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Tuesday, March 18, 2014
3-point stance: Playoff pays off

By Ivan Maisel

1. It might be the first unforeseen benefit of the College Football Playoff: the major programs are curtailing their junk-food intake and increasing the amount of meat on their schedules. Just last week, UCLA and Texas A&M announced a home-and-home. Here’s the best part: only two extra slots are available, yet dozens of FBS programs have upped their games. That’s quite a bang for the playoff buck.

2. Florida might be the top seed in March Madness, but there’s one viewpoint that illustrates how football dominates the Deep South. Five of the BCS teams from last fall made the NCAA Tournament field: Baylor, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Stanford. Five BCS teams failed to make the field: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State and UCF. That’s two SEC teams, two football-first ACC teams, and one of the southern-most teams in the American. In related news, Alabama began spring practice Saturday.

3. A federal judge sentenced former Fiesta Bowl executive director John Junker to eight months in prison last week for his role in a conspiracy in which the bowl reimbursed employees who made illegal campaign contributions to politicians. Junker became a symbol for bowl excess, and the scandal helped usher in the playoff era. But let me remind everyone that Junker spent a lot of that excess on promoting college football as the game’s popularity exploded during the BCS era. Athletic directors, coaches and sportswriters all enjoyed his largesse. Fans benefited from it, too.