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College Football notebook

Associated Press

The college football notebook …

CLEMSON, S.C. — In a month, Clemson has gone from thinking about a BCS bowl bid to coach Tommy Bowden just hoping his team gets to finish the year at a bowl game where it’s warm.

After beating Georgia Tech 31-7 on Oct. 21, the Tigers were 7-1, ranked 10th and were the fashionable pick to win the Atlantic Coast Conference. But losses to Virginia Tech and Maryland as well as Saturday’s 31-28 loss to South Carolina leaves Clemson at 8-4 and out of the top 25.

It’s the opposite of the past few seasons, which have seen the Tigers struggle but turn it around as the year winds down.

Bowden still considers this season a success, giving his team a “B” grade. They overcame injuries to at least four starters as well as an accident on the lake this summer involving two of his players that killed an assistant track coach.

He dismissed any thoughts of being disappointed with this season by talking about his senior class’ entire career.

“They’ve accomplished many things over the years. They’ve had an eight-win season back-to-back, which hasn’t been done in 15 or 16 years.”

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FIRED: Arizona State fired coach Dirk Koetter, who led his team to a bowl the last three seasons but rarely beat the best in the Pac-10.

Koetter went 40-33 in six seasons at ASU. There was no word on whether Koetter would coach the team in a bowl game.

The Sun Devils completed a 7-5 regular season with a 28-14 victory over rival Arizona in Tucson on Saturday, clinching their third consecutive postseason berth.

It’s the second time in seven years the school has fired a coach with a winning overall record after he earned a bowl berth. Koetter succeeded Bruce Snyder, who went 58-47 in nine seasons and was dismissed despite getting to the Aloha Bowl in 2000.

Koetter came to ASU from Boise State, where he went 26-10 from 1998-2000 and earned a reputation as an offensive wizard.

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THE RAINBOW WARRIORS: Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan threw three touchdown passes in a wild 42-35 victory over Purdue in the wee hours of Sunday morning for most Americans.

Brennan is now three TD passes shy of David Klingler’s NCAA record of 54 in 1990.

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CRYSTAL BALL: Heading into championship weekend, two of the 10 teams that will play in the Bowl Championship Series have been determined: Ohio State will play for the national title and USC will either play the Buckeyes in Arizona or go to the Rose Bowl.

Boise State is sort of in, too, though its automatic bid for finishing in the top 12 can’t be official until next Sunday when the pairings are set.

Here’s a guess of how they’ll look:

Fiesta Bowl — Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. Boise State (at-large)

Orange Bowl — Georgia Tech (ACC) vs. Florida (at-large)

Sugar Bowl — Arkansas (SEC) vs. Louisville (Big East)

Rose Bowl — Michigan (at-large) vs. Notre Dame (at-large)

Championship game — Ohio State (Big Ten) vs. USC (Pac-10)

The bowls aren’t inclined to making rematches, but how can the Rose Bowl pass up Notre Dame, college football’s cash cow, just because the Irish already lost to Michigan?

The Irish haven’t played in the Rose Bowl since 1925.

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NO THANKS: Arkansas coach Houston Nutt says he is not seeking the open coaching position at Miami.

Nutt, whose No. 8 team is 10-2 and plays No. 4 Florida next Saturday in the SEC championship game, says he is focused only on the Gators.

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DOWNCAST TERPS: It was all there for the Maryland football team. Beat Wake Forest at home, win again and prepare for a trip to Miami for the Orange Bowl.

Great plan, flawed execution in Maryland’s 38-24 loss.

“They played better and didn’t make any mistakes and won,” linebacker Wesley Jefferson said. “The loss hurts. It hurts everybody. It was a blown opportunity.”

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D-IAA PLAYOFFS: Appalachian State won its opening game of the postseason, beating Coastal Carolina 45-28.

The defending champion Mountaineers (11-1) stay home this week for a game against Montana State (8-4) at 4 p.m. Montana State beat Furman.

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