Notre Dame is new No. 1 in coaches' poll
MCLEAN, Va., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Notre Dame, the only eligible unbeaten, and one win away from an undefeated regular season, is the No. 1-ranked team in the USA Today Coaches' football poll.
Notre Dame (11-0) completes its season Saturday at Southern California. Losses by Oregon -- to Stanford in overtime -- and Kansas State -- by 28 points at Baylor -- took out the other two major-college teams that entered the week undefeated.
(Ohio State is also undefeated but ineligible for post-season consideration.)
Notre Dame was No. 24 in the coaches' pre-season poll but worked its way up the rankings, culminating with 56 of the 59 first-place mentions this week in moving from third to No. 1. It is the first time since November 1993 that the Fighting Irish have led the poll.
Alabama (10-1), which was on top of the poll for 10 weeks this season until a loss to Texas A&M two weeks ago, gets two first-place votes and is second, narrowly ahead of third-ranked Georgia (10-1), which received the other first-place mention. They are the likely opponents in the SEC Championship game and two of six SEC teams ranked in the Top 12.
Oregon (10-1) slides from No. 1 to fourth while Florida State (10-1) and Florida (10-1), which play each other this week, each improve one place to fifth and sixth, respectively. Kansas State (10-1) drops from second to eighth while Clemson (10-1) and Texas A&M (9-2) keep the Nos. 9 and 10 spots.
Stanford (9-2) is up two places to 11th, pushing South Carolina (9-2) down one place to 12th and Oklahoma (8-2) down one to No. 13. Nebraska (9-2) remains 14th and Texas (8-2) is again in the 15th spot.
UCLA (9-2) comes in 16th followed by No. 17 Oregon State (8-2) and 18th-ranked Louisville (9-1), all unchanged from last week. Rutgers (9-1) is up one to 19th and Michigan (8-3), 23rd a week ago, is 20th.
Oklahoma State (7-3) moves to 21st and Boise State (9-2) followed by, in order, new poll entrants Northern Illinois (10-1), Mississippi State (8-3) and Kent State (10-1).
Clemson. In the Pac-12, Oregon travels to Oregon State and Stanford plays at UCLA. Also, Oklahoma plays host to Oklahoma State.
Maryland heads to Big Ten Conference
COLLEGE PARK, Md., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- The University of Maryland, a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, is set to move to the Big Ten, school officials said Monday
"This is a watershed moment for the University of Maryland. I am pleased to announce that we will become a member of the Big Ten Conference, effective July 1, 2014," Maryland President Wallace Loh said at a news conference after the university's regents approved the change.
"Membership in the Big Ten is in the strategic interest of the University of Maryland. By being members of the Big Ten, we will be able to ensure the financial stability of athletics for decades to come.
"We are absolutely committed to start the process to reinstate some of the teams we had to terminate. We are committed to giving our student-athletes the best possible experience."
Maryland, citing finances, recently cut seven sports, including men's and women's swimming, men's tennis and men's cross-country and indoor track and field. School officials are apparently counting on revenues from the Big Ten Network to help bring at least some of those sports back.
Word Maryland was considering a change of conferences broke last weekend.
Maryland is a founding member of the ACC, which brought together seven Atlantic Coast schools into a league in 1953. Until Maryland's apparent move, the league wasn't touched by the defections that hit other conferences in recent years, although the ACC did benefit, picking up new members Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East and independent Notre Dame.
The Big Ten in 2011 admitted Nebraska from the Big 12 -- giving the Big Ten 12 members
Rutgers is also believed to be a potential member of the Big Ten, joining Maryland and making it a 14-member conference.
Miami Hurricanes to refuse bowl berth
CORAL GABLES, Fla., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- University of Miami officials said Monday the Florida school will again voluntarily refuse a post-season bowl invitation while an NCAA investigation continues.
The Miami Hurricanes improved to 6-5 Saturday with a win over South Florida. That gave the team the minimum of victories needed to be considered for a bowl. Miami could also qualify for the ACC Championship game with a win this week.
But school officials said the team was being pulled from consideration from both the ACC title game and a bowl berth. Miami made the same decision last year.
"Considerable deliberation and discussion based on the status of the NCAA inquiry went into the decision-making process and, while acknowledging the impact that the decision will have on current student-athletes, coaches, alumni and fans, a determination was made that voluntarily withholding the football team from a second post-season was not only a prudent step for the university to take but will also allow for the football program and university to move forward in the most expedited manner possible," the school said in a statement.
The NCAA hasn't sent the school a notice of allegations but compliance issues in the football program have been under scrutiny since August 2011. A former booster said dozens of Miami football players receive improper incentives, including cars and money.
Coach Gagliardi retires with 489 wins
COLLEGEVILLE, Minn., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- John Gagliardi, who has coached college football for 64 years, announced his retirement Monday after a career that included a record 489 wins.
Gagliardi, who turned 86 on Nov. 1, said he was stepping down after 70 years as a head coach.
He started as a player-coach on his high school team at the age of 16 after the regular coach was called into military service in World War II.
Gagliardi was a high school coach for six years before coaching Carroll College in Montana for four seasons. He took over the program at St. John's (Minn.) in 1953 and has been at the Collegeville, Minn., school since.
"Seventy years is a long time to be doing the same job," Gagliardi said. "Luckily, I've always been blessed with great players, friends, family and support to make it this far.
"Nobody ever said that getting older was easy. I just can't do the job at the level I used to anymore."
Gagliardi amassed a record of 489-138-11 at Carroll and St. John's. His win total is the highest among all levels of college coaches. His record at St. John's is 465-132-10.
He helped St. John's to NAIA championships in 1963 and 1965 and won NCAA Division III titles in 1976 and 2003.
The Johnnies were 5-5 this season, the first season Gagliardi didn't win more than he lost since 1986. He had just two losing seasons -- both 3-4 records -- in his collegiate career.