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SPURRIER COULD TOP FLORIDA'S LIST

Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley should have an easier time with this coaching search.

Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan and Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops turned down the job in 2002, neither one wanting the dubious task of replacing Steve Spurrier.

It could be much different now.

Ron Zook was fired Monday after two-plus years and a stack of embarrassments on and off the field, satisfying a growing groundswell for his ouster that began the day he replaced Spurrier.

Zook will finish out the season while Foley and school president Bernie Machen search for another coach.

They might start with Spurrier, who resigned from the NFL's Washington Redskins after two lackluster seasons.

"We will discuss this job with a number of coaches, and obviously if coach Spurrier is interested, we will sit down with him," Foley said.

Spurrier, playing in a charity golf event near Orlando, Fla., avoided questions about his interest in returning to the Gators.

"I'll talk about that another time," he said. "I don't think there's anything that I can say that is really appropriate at this time."

Foley said he won't discuss the opening with coaches with jobs until after the season. If Spurrier doesn't return, Stoops, Utah coach Urban Meyer and Louisville coach Bobby Petrino could be possibilities.

The Gators are 20-13 under Zook with four games left -- just 14 losses fewer than Spurrier had in 12 seasons.

Zook's latest debacle, a 38-31 loss to Mississippi State, sealed his fate. Just weeks before the Mississippi State loss, reports surfaced that Zook had a heated confrontation with fraternity members on campus last month. Zook initially downplayed his role, saying he went there to defuse the situation, but Foley later acknowledged that Zook yelled at students and called the behavior "unacceptable."

Oklahoma, Utah move up

Oklahoma and Utah moved into premium positions in the Bowl Championship Series standings Monday.

The Sooners are in second place, jumping ahead of Miami after the BCS standings debuted last week with Oklahoma surprisingly in third. Southern California remains in first place.

Utah is sixth, a position that would guarantee the Utes a spot in one of the other three big-money bowls if they can hold on to it.

The top two teams in the final BCS standings will meet in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4.

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