3-point stance: ACC schools stick together

April, 23, 2013
4/23/13
5:00
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1. The ACC administrators all leapt to praise commissioner John Swofford on Monday for keeping the league united for the next 14 years. OK, fine. But it seems to me that the praise belongs to the schools themselves. North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Florida State, Clemson -- nearly every ACC institution has had its name linked to another league. The schools decided they had enough money, and stuck with their history and tradition. They stuck with each other. And Maryland will go play Purdue.

2. Oklahoma State senior cornerback Justin Gilbert picked off two passes in the spring game Saturday and returned them for 108 yards. Head coach Mike Gundy praised him, of course, but Gundy’s comment last week is what caught my eye. “Justin’s had a really nice change of attitude in the past few months,” Gundy said. Or, as Hall of Fame coach Don James of Washington once said. “When they’re freshmen, you wonder why you recruited them. When they’re seniors, you wish they would never leave.”

3. The performance of the spring in the SEC goes to the Auburn fans. The Tigers are coming off a 3-9 season and have lost 10 consecutive SEC games. Yet 83,000 fans turned out for the spring game Saturday, about 5,000 more than rival Alabama, the BCS champion, drew at the same time. Yes, the Auburn fans went to say goodbye to the trees at Toomer’s Corner. But the truth is, that spirit is more important than the changes made by new coach Gus Malzahn. That spirit will keep Auburn from staying down long.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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