College Football Notebook

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Associated Press
The college football notebook …
WINSTON-SALEM ó A season ago, the Wake Forest defense folded like origami when pressed by aggressive ACC offenses.
“This ain’t the same defense,” said Wake Forest senior defensive end Kyle Wilber, whose team isn’t playing anything like the 2010 Demon Deacons team that finished 3-9, won just one ACC contest and were throttled 31-0 by Florida State.
These Deacs (4-1, 3-0 ACC) forced five turnovers — four interceptions — posted two sacks and recorded a safety in a 35-30 victory over the No. 23-ranked Seminoles on Saturday.
Wake, which had started 2-0 seven times in the conference’s 58-year history, starts 3-0 in the ACC for the first time ever.
These Deacs ó their confidence surging after four consecutive wins óare 4-1 for the first time since 2008. These Deacs say they are more resilient than what they appeared to be in a season-opening overtime loss to Syracuse.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. ó Virginia used its bye week to try to work out some of the wrinkles from the first five games ó and to get a head start on its preparations for the offensive force of Georgia Tech.
Coach Mike London said the week gave he and his coaching staff the chance to assess what Virginia (3-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) has done well during its up-and-down start to the season, and where it has struggled.
Virginia looked strong in beating William & Mary and in getting its first road victory since 2009 with a dramatic comeback at Indiana. But the Cavaliers have struggled since then, losing to North Carolina and Southern Miss.
TUCSON, Az. ó Arizona coach Mike Stoops had been given some leeway for last season’s collapse. He had, after all, led the Wildcats to three straight bowls for just the second time in school history.
But when the losses continued to pile up this season, the latitude was gone.
Arizona fired Stoops midway through his eighth season, ending a run that started off well before ending with a thud in the desert.
Stoops, 49, had 41-50 record at Arizona, including 27-38 in conference games.
CORAL GABLES, Fla. ó Florida, Florida State and Miami share countless bonds.
Championship traditions. Heisman Trophy legacies. Legendary coaches. NFL greats.
And now, mediocrity.
All are unranked, the first time that’s happened simultaneously since 1982. The Seminoles and Hurricanes have losing records after five games. The season isn’t half over and all three are already out of the national championship picture. Florida State and Miami will need miracles to happen if they’re to have even a tiny chance of getting back into the Atlantic Coast Conference race.
The so-called Sunshine State “Big 3” have combined to win 10 national titles and six Heisman trophies in the last three decades. Now they say it’s time to start climbing again.
NEW YORK ó Big East schools gave a go-ahead Monday for the conference to expand to as many as 12 teams for football, a move that could involve adding six members.
The schools’ presidents and chancellors gave approval for the league to talk with outside schools. The Big East said in a statement that it’s “considering moving to a model that includes 12 football playing schools.”
Syracuse and Pittsburgh started the recent exodus by deciding to leave for the Atlantic Coast Conference. The governor of Connecticut has said UConn also is interested in the ACC, and there has been speculation that Rutgers, too, could leave the Big East.
The league thought it had strengthened its football status by adding Texas Christian. But TCU reversed course and accepted an invitation to join the Big 12 on Monday. TCU will have to pay the Big East a $5 million fee to leave without ever playing a league game.
Without TCU, the Big East would be down to six football schools: West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, Rutgers and Connecticut. The league also includes DePaul, Marquette, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova, Georgetown, Providence and Notre Dame for sports other than football.
East Carolina has applied for membership to the Big East. Conference USA members Central Florida and Memphis also have been looking to join a conference with an automatic bid in the Bowl Championship Series.
Interim Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas says the league is set with 10 teams for 2012 with the addition of TCU, even though Missouri is exploring a possible departure.
Neinas says if Missouri decides to go to another conference, it wouldn’t be for the 2012 season. Missouri is investigating whether to join the SEC, though the school has not ruled out remaining in the Big 12.
TCU accepted an invitation this week to join the Big 12.