NCF Nation: Joe Barton

1. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) again has championed a college football playoff, which may be good news for the BCS. Barton became persona non grata on Capitol Hill last week for speaking out in defense of BP after it agreed to put $20 billion in escrow for victims of its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. To paraphrase syndicated columnist Mark Shields, these days Barton couldn’t get a resolution passed in favor of Mother’s Day.

2. In the 3-Point Stance last Thursday, I wrote that the Mountain West Conference lost a step in trading Utah for Boise State. Broncos fans excoriated me in part because, they said, I underreported Boise State’s athletic budget. They are right. I was wrong. I didn’t realize my database dated back to 2005. As the Idaho Statesman reported this month, Utah’s athletic budget is $27.8 million; Boise State’s is $25.8 million. The MWC came out a lot closer to whole than I wrote.

3. Special teams play often is a source of angst in early-season games. That won’t be the case at UCLA. Kicker Kai Forbath is a machine inside of 50 yards. Thanks to punter Jeff Locke, the Bruins led the Pac-10 in net punting. Senior Christian Yount will be a four-year starter at long-snapper. And Josh Smith, expected to be ready after an April knee injury, set return records at Colorado in 2008 before transferring to Westwood. Don’t underestimate the Bruins’ early edge.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin:

As much a part of holiday bowl games are the news conferences that take place several weeks before the games.

Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Florida's Urban Meyer met in a casino in Hollywood, Fla., on Wednesday. Missouri's Gary Pinkel and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald are hooking up at a golf tournament in San Antonio today.

With many of the top Big 12 players in Orlando, Fla., tonight, for the Home Depot/ESPNU College Football Awards Show, here are some links to get you ready for those festivities.

  • Bob Stoops indirectly helped lead Urban Meyer to Florida after Meyer called him four years ago asking about the positives of the Florida job, Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun writes. Stoops was defensive coordinator at Florida from 1996-98.
  • Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln-Journal Star weighs in on the approaching battle next season to replace starting quarterback Joe Ganz. Among the contenders are Cody Green, Kody Spano, Patrick Witt and Zac Lee.
  • U.S. Rep Joe Barton (R-Texas) has no vested interests in the BCS considering he graduated from Texas A&M. And he still wants to do away with the current controversial method of settling college football's champion, according to Anna M. Tinsley of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
  • Former Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione received the VIP treatment as he conducted his second interview with San Diego State officials about their vacant head coaching job, the San Diego Union-Tribune's Brent Schrotenboer writes. San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson declined to reveal whether he had talked about the vacancy to Franchione, his coach at TCU.
  • Martin Manley of the Kansas City Star's fine blog, "Under Further Review," spells out the scenario where Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech could finish 1-2-3 in the final national polls after the bowl games.
  • Kansas coaches are experimenting during bowl practice with switching Angus Quigley, the team's second leading rusher this season, to linebacker, Dugan Arnett of the Lawrence Journal-World reports.

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