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Tuesday, March 15, 2011
3-point stance: Football madness

By Ivan Maisel

1. The popularity of March Madness is one of the engines that drives the interest for an FBS playoff. The moving parts of the basketball tournament also expose the academics’ arguments against a playoff as canards. As an assistant football coach said to me Monday, “UConn played five days in New York, and we can’t have a playoff because we’re going to miss classes?” The best arguments against the playoff revolve around what it might do to the regular season. The rest are specious.

2. So what do we make of the fact that only three of the 10 BCS bowl teams from last season made the NCAA men’s basketball tournament field? We all noted last December how Auburn and Stanford had played in only one BCS bowl before last season, which was one more than TCU, UConn and Arkansas. UConn aside, that group hasn’t burned it up in men’s basketball, either. Oddly enough, March Madness renews the question: has the power in college football begun to shift?

3. Another example of the rise of Boise State to the college football elite: A few days after the Bronco offensive staff went to Tuscaloosa to brainstorm with Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and his coordinators went to Boise to do the same. Stoops repaid a visit that Boise State head coach Chris Petersen made to Norman last year. The Broncos are hanging out with the swells in the standings during the season and in the meeting rooms afterward.