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Houston fires Dimel

Houston football coach Dana Dimel was fired Sunday after leading the Cougars to seven wins in three seasons. Dimel went 4-7 this season and 7-26 overall, including an 0-11 record last year -- the first winless season in Houston history. Athletics Director Dave Maggard said a search would begin immediately for a successor. Dimel led Wyoming to a 23-12 record before taking over at Houston.

Huskies on the map

Connecticut players are hoping UConn becomes known as something other than a basketball school after the biggest victory in the program's three years in Division I-A. The Huskies beat Iowa State, 37-20, in their season finale on Saturday, dominating a team that was ranked ninth nationally in mid-October.

"We just put ourselves on the map," quarterback Dan Orlovsky said. "When people hear about UConn from now on, they're going to think basketball AND football. It's not only going to be a basketball school."

Connecticut, which beat the University at Buffalo, 24-3, in September, finished the season with four straight victories and outscored those opponents 199-55.

QB on crutches

Washington State quarterback Jason Gesser was to begin rehab work Sunday after spraining his right ankle against Washington. Washington State wasn't sure how long Gesser might be sidelined or if he'll be available for the team's game at UCLA on Dec. 7.

The Cougars (9-2, 6-1 Pac-10) need to win that game to clinch a Rose Bowl berth after losing, 29-26, in triple overtime Saturday against Washington. X-rays taken after the game showed that Gesser didn't break the ankle. The quarterback will be on crutches indefinitely.

Irish thinking ahead

Notre Dame had no time to savor its win over Rutgers. Not with a trip to Southern California looming and a Bowl Championship Series berth possibly at stake. The No. 7 Irish (10-1) were thinking about the sixth-ranked Trojans (9-2) as soon as their 42-0 win over Rutgers was over Saturday.

"This win gives us a big boost of confidence going out to USC," Irish receiver Arnaz Battle said. "Going out to USC is going to be a great challenge."

Even coach Tyrone Willingham was thinking ahead immediately after the win. When asked about USC quarterback Carson Palmer, Willingham answered without hesitation.

"It is obvious to everyone that he poses more than just a little problem," Willingham said. "This is a young man that is actually playing the best football of any quarterback in the country. Besides, he is complemented by some of the best receivers in the country."

Rams take the Liberty

No. 16 Colorado State accepted a bid to play in the Liberty Bowl. The Rams (10-2) clinched the Mountain West Championship on Saturday with a 22-14 win over New Mexico. The Liberty Bowl will be played on Dec. 31 against a yet-to-be-determined team from Conference USA.


"I'm going to go out and drink some grape juice." -- N.C. State coach Chuck Amato on how he will celebrate his Wolfpack's 17-7 upset of No. 14 Florida State.

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