3-point stance: FIU's stand-up coach

1. If the timing had been different, Mario Cristobal might have decided to leave Florida International, where he has been head coach for five seasons, and return to Rutgers. Cristobal had reasons to stay. He’s a south Florida guy. A team that went 0-12 in 2006, the year before he arrived, has gone to bowls the past two season. But in an age when coaches leave without saying goodbye, Cristobal didn’t abandon his team or the recruits that have agreed to sign with FIU on Wednesday. That makes him a stand-up guy.

2. Texas has gone 13-12 over the past two seasons, and persistent rumors regarding coach Mack Brown made athletic director DeLoss Dodds recommend a contract extension through the end of the decade to the university regents. Dodds all but rolled his eyes when he announced it, decrying the state of recruiting today. Maybe it’s a coincidence that Plano West defensive end Bryce Cottrell and Van (Texas) linebacker Dalton Santos switched from Oregon and Tennessee, respectively, to sign with Texas. Maybe not.

3. USC, on the heels of its 10-2 finish, is ranked 16th in the latest ESPN recruiting rankings. The Trojans might be higher were it not for the fact that they have only 14 commitments. That’s because USC is in the first of three years in which the school may sign only 15 players. As good as the Trojans were last fall, and as high as they have soared in the early rankings for next season, the NCAA-imposed recruiting penalty is going to take a toll. After struggling in 2010, the success of 2011 may be the eye of the storm.