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Thursday, December 22, 2011
3-point stance: Why bowls are fun

By Ivan Maisel

1. The Poinsettia Bowl provided a textbook example of why motivation is critical in bowl games. No. 18 TCU, 10-2, almost made a BCS bowl. Instead, the Horned Frogs ended up in a pre-Christmas bowl playing 8-4 Louisiana Tech. TCU failed to understand that the Bulldogs lost narrowly to three bowl teams before winning seven consecutive games to take the WAC championship. That’s why the Horned Frogs had to come from a touchdown down in the fourth quarter to win, 31-24. That’s why bowls are so much fun.

2. Houston athletic director Mack Rhoades promoted interim head coach Tony Levine to the top job, replacing departed coach Kevin Sumlin. It's an interesting choice as the Cougars head to the Big East. Levine worked for Tommy Tuberville and Bobby Petrino, with a brief stint in the NFL as well, before Sumlin hired him. In six years at Akron and Houston, Rhoades has never before hired a football coach. If he can pick them like his predecessor Dave Maggard, who brought Art Briles and Sumlin to Houston, then the Cougars will be fine.

3. After 39 seasons as an assistant coach in colleges and the NFL, Norm Chow returns to his home state of Hawaii to become the  Warriors’ head coach. Chow, 65, did wonders as a quarterback guru at BYU, NC State and USC from 1973-2004. Stanford nearly hired him several years ago, and other schools interviewed him. But he never found the right fit. That’s not an issue at Hawaii, which is a good thing, because he will find enough built-in obstacles (geography, fan base, facilities, etc.) to keep him busy.