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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
3-point stance: ND's Kelly seeks balance

By Ivan Maisel

1. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly captured the debate that is both eternal and internal in the bowl season. The coaching staff tries to determine how much hitting to do during bowl practice to keep a team sharp without getting anyone hurt. “I know how important it is. I know you need to do it,” Kelly said. “But ask any coach that’s sitting in this chair, and they’re going, ‘I really don’t want to lose Manti (Te'o, the All-America linebacker) to a practice tackling drill indoors in December.’”

2. The Mid-American Conference might have had its best season ever, what with Northern Illinois doing some BCS busting and six other MAC teams playing in the postseason. However, the league has begun the postseason as if it’s stretched too thin. Toledo and Ball State have been routed by fellow non-AQs Utah State and Central Florida, respectively -- both underrated teams. Maybe it’s just bad matchups. In the Military Bowl on Thursday afternoon, Bowling Green (8-4) plays a San Jose State (10-2) team that nearly upset No. 6 Stanford.

3. Happy 88th birthday to Arkansas legend Frank Broyles, who retired from coaching 36 years ago with a record of 149-62-6 (.700) but served as athletic director for more than three decades. Broyles’ former assistants included former Razorbacks players Barry Switzer and Jimmy Johnson, who won four national championships between them. But he was best known for his friendship with Darrell Royal, the coach of his then-archrival, Texas. They retired together in 1976, played golf together often and never discussed their 1969 showdown, when the No. 1 Longhorns defeated the No. 2 Hogs, 15-14.