TALLAHASSEE — Alabama coach Nick Saban said he is impressed by Jimbo Fisher and the work he has done to resuscitate the FSU football program.
Fisher, who was an offensive coordinator under Saban when LSU won a national title in 2003, has resurrected FSU in his four years as head coach. The No. 2 Seminoles are on a collision course to play Saban's No. 1 Alabama team in the BCS national championship game on Jan. 6 if both teams win out.
"I think probably if you look at the whole body of work, and the way they beat people, they're arguably the best team in the country right now," Saban said Wednesday. "And they weren't that when he went there, so they made a significant amount of improvement."
Saban went on to say Fisher was "one of the best coaches we've had," alluding to their time coaching together.
Rice 37, Ala.-Birm. 34, OT: Luke Turner's 1-yard touchdown run in overtime lifted the Owls (8-3, 6-1 C-USA) past the host Blazers (2-9, 1-6). Ty Long had kicked a 43-yard field goal on the previous possession of overtime.
SE La. 52, Nicholls St. 27: The Lions (10-2, 7-0 Southland) amassed 702 yards of total offense, including 377 yards rushing, against the Colonels (4-8, 1-6). Nicholls State led 14-13 at halftime before Southeastern Louisiana scored 49 second-half points.
Lombardi finalists: UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and Missouri defensive end Michael Sam were named finalists for the Lombardi Award, given to the nation's best lineman or linebacker. The winner will be announced Dec. 11.
Akron: Coach Terry Bowden, who is 4-7 after his inaugural 1-11 season, received a two-year extension that runs through 2018. Bowden, the son of former FSU coach Bobby Bowden, coached at Auburn from 1993-98 and spent three seasons at North Alabama before coming to Akron last season.
Notre Dame: Senior nose guard Louis Nix III had season-ending knee surgery on a torn meniscus, and the projected first-round NFL pick said he has not yet decided whether to turn pro or return. He did not play as a freshman.
Virginia Tech: Senior cornerback Kyle Fuller had surgery to repair a core muscle injury that will sideline him for the remainder of the regular season. He could return in time to play in a bowl game.
Washington: The Pac-12 reprimanded coach Steve Sarkisian for public comments he made about officiating and for revealing private communications he had with conference officials in the wake of a call against UCLA.
USF men's soccer falls to UNC on road
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Omar Holness scored in the third minute and North Carolina (9-5-5) made it hold up, ousting USF 1-0 in the first round of the NCAA men's soccer tournament.
The Bulls (8-3-10) saw their six-match unbeaten streak end, mustering only two shots on goal. UNC travels to California to take on UC-Irvine in the second round Sunday.
"I think going down early … both teams, let's face it, have had trouble scoring goals this year … so to give them the early goal, I felt that fed their energy," USF coach George Kiefer said.
Women's soccer: Dagny Brynjarsdottir scored twice and Florida State (20-1-3) extended its home unbeaten streak to 33 matches with a 3-1 victory over Mississippi (16-6-2) in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Seminoles host Colorado (14-6-2) in the third round at noon Saturday.
Information from Times wires contributed to this report.