Harbaugh not an Irish candidate

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Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby says he is confident coach Jim Harbaugh is not a candidate for the opening at Notre Dame.

In an e-mail Tuesday, Bowlsby says he has talked to athletic director Jack Swarbrick and Harbaugh's agent, Jack Bechta , to confirm Harbaugh is not a candidate to replace Charlie Weis .

In an interview with ESPN before Monday night's Ravens-Packers game, Harbaugh denied a New York Times report that he was set to meet or had already met with Swarbrick. Harbaugh told ESPN "there's no meeting" and he hasn't "talked to Notre Dame about a meeting."

Stanford is close to announcing an extension with Harbaugh. He led the Cardinal (8-4) to their first bowl bid in eight seasons. Stanford plays Oklahoma in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31.

- Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly posted on his Twitter feed Tuesday that he had not interviewed with Notre Dame.

Kelly declined comment to the AP when asked about the Notre Dame coaching vacancy and reports that he could be the next Fighting Irish coach.

MISSISSIPPI: Coach Houston Nutt said Tuesday that he "appreciates the interest" but he is not pursuing the Kansas head coaching job.

Nutt and Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone issued statements after media reports suggested Nutt was interested in the Kansas job. Nutt said he's staying put with the Rebels after guiding them to consecutive Cotton Bowl appearances in his two seasons in Oxford.

Nutt is 17-8 in two seasons in Oxford and has guided Ole Miss (8-4) to consecutive eight-win seasons for the first time since 1989-90. The Rebels play No. 21 Oklahoma State in the Jan. 2 Cotton Bowl.

LOUISVILLE: A person with knowledge of the decision says the school is expected to hire Florida associate coach Charlie Strong as its new football coach.

Strong would replace Steve Kragthorpe , who was fired on Nov. 28 after three disappointing seasons.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal is not yet final. The hiring must be approved by the Louisville Athletic Association's board of directors, which is scheduled to meet today.

FLORIDA STATE: Coach Bobby Bowden isn't apologizing for his team being picked for a New Year's Day bowl game despite its 6-6 record.

The Gator Bowl invited Florida State a day after Bowden announced his retirement, pitting the Seminoles against Bowden's prior employer, 18th-ranked West Virginia. The game sold out in 24 hours.

Bowden says the Seminoles are fortunate to be in the Gator Bowl with so many other schools having better records. Bowden also says the Seminoles were left without a bowl invite in 1978 when they finished 8-3.

Bowden is happy that he'll coach his last game against West Virginia, the school the Seminoles played to start their string of 28 consecutive bowl invitations.

AWARDS: Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart won the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach. Alabama leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 11 points per game. The Broyles Award is named for former Arkansas coach Frank Broyles . More than 25 of his assistants became head coaches.

- Alabama's Rolando McClain has won the Butkus Award as college football's top linebacker.

He was presented the award Tuesday morning in a surprise visit by Dick Butkus , a Hall of Fame linebacker and the award's namesake. McClain was only told to come to coach Nick Saban 's office for media interviews.


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