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3-point stance: ND winning close ones

1. The surprise is not that four of No. 5 Notre Dame’s seven victories have been by seven points or fewer. It’s that four other teams -- No. 16 Louisville, No. 24 Ohio, Ohio State and Tulsa -- also are 4-0 in such close games. Tulsa? At the other end of the spectrum, Kansas and Akron are 0-3. Last, what do No. 1 Alabama and New Mexico State (1-6) have in common. No games decided by a touchdown or less. Ditto for No. 4 Oregon, No. 15 Rutgers and, perhaps strangest of all, Bowling Green (5-3).

2. The BCS commissioners had perfectly good reasons for taking victory margin out of the BCS formula. It lowers the incentive to run up the score. But did anyone think of the flip side? As someone who rode on the West Virginia bandwagon, I ask with the zeal of the converted: How in the world can the Mountaineers lose consecutive games by 35 and 41 points and still be 19th in the BCS ratings?

3. The road to an eighth straight Division III Championship between Wisconsin-Whitewater and Mount Union may have one too many curves. No. 5 Wisconsin-Whitewater (5-2), winner of four of the last five D-III titles, had its 27-game conference winning streak snapped Saturday by No. 10 Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 28-13. No. 1 Mount Union (7-0), meanwhile, won an NCAA-record-tying sixth consecutive shutout, 51-0, over Otterbein. With career win No. 324, Purple Raider coach Larry Kehres passed Bear Bryant for fourth overall.