3-point stance: Mason brilliant in loss

1. Auburn tailback Tre Mason ran for 195 yards on 34 carries, which is impressive enough. But the Heisman finalist rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in the fourth quarter alone. The Tigers have prided themselves on winning like Stanford, with a running game that just pounds away until the defense wears down. That didn’t happen Monday night because the Auburn defense and special teams faltered. But Mason held up his end of the deal.

2. Over the years, as ticket prices have risen and colleges have looked for more pricey inventory, press boxes have been shifted toward the end zone, or up so high that oxygen masks will drop in case of emergency. The Rose Bowl built two new press boxes, one on each end of the west side of the stadium, much higher than the old stadium. Yet somehow, the seats are better. Maybe because they provide a better view of the San Gabriel Mountains. From where I sit, anyway, the prettiest venue in American sports somehow got prettier.

3. In the final championship game of the BCS era, did you notice how Florida State scored the winning touchdown on a drive that reprised two of the greatest hits of the past 16 years: there was the pass interference call (Miami, 2003); the winning touchdown in the same end zone where Vince Young won the race to the pylon (Texas, 2006). The playoff is next, and after a veerrrry slow start, the BCS set a high standard for the playoff to meet.