- Ivan Maisel, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. In his first coaching term, Chris Ault won so much at Nevada he was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame. In his second coaching stint, when he came out of retirement to take over the Wolf Pack again, Ault invented the Pistol offense, led Nevada to a 13-1 record and a No. 11 ranking in 2010 and into the Mountain West Conference. Ault, still young at 66, retired Friday. Can’t wait to see what he does when he comes out of retirement again.
2. Baylor and Syracuse may not make the top 25 with those 8-5 records. But if college football had a March Madness-style playoff, you wouldn’t want to draw either the Bears or the Orange in the first two rounds. Syracuse lost to its first three FBS opponents (all bowl teams) but won six of seven down the stretch, including embarrassing West Virginia, 38-14, in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Baylor won five of its last six, including routing then-No. 1 Kansas State and a Holiday Bowl thumping over No. 17 UCLA. Make a note for your 2013 preseason rankings.
3. Michigan State stayed in character Saturday night in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. The Spartans made it seven games -- more than half of their 2012 contests -- in which they scored 17 points or fewer. Amazing Point I: By beating TCU, 17-16, Michigan State went 3-4 in those games. Amazing Point II: Pat Narduzzi, the defensive coordinator who has made the Spartans defense so gnarly for six years, hasn’t gotten a head coaching job yet.