Mountain West Championship: Who Will Watch This Game?
The Mountain West is avoiding a late kick off.
Should fans be cheering for an early kick to the title game?
Most people who watch Mountain West football expect a late kick of around 10 p.m. ET or later but this weekend is an exception as the conference title game goes in primetime at 7:45 p.m. ET and on ESPN.
Boise State and Fresno State fans, players and media members should be excited about not having to stay up past midnight in their respective time zones.
However, this week is a bit different and a later kick or even an afternoon kick would have benefitted the league the most. With the current kick time the title game will go up against the Big Ten title game on Fox (8 p.m. ET) and on ABC the ACC game between two top 10 teams in Miami and Clemson also at 8 p.m. ET.
This means that not a lot of people, and probably less than normal, will watch the current time slot.
The league did air the first two title games at 10 p.m. ET kick on CBS for but that didn’t go over well as some local CBS affiliates decided not to air the game on its local channel but rather push it to an alternate or digital channel. Also the late kick is not great and weather can be an issue for the Mountain West teams in early December and late at night.
There seem to be other options. Play the game at the 10 p.m. or later time slot which has been a staple all year and stick on ESPN. The other option would be to play the game at 3:30 p.m. ET. Yes, that would conflict with the SEC title game at 4 p.m. ET but that would be it. A good chunk of the games are noon matchups and a few Sun Belt games sprinkled in during that time.
Instead, ESPN and ESPN2 are airing two basketball games in No. 1 Duke vs. South Dakota and No. 7 Kentucky vs. Harvard. The ranked teams are great but the opponents are pretty bad, sorry Harvard and South Dakota. Not sure why ESPN couldn’t put this game in the afternoon which would likely would have given them better rankings than random college basketball games, but maybe I underestimate the power of Duke and Kentucky basketball fans.
What it really comes down to is that the Mountain West is at the beck and call of its TV partners and must play when and on what channel. That means this game is going up against to giants of a game that each feature a ranked team vs. ranked team.
The Mountain West fans will watch this game but unless the other two matchups are duds the conference championship will be left in the dust even though this rematch has the potential to be a good one.