The Mtn. will be an expected casualty should the Mountain West Conference merge with Conference USA, and that would be a shame.
Yes, the network is a convenient punching bag for what is a terrible TV deal, but The Mtn. isn’t the problem. Without The Mtn., UNLV football fans wouldn’t have seen five games last year, and basketball supporters would be missing out on eight games this season.
The lack of an adequate national contract for the league’s marquee games is the problem, a major reason Boise State couldn’t wait to leave shortly after joining the Mountain West.
The Mountain West’s decision to leave ESPN for CSTV in 2004 was shortsighted by a group of presidents — most aren’t in the league anymore – who didn’t want to get stuck playing football on Tuesday and Wednesday nights along with taking a major cut in TV dollars.
But they should have seen the big picture of the national exposure and credibility ESPN offered and taken the hit — and perhaps still created The Mtn., the first of its kind. That network inspired the creation of the Big Ten Network and others.
Fortunately for UNLV and the Mountain West, a better national TV deal should be presented if the conference merges with C-USA.
But if The Mtn. disappears, so probably will a lot of the games.
■ A GIANT ROUT — The New York Giants’ 17-point win over the Packers on Sunday shouldn’t have been that close because two Green Bay touchdowns followed awful calls, including a ridiculous roughing the passer.
The other was even more egregious, a fumble that referee Bill Leavy refused to overrule even after video replay. The ball could be seen coming out before Green Bay wide receiver Greg Jennings’ calf or knee hit the turf.
Though the NFL defended Leavy’s decision, Leavy blew it.
He’s just fortunate neither call, especially the fumble, affected the game’s outcome. Or the point spread.
“Many of you will assume that the league is merely circling the wagons on this one,” Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio wrote. “Even though the NFL has been candid in the past about some officiating mistakes, that assumption seems to be valid this time around.”
The NFL hasn’t announced whether Leavy will work Sunday’s conference title games or the Super Bowl. The league should take responsibility and make the right call.
■ WE FORGOT WHO? – North Carolina coach Roy Williams remembered wading through the sea of UNLV fans who rushed from the Orleans Arena stands following the Rebels’ takedown of the then-No. 1 team in November.
Watching Florida State fans swamp the aisles Saturday, Williams didn’t wait for the game to end this time. He took his assistants and players with him with 14.2 seconds left.
Well, he took almost all the players. He left five reserves behind to finish the 33-point defeat. Williams later apologized, saying he thought he waved the players off the court.
“I would never leave five kids out there,” Williams told ESPN.com. “If I was going to do that, why wouldn’t I stay out there? I saw it happen one time on TV, and I thought, ‘Why would they leave those kids out there?’ ”
The reserves probably were wondering the same thing.
COMPILED BY MARK ANDERSON LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL