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UCLA fires coach, former star player Neuheisel

LOS ANGELES — Rick Neuheisel returned to UCLA determined to do everything correctly after a coaching career filled with big successes and equally big trouble.

Even athletic director Dan Guerrero, who fired Neuheisel Monday after four seasons, agreed the formerly scandal-plagued coach did most everything the right way at his alma mater, where he was once a star quarterback.

All except winning.

UCLA is 21-28 under Neuheisel, who will coach in Friday's Pac-12 title game at Oregon. Offensive coordinator Mike Johnson will be the interim coach if the Bruins (6-6) receive a bowl berth.

Guerrero fired Neuheisel two days after a 50-0 loss to USC, UCLA's largest loss since 1930 in their crosstown rivalry game. The Bruins also lost 48-12 to lowly Arizona.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Boise State's Chris Petersen and Houston's Kevin Sumlin are on UCLA's short list of preferred candidates.

LOUISVILLE: Coach Charlie Strong isn't a man to sit and watch to see if the Cardinals will play in a BCS bowl.

He has leaves to take care of.

Strong, a former Florida assistant, said he cleaned his front yard the day after Friday's 34-24 win at USF gave Louisville at least a share of the Big East title. He has saved the back for Saturday as his team's BCS fate is decided.

"When I have a chance off, I find something else to do," Strong said.

If Cincinnati loses to Connecticut on Saturday, the Cardinals will represent the conference in the BCS, most likely the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4 in Miami.

SABAN'S CASE: Nick Saban has a message to voters who help determine if Alabama plays for a national title: Be "fair." The coach of the No. 2 Crimson Tide said voters should not vote against his team just to avoid a rematch with No. 1 LSU. "If somebody does that, I guess it's their choice," Saban said. "…But the whole thing should be based on who's the best two teams." He will spend the week recruiting.

ARIZONA STATE: The school fired coach Dennis Erickson, but will let him coach the Sun Devils (6-6) in their bowl. Erickson, 64, who won two national titles at Miami in the 1980s, will receive half of his $1.5 million salary for the remaining year on his deal.

KANSAS: Ousted coach Turner Gill thanked his players, coaches and even Jayhawks fans who called for his job in a statement released one day after his firing.

RAZORBACK'S FUNERAL: About 1,200 packed Christ the King Catholic Church in Little Rock, Ark., for the funeral of Garrett Uekman, the 19-year-old Arkansas player who died suddenly last week from an undiagnosed heart condition.

IDAHO POTATO BOWL: Utah State accepted a bid to play in the game Dec. 17 in Boise. The Aggies (6-5) will face a MAC foe.

UCLA fires coach, former star player Neuheisel 11/28/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 28, 2011 11:55pm]
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