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Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Three-point stance: UCLA's 'special' edge

By Ivan Maisel

1. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) again has championed a college football playoff, which may be good news for the BCS. Barton became persona non grata on Capitol Hill last week for speaking out in defense of BP after it agreed to put $20 billion in escrow for victims of its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. To paraphrase syndicated columnist Mark Shields, these days Barton couldn’t get a resolution passed in favor of Mother’s Day.

2. In the 3-Point Stance last Thursday, I wrote that the Mountain West Conference lost a step in trading Utah for Boise State. Broncos fans excoriated me in part because, they said, I underreported Boise State’s athletic budget. They are right. I was wrong. I didn’t realize my database dated back to 2005. As the Idaho Statesman reported this month, Utah’s athletic budget is $27.8 million; Boise State’s is $25.8 million. The MWC came out a lot closer to whole than I wrote.

3. Special teams play often is a source of angst in early-season games. That won’t be the case at UCLA. Kicker Kai Forbath is a machine inside of 50 yards. Thanks to punter Jeff Locke, the Bruins led the Pac-10 in net punting. Senior Christian Yount will be a four-year starter at long-snapper. And Josh Smith, expected to be ready after an April knee injury, set return records at Colorado in 2008 before transferring to Westwood. Don’t underestimate the Bruins’ early edge.