BracketBuster worth it for now

When it comes to being seen on television on a national stage, the Utah State Aggies haven’t received much face time.
Since Western Athletic Conference officials decided not to renew the conference’s television contract with ESPN, very few teams in the league, for that matter, have played on the network.
The Aggies have played a total 10 games on television this year and only two ? New Mexico State (ESPN2) and Vanderbilt (CSTV) have been the only ?national? games, while they have played eight others on FSN-Utah, ESPN Regional and KJZZ.
Officials in the WAC office may not admit it, but the extra money it was asking for and denied by ESPN, wasn’t worth it seeing that the league lost Big Monday and any other contracted games.
I guess hindsight is 20/20.
Hopefully the WAC office has learned its lesson and will get a deal in place even if it is for less money. You can’t bite the hand that feeds you even if it is offering crumbs.
Players like Utah State’s Jaycee Carroll, who with limited TV exposure, was named an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American last year, New Mexico’s Justin Hawkins, and Nevada’s Marcelus Kemp – just to mention a few – could have benefited for being on TV a little more. The national media would have been – at the very least – a little more familiar with their names.
With the limited lack of exposure, Utah State’s ESPN BracketBuster game with UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 22 (ESPNU) at 7 p.m. is a rare opportunity for the Aggies to been seen in more than in just the Intermountain area.
Uitah State is just one of three Western Athletic Conference teams and one of 28 teams nationally to draw a TV game. The Aggies are 2-0 in BracketBuster games with wins over Northwestern State and Oral Roberts.
In that respect, the Aggies consider themselves lucky.
Seventy-two other teams, which saved a date – in the middle of conference play – for a possible BracketBuster TV game, are playing a game, but it’s not considered BracketBuster. On top of that, the home team will have to make a return visit to its BracketBuster opponent next season.
“We’ve been fortunate all three years to get TV games,” Utah State coach Stew Morrill said.
He’s taking the so-far-so-good approach when it comes to the event.
“It’s been good for us, don’t get me wrong, but what about next year if we’re in seventh-place and we’ve got to go wherever – Fordham, Furhman or Ryder, do you think I’m going to be happy? I think the league and everybody has to evaluate the value of BracketBuster. There is value for the teams that are on TV, no question because we are not getting games on TV,” he said.
Yes, the Aggies have been fortunate with two BracketBuster home games, but they are forced to play on the road in tough venues.
In the first year of the event, the Aggies hosted Northwestern State, and then went to NSU the following year for the season opener and got waxed to say the least. Next year, the Aggies travel to familiar territory at Santa Barbara, but it will most likely be early in the year, and UCSB is tough at home.
At the very least the weather will be nice.
The only home game the Aggies received out of the deal was Oral Roberts last year.
Until the WAC gets a TV deal in place, BracketBuster is a must for the league. The coaches may not like it, but some TV is better than nothing.

Leave a comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.

*