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Friday, January 1, 2010
Three-point stance: Rosy outlook

By Ivan Maisel

1. A year ago at the Rose Bowl, we heard USC players complaining about being there for the fourth consecutive year. At the head coaches’ press conference Thursday, both Chip Kelly of Oregon and Jim Tressel of Ohio State sounded almost giddy about the Kickoff Luncheon to be held later in the day, much less the game itself. “I want our players to savor the moment. That’s what it’s all about,” Kelly said. And the next time, I bet the Trojans don’t complain at all.
2. It’s always difficult to figure out which teams will be ready for a bowl. Some lose their timing; others, their motivation. Some see their game as a reward. Others, after a season-ending loss, see it as a disappointment. But none of those issues ever apply to service academies. Navy and Air Force played with discipline and crispness Thursday. They won routs, and no one should be a bit surprised.
3. Oklahoma’s 31-27 victory over Stanford in the Sun Bowl served as a microcosm of the Sooners’ 8-5 season. They dominated the stats, outgaining the Cardinal, 477-262, won the first downs 28-13 and ran 89 offensive plays. Yet Oklahoma won by only four points. Blame 10 points allowed on turnovers and some freshman-like decisions from freshman quarterback Landry Jones. Injuries and inexperience cost Oklahoma this season. The Sooners should return to the top 10 in 2010.