3-point stance: Blame it on geography

December, 9, 2013
12/09/13
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1. Oregon finished 10th in the final BCS standings, the fifth consecutive year in which the Ducks finished the regular season in the top 10. But Oregon’s streak of BCS bowl invitations stopped at four. The reason? Bad geographical luck. This year, the Tostitos Fiesta had the last pick among the BCS bowls. The Discover Orange took No. 12 Clemson from the ACC, the Orange’s host conference. The Allstate Sugar took No. 11 Oklahoma, a lot closer to New Orleans than Eugene is. If the Fiesta had an earlier pick, No. 15 UCF would be playing closer to home instead of Arizona.

2. College football is played by young men who are faster and bigger than any who have come before them. It is coached by men who have more information at their fingertips than has ever been available. And yet, if nothing else, the 2013 season proved that college football has never been more unpredictable. Auburn, Missouri and Duke were all picked to finished fifth or lower in their divisions. Baylor was picked to finish fifth in the Big 12. I can’t explain it, but I thought it was worth pointing out.

3. My three favorite bowls other than the BCS Championship Game: a) the Rose Bowl -- No. 4 Michigan State and No. 5 Stanford play similar throwback styles. Fedoras welcome; b) the AT&T Cotton -- No. 8 Missouri (highest-ranked non-BCS bowl team) and No. 13 Oklahoma State features two explosive offenses and two physical defenses; c) AdvoCare V100 Bowl -- the tailbacks at Arizona and Boston College, Ka’Deem Carey and Andre Williams, respectively, combined to rush for 3,818 yards and 34 touchdowns.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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