to the devil. He signed a deal with College Sports Television ( CSTV ) and rejected ESPN's coverage offer.

Granted, CSTV offered 34 million more reasons to take their offer over sports giant ESPN. Since that summer day in August, "the mountain" was formed, which is a sports station solely dedicated to Mountain West Sports. The mountain, full of terrible commentators, C-level shows and biased commentating, is starting to get overrated. Not to mention CSTV was bought out and sold rights multiple times since 2004, which has made it so fans could not view their beloved teams. As of now, a handful of Mountain West markets have limited coverage of their own team, and one market has ZERO coverage.

The Mountain West has tried to improve broadcasting to their fans, but a deal struck by Thompson back in 2004 is dooming them. The Mountain is only available in eight states currently, unless you want to ink a hefty contract with a satellite company. Fans of the Mountain West are getting "screwed," they can't watch their team.

To the graduates living across the nation who have to wait to watch the highlights of their team's game until after it is over, thank Thompson. We all missed the dramatic finishes of Mountain West football games this year, and will continue to do so until he gets the message. Actually, he is all ready. He has multiple websites, including firecraigthompson.com, calling for his head. Oh, and many fans and athletic directors agree. Sure he brought in 30+ million dollars, but he has 80 percent of Mountain West fans wanting to give him a pink slip.

So Mr. Thompson, let's try to define your commissioner legacy in the Mountain West. Thompson says he wants to compete with the PAC-10, and won't until he makes a move. What is that move? Swallow your pride, Thompson, and invite Fresno State, Nevada and Boise State to the Mountain West. Enter these schools and you get Boise State, who is the second best (by winning percentage) college football team in the nation since 2000, and a basketball team who is the defending WAC champs.

What else does it give you? Fresno State, who year in and year out is not afraid of any big time team and just won the 2008 College Baseball World Series. Then you have Nevada, who is continuously one of the most competitive college basketball teams in the nation and a few seasons ago broke the Top Ten. That will rival the PAC-10. "A few weeks ago Thompson stated that Boise State would not go 12-0, in our conference." Ahem, Mr. Thompson, they may not go undefeated but they sure will win 10 games year in and year out. Your precious BYU Cougars SHOULD have lost to the nation's worst college football team: Washington.

Mr. Thompson, by inviting Boise State, you will improve your fan base dramatically. They are the No. 1 bandwagon team in the nation and are ESPN darlings. Oh, and you wonder why you don't get any respect from national pollsters? Remember you sold your rights to CSTV so nobody can see your games, bud. Also, by adding those three teams you get a 12-team conference, which adds to the rivalry mix with Fresno St.-San Diego St, Nevada-UNLV and Boise State-BYU. Mr. Thompson, step up your game and expand the Mountain West. But don't be surprised if they deny your request because you might be the downfall of the Mountain West, if you already aren't now.

Filed under: sports

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First of all, our newspaper reaches 50,000 people online, per issue! Every state college gets it, I highly doubt your church bulletin does that, Mr. Cory. Columbia University gave us four awards last year, three of which were in first place. Does your church get national awards? Yeah, I thought not. What KC does for this paper is he is a sports opinion writer. You don't have to agree, sir. But at least recognize the truth of what we're doing. We understand that the universities in the MWC aren't the big revenue schools and therefore they don't receive the recognition that they deserve, yet they always seem to put up very good numbers and excellent prospects for the NFL and NBA. The fact of the matter is that we live in the mountain west and feel that they deserve more than what the commissioner has settled for. And as for not having many fans, that is a load of crap! You can go to any mountain west conference game whether it be in San Diego, Laramie, Salt Lake City, or Provo and the stadiums will be filled. If you want talk about not having a lot of fans at a game go back to the 2004 Fiesta Bowl. The University of Utah to more than three quarters of the stadium and left a little sliver of blue for the Pittsburgh fans (that later had their hopes and dreams of winning a BCS bowl game smashed). So we apologize for tearing down your little tantrum about KC being a writer with no experience, but he's right on the grounds of it being an opinion article. The MWC conference has settled for a crappy deal and we can blame the commissioner for it! Never knock down a fan of a team in the Mountain West, we love our teams and the conference just as much as ANY other fan of ANY other major university! Thanks so much for your time.

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I totally agree.

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Good article.... good points....hmmmmmmm maybe you should be making decisions for the MWC, seeing that they would be better off having the top WAC teams join or we might be better off having them joing the WAC so ESPN can carry the games nationally! Not like the dreaded BYU, MTN, CSTV coverage... but real commentators! Honestly thought, the MWC is afraid of playing BOISE STATE year in year out... look what we've done to them...12-0 !! Yikes.. I bet they pay ppl off just not to allow a joining of conferences. Why would they want there top 3 teams to be beat every year by a dominant Boise team? Still it would be good b/c we should be able to get an automatic bid then........

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Actually I do work in the sports industry :)

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Cory, do you need a hug?

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You know what you're talking about. Cory you missed completely with your comment. You missed water even if you fell out of a boat.

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Another non-intelligent opinion from someone that's never worked in the sports industry. You have no clue what it takes to run a conference or an institution. I love how fans and writers like you complained about 10 p.m. Monday night basketball games and now you want them back. You think anyone in New York is watching at Midnight? NO! You think ESPN is going to put the MWC on any other night or time? NO! How about football games like BYU-UTAH, UTAH_TCU on Tuesday or Wednesday like Ball State? MWC fans can barely fill the stadiums on Saturday let alone Tuesday night. If you want to be BCS, act BCS. In fact, if the MWC was playing on Tuesday on ESPN you'd complain that thompson doesn;'t have the balls to stand up to ESPN. What Thompson has done for the MWC is amazing. The TV deal was a great idea and will continue to get better each year. Bias comentary? What? It's the MWC's network, what do you expect. Ever listen to Fox or Vitale? Bias as hell! Maybe you should run the country and MWC since you seem to have all the answers! I would love to see you present your expansion plan to the president's of the MWC and watch them eat you alive with questions I know for a fact you couldn't answer. Then again....You do work for a paper that reaches as many people as my church bulletin!

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