The fact that the Utah State-UNLV football game wasn't on TV this past Saturday as scheduled is far less surprising than the reaction — or lack thereof — to its absence.
KPNZ-Ch. 24 was planning to carry the game at 8 p.m. But when the hour arrived, viewers found themselves looking at a repeat of "The Practice," the show the station normally airs in the time slot.
Turns out the dreaded technical difficulties reared their ugly head. The explanation is, well, too complicated for most of us to understand. And, frankly, exactly what happened doesn't much matter, except that the folks at Ch. 24 are vowing that they won't let it happen again.
(Apparently, there were problems both on the production end in Las Vegas and on the receiving end in Salt Lake City.)
I'm not going to beat Ch. 24 up over any of this. The station was attempting to make a Utah State game available to local viewers, and that doesn't happen all that often.
(Although Ch. 14 does have the big USU-Troy game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.)
My only criticism of KPNZ is that anybody tuning in late had no idea what was going on. As much as those crawls across the bottom of the screen can be annoying, it would have made sense to run one every few minutes so viewers would have had some sort of confirmation that, yes, they were looking at the right channel but, no, the game isn't on because of technical difficulties.
Frankly, the biggest surprise about the game's unscheduled absence was that there was so little reaction to it. Here at the Deseret Morning News, the sports department took a few calls — maybe half a dozen — on Saturday night. Which isn't many.
I got no calls, no e-mails. Zero. Zip. Nada.
Not even people wondering what happened.
Now, maybe USU fans are just an incredibly intelligent bunch. They had to figure, as we did, that something had gone wrong on the technical end.
But it's also true that if this sort of thing had happened to a game featuring Utah or BYU, our phones would have been ringing off the hook. I would have had dozens of e-mails from outraged fans, many of whom would have — at the very least — questioned my intelligence for listing a game that didn't show up on TV.
And some would have suspected some sort of conspiracy to keep the Utes/Cougars off the air involving those evil Cougars/Utes.
But from USU fans, there was nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada.
Could it be that they just don't care? Could it be that so few of them tuned in looking for the game that there just weren't many Aggie fans who even knew it wasn't on as scheduled?
The generally lousy ratings of Aggie contests when they're playing anybody but BYU or Utah lends credence to that theory.
Not that I'm pushing for USU fans to become as unreasonable as a vocal minority of Utah or BYU fans can be at times, but you've got to wonder how much passion there is for the Aggies.