The Mountain West Conference will kick off the 2007 season with more planned TV games than any time in history. Even the old WAC didn't have this many TV games.

It is also a fact that these games will be limited in scope to who actually sees them.

And that's the bamboo shoot under the fingernails of league fans.

Over the summer, as the MWC has asked its fans to

mount an assault on DirectTV and DishNetwork, there have been reams of outstanding fan e-mail darting back and forth over cyberspace.

In salute to devoted and committed MWC fans from around the country, in this first of the season prediction columns, here is one of the most recent commentaries, and likely the best I've seen, from a communications expert, who wants his identity withheld:

"I am disappointed that the media has let The mtn. and Comcast off so easy. Comcast has been able to play the Mountain West schools, the public and the media to perfection.

"I have been a senior executive in the communications industry; let me outline their marketing plan:

"First, cable subscribership is low in Utah compared to other markets. The conventional wisdom is that many of the conservative Utah public do not want to have the cable 'influence' in their homes.

"The answer to increasing subscribers was to enter into an exclusive agreement to broadcast BYU and U. of U. sports. Since there are many sports fans who watch those schools' sports (especially football), Comcast would be able to (and they did) increase their cable market penetration. BYU also made a huge mistake not keeping the rights to show rebroadcasts over KBYU.

"Since Direct TV has a monopoly on the NFL ticket and won't give Comcast a reasonable fee for those broadcasting rights, Comcast, in a small way, would be able to stick it to Direct TV with The mtn. network.

"Comcast aggressively marketed to the Utah market that their system would be the only one to offer BYU and the U. of U. sports. In fact, they were marketing that way up to a little over a month ago. After the fan outcry, they changed their marketing approach to having the fans call Direct and Dish TV directly. By calling the satellite customer care centers, it deflected attention to Comcast and was another advantage to Comcast because of the additional cost incurred by the satellite TV centers to take the calls.

"To generate additional income, Comcast required subscribers to take the upgraded cable package to get The mtn. Additionally, Comcast is broadcasting some of the games on CSTV, which requires yet another upgrade (at least in Utah County) and additional cost.

"Bottom line, Comcast gets a monopoly on the MWC games, they get more subscribers, they generate more money through their premium packages, they stick it to the satellite companies, they increase the satellite companies' cost of doing business by getting us to engage their customer care centers and sit back and chuckle that no one has yet figured out their plan.

"If we really want to get the MWC games on satellite, the best thing to do is to call and write the CEO of Comcast. I can guarantee you that if he gets several hundred or several thousand calls and letters, they will change their strategy. CEOs don't like to be bothered by their customers.

"I suggest a telephone and letter campaign to the CEO, the vice president of consumer and products and the COO at Comcast.

"Here is the contact information (editor's note: all three can be reached at the same mailing address of 1500 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102): CEO — Brian L. Roberts. Sr. VP Corporate Communications — D'Arcy Rudnay. Chief Operating Officer — Stephen B. Burke.

"If we do a call-in campaign, don't waste your time calling the customer care centers. call Comcast Corporate Headquarters, (215) 665-1700."

This week's predictions:

UNLV 33, Utah State 10: Aggie defense is improved but not enough to stop the Rebels

Oregon State 24, Utah 21: A turnover or two in the return of Brian Johnson will be costly on the road.

Boise State 42, Weber State 14: The 24th-ranked Broncos get a gimme out of the chute.

Colorado 17, Colorado State 14: The Buffs have more talent and should prevail over this MWC rival.

Wyoming 21, Virginia 14: The 'Poke defense will rise up and make a statement to the ACC.

Air Force 28, South Carolina State 14: The new Falcon offense makes its debut.

BYU 21, Arizona 14: The Cougars keep a home win streak alive, and Hall successfully makes his debut at QB.

TCU 14, Baylor 10: The Frogs start a trend of defensive wins with low scores.

New Mexico 17, UTEP 14: Rocky Long will have his team fired up for this opener across the border.


E-mail: dharmon@desnews.com