S. Holtz 'would like' to talk with Syracuse

The Baltimore Sun

East Carolina coach Skip Holtz hopes to meet with Syracuse's athletic director but said he is not close to accepting the Orange's head coaching job.

Holtz said yesterday that he has had no formal meetings with Syracuse and called an NFL Network report that he was to be introduced as the new coach today "inaccurate." Holtz, however, didn't rule out replacing the fired Greg Robinson.

"I would like to have the opportunity to talk to [Syracuse AD] Daryl Gross," Holtz said. "But at this point, no, I'm not going through an interview process. I've made that very clear."

Holtz led the Pirates to a 27-24 win at Tulsa in the Conference USA championship game Saturday. East Carolina (9-4) will play Kentucky (6-6) in the Liberty Bowl on Jan. 2 in Memphis, Tenn.

Holtz and his wife are scheduled to be in New York today and tomorrow for events surrounding the induction of his father, Lou Holtz, into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame. Although Holtz said he had nothing formally planned with Gross, he didn't rule out talking about the Syracuse job while in New York.

The Orange is looking to replace Robinson, who was 10-37 overall and 3-26 in the Big East in four seasons at Syracuse.

Holtz is 29-21 in four seasons at East Carolina.

Oklahoma:: Quarterback Sam Bradford is expected back at practice within 10 days after having surgery on his left hand. Bradford hurt his non-throwing hand in the Sooners' regular-season finale against Oklahoma State. He played Saturday in the Big 12 title game, leading Oklahoma to a 62-21 win over Missouri. The Sooners are taking off this week before starting preparations for the Bowl Championship Series championship game against Florida on Jan. 8 in Miami.

Meineke Bowl:: Bowl game officials got the matchup they wanted. North Carolina accepted a bid to play in the Dec. 27 game against West Virginia. The game between 8-4 teams within driving distance of Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium could produce a sellout crowd. The Tar Heels were the Meineke Bowl's pick all along, but officials had to wait until bowls ahead of them chose Atlantic Coast Conference teams.

Hawaii Bowl:: Notre Dame (6-6) accepted an invitation to play on Christmas Eve against the hometown Warriors (7-6) in Honolulu. The Fighting Irish will be out to end their NCAA-record nine-game bowl losing streak.

Bronko Nagurski Trophy:: Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo won the award, presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club to the nation's top defensive player. The other finalists were Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes, Texas Christian defensive end Jerry Hughes, Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith and Southern California linebacker Rey Maualuga.

Late Saturday:: Marty Gilyard caught a 69-yard touchdown pass with 4:42 to play as Cincinnati (11-2) rallied for 19 straight points in the wild final quarter to earn a 29-24 victory over host Hawaii (7-6). The BCS-bound Bearcats moved up from 13th to 12th in the Associated Press poll released yesterday.

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