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For the first time since BYU football went independent, ESPN will not air a Cougar home game it could have carried.

Saturday's Fresno State-at-BYU matchup will be on BYUtv. ESPN won't be entirely out of the picture; the Cougars-Bulldogs game will be online on ESPN3.

With one exception, every game airing on an ESPN channel on Saturday features at least one ranked team (three are matchups of two ranked teams) and/or one or more teams from Power Five conferences (13 are matchups of two P5 teams).

The BYU-Fresno State game is, well, sort of a dog. The Bulldogs (3-7) aren't going anywhere. For the Cougars (7-3), it's only a question of whether they're going to the Las Vegas Bowl or the Hawaii Bowl.

ESPN does have one bigger dog on Saturday — Tulane (3-7) at SMU (1-9) at 6 p.m. on ESPNews, but you could argue BYU is better off on BYUtv.

ESPN has fulfilled the terms of its contract — a minimum of three home games on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC and one on ESPNU. Home games against Boise State and UConn were on ESPN2; Cincinnati was on ESPN; and East Carolina was on ESPNU.

In the previous four years, ESPN exceeded the terms of that contract. It's less surprising that ESPN chose not to air this Fresno State game than that it did air games against New Mexico State, Hawaii, Middle Tennessee and UNLV when it didn't have to.

Airing the game on BYUtv is good for the group that's a scheduling afterthought — fans in the stands. BYU-Fresno State kicks off at 1 p.m. on Saturday, when the forecast calls for highs in the upper 40s and lows in the mid-20s.

Of the 24 games ESPN has telecast from LaVell Edwards Stadium since the start of the 2011 season, only two have been in the afternoon — and 10 have kicked off after 8 p.m.

Good news for Ute fans

Not only is Saturday's home game against UCLA at 1:30 p.m. on Fox/Ch. 13), but the Pac-12 Network will air Colorado at Utah at 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 28.

Roth was right

Pac-12 Network football analyst Yogi Roth was right, although Ute fans certainly wish he wasn't.

Back on Oct. 31, before Utah took the field against Oregon State, Roth said he expected the Utes to handle the Beavers. And Washington, which they did. And to beat Colorado on Nov. 28.

Roth said Ute fans should worry about Arizona, which was 5-3 at the time and 5-5 before beating Utah 37-30 in double OT on Saturday night.

"They just can't get beat against an Arizona team that people aren't giving enough credit to," Roth said.

OK, he also expected Utah to finish the regular season 11-1, adding the Utes were in "great position to get to the college football playoff."

Musburger on SECN

The SEC Network's telecast of the BYU-Missouri game was not a homer job. There was no cheering for the Tigers. If anything, the Cougars were given too much credit for their seven wins and five-game win streak (which Missouri ended 20-16) with far less talk about the relative softness of those wins. (The combined record of the seven teams BYU beat is 32-39.)

Brent Musburger was, however, true to form. As has been the case for decades, he thinks that BYU is in Salt Lake City, not Provo.

And when talking about BYU's Heisman Trophy-winner, Ty Detmer, and his nephew, current BYU backup QB Koy Detmer Jr., Musburger "informed" viewers that Ty's brother, Koy Detmer Sr., followed in his footsteps at BYU.

Koy Sr. played for Colorado.

Scott D. Pierce covers TV for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.