College football's regular season is drawing to a close, but the news is peaking.
Notre Dame fires its coach, Florida State legend Bobby Bowden retires, Tennessee gets shuffled from one bowl to another, Florida star defensive end Carlos Dunlap rests up for the SEC championship game by sleeping at the wheel, and UT football coach Lane Kiffin takes another shot at Urban Meyer.
Another Zinger: You can beat Kiffin but you can't shut him up.
In a radio interview Tuesday, Kiffin was asked for his take on Saturday's much-ballyhooed SEC championship game between the unbeaten Gators and Tide.
"Florida has better players; Alabama has better coaches," Kiffin told the Sports Animal.
His critique is a great indicator of how he has matured as a first-year college head coach. Almost a year ago, he jokingly referred to Meyer as a cheater before a crowd of UT boosters. He was promptly reprimanded by the SEC office.
Months later, Kiffin has refined his game to the extent that he can take shots at coaches without being reprimanded, much less fined.
The next UT-Florida game can't get here fast enough.
Bowled Over: UT shouldn't be fazed by a rejection from the Outback Bowl. A 7-5 team that lost to Ole Miss by 25 points less than three weeks ago has zero leverage.
But all the bowl machinations likely will work to UT's advantage. Tampa, Fla., might be a more desired location, but the Chick-fil-A Bowl could provide a better match-up and a more convenient trip for UT fans.
While struggling to complete my AP Top 25 ballot Saturday, I began considering five-loss teams. And UT is near the top of the list. It has close losses to Alabama and Florida, victories over four winning teams, and a schedule that included nine bowl-bound teams.
If UT could beat a nationally ranked team like Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dome and a few four-loss teams lose, it could crack the final Top 25.
Wake-Up Call: You think the sound of your alarm clock is irritating?
It beats a policeman rapping on your window.
Dunlap was napping in his vehicle, which was still in gear, about 3:25 a.m. when he was arrested and charged with DUI in Gainesville, Fla., Tuesday. My guess is Meyer felt even worse than Dunlap when he woke up.
Dunlap is one of the best pass rushers in the country and could have been a dominant factor against a quarterback with no more mobility than Alabama's Greg McElroy. But Meyer made the right call in suspending him, even if it jeopardizes Florida's chances of winning the game.
Florida beat Alabama for the SEC title last year without an injured Percy Harvin. It can win without Dunlap, too.
Admitting The Problem: Charlie Weis has now joined Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham as failed Notre Dame coaches. The line will continue to grow unless the school relaxes its admissions standards for student-athletes.
Notre Dame has been able to recruit outstanding players like Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate, but it is no longer able to recruit the depth of talent that enables you to contend for a national title.
If it wants to win another championship, it should offer Nick Saban $6 million a year and the dual title of head football coach and university director of admissions.
Legendary Loss: Florida State football without Bowden will be what Alabama football once was without Bear Bryant.
Penn State's Joe Paterno has won more, but Bowden has accomplished more. Penn State was formidable before Paterno became head coach; Bowden built FSU from the ground up, then maintained it as an elite program for more than a decade. No one will match FSU's run of 14 consecutive top-five finishes under Bowden.
In his heyday, Bowden was as good of a play-caller as Steve Spurrier, and big-time college football might never see a friendlier coach. He was as friendly to the media as he was to fans.
Once, in the fourth quarter of a one-sided, late-night game on ESPN, Bowden was concerned about the sportswriters who were facing a tight deadline. So he provided FSU's sports information director with quotes - to be disseminated to the media - while the game was still in progress.
Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.