Tonight's BYU-Utah State game won't be the widest distribution the Cougars have on TV this season. It won't be as widely distributed as last night's Oregon State-at-Utah game.

But it's a great situation.

Local viewers can watch the game on KJZZ. Because USU has a deal with Ch. 14.

And, by local viewers, I mean pretty much everyone in Utah (and parts of Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada) who has a television. Whether they're hooked up to to a cable/satellite system or not.

Meanwhile, viewers across the country who have BYUTV on their cable/satellite systems can watch the game, too. And there are upwards of 50 million homes that get BYUTV.

That's about 20 million fewer homes than get Versus (which telecast the Utes on Thursday). But it's also more than 20 million more homes than have CBS C.

And it's about 48 million more homes than get The mtn.


CHANGING HIS TUNE: Remember when then-ESPN college football analyst Trev Alberts was Public Enemy No. 1 for then-Utah football coach Urban Meyer and Ute fans? In 2004 Alberts derided Utah because of what he called the team's weak schedule.

Fast forward four years and Alberts is on CBS College Sports singing BYU's praises while a lot of football "experts" are criticizing the Cougars because of what they call a weak schedule.

"I think BYU is a different team. This not a Boise State," Alberts said on "College Sports Tonight." "This is a team that can line up and flat out beat you physically. That's the difference with BYU. I think the coaches across the country understand this type of BYU team.

"Here's what they've done most importantly — they've beaten two teams from the Pac-10. They've done all you can do. They played Wyoming last week and beat them 44-0. There is nothing they are going to be able to do until they play Utah, as to when they can obviously make a statement. They have made their statement already."

Wow. That's quite a switch.

I suppose it's worth pointing out that when Alberts made his comments about Utah, he was working for ESPN. And the Mountain West had already announced it was quitting that network for a new deal with CSTV. And Alberts now works for CBS C, which is the new name for CSTV.


NOT EVERYONE AT ESPN is negative about Mountain West Conference teams. Doug Flutie sang BYU's praises on Wednesday night, saying the Cougars had the best shot at a BCS bowl game and citing the quality of their wins and upcoming schedule.

And Chris Fowler actually named the BYU-Utah rivalry as one of the best in the country (at least this year). He put the game in the same league as Oklahoma-Texas, Alabama-LSU and Penn State-Ohio State.

"I have witnessed just one of these wars" in 2004, Fowler blogged. "It did not disappoint. Great atmosphere. It would shut down the state of Utah for the week leading up to Nov. 22 — if both the Cougars and Utes arrive perfect — with the Mountain West title and the BCS at-large bid piled on top of bitter bragging rights. Could be a lot more at stake in this game than there is for Michigan-Ohio State on the same day."


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com