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Thursday, November 11, 2010
3-point stance: Best late-blooming teams

By Ivan Maisel

1. Oregon is cracking down on vendors selling unlicensed merchandise outside of Autzen Stadium. I understand the desire to protect a school’s trademark (and its cut of the take). But when I covered the Stanford game last month, I loved the variety of clever t-shirts that Ducks fans created for the occasion. Schools rarely sell T-shirts that veer from the obvious. Protecting the brand usually turns into protecting the bland.

2. This year’s best late-blooming teams, as I wrote yesterday, look to be Virginia Tech, Florida, Texas A&M and Penn State. The best late-blooming team of the last 25 years is Florida State in 1989. The Seminoles began the season 0-2 and won 10 straight to finish second behind Miami, a team that Florida State beat, 24-10. After that season, Alabama tried to hire Bowden. As he described in his book "Called to Coach," he turned down what once had been his dream job. “Too late,” Bowden said.

3. Not that the ACC Coastal Division is in much doubt -- Virginia Tech has a two-game lead on the field with three games to play -- but the apparent decision by Miami to hold out quarterback Jacory Harris for a second consecutive game because of a concussion means that his first game may be against the Hokies on Nov. 20. As Nick Foles of Arizona proved at Stanford last week, you can miss two games and need a half to get your timing back. Pencil Virginia Tech into the ACC Championship Game? Go ahead, use a pen.