With rumors persisting that Michigan is interested in Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, he tried to quickly defuse such talk yesterday, saying no one has approached him about another job.

Schiano said right now his only focus is his team's preparation for Ball State in the International Bowl in Toronto on Jan. 5.

Schiano spent much of last season dealing with talk about him going to Miami. After meeting with the Hurricanes, he took himself out of the running last December. But the seventh-year coach said it has not come close to that point this year as the Wolverines search for Lloyd Carr's replacement.

"I haven't spoken to anybody about any job and that's where we're going to leave it," he said. "This is a young football team that really has an opportunity to do some great things. I want to put all the focus on them, all the focus on where we're headed."

Also, Rutgers president Richard McCormick says the university's Board of Governors will hold off on voting on a proposed expansion of the football stadium that would have added 12,000 seats, luxury boxes and a dining club to the Piscataway stadium and is expected to cost $120 million. Gov. Corzine expressed doubts about floating a $30 million state loan for the project.

Quarterback Mike Teel said players aren't worried about the talk.

"This has happened once before and he was straight up with us and told us how he felt, what he wanted, and we're pretty sure none of that has changed," Teel said. "There's no reason for us to concern ourselves with that."

Noteworthy

* UCLA coach Karl Dorrell was fired a day after the Bruins accepted a bowl bid and 2 days after a loss to crosstown rival Southern California.

Dorrell, 43, was let go despite leading the Bruins to a postseason game in each of his five seasons at UCLA, which had an outside chance to reach the Rose Bowl before its 24-7 defeat by USC over the weekend. The former UCLA player, who previously had not held a head-coaching job, had a 35-27 record.

The Bruins (6-6) will play BYU (10-2) in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22.

The Orange County Register reported that candidates to replace Dorrell include Texas Tech coach Mike Leach; former Cal and 49ers coach Steve Mariucci; Ravens offensive coordinator Rick Neuheisel, a former UCLA quarterback; Boise State coach Chris Petersen; and former USC and current Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow.

* More bowl-bound Division I football programs are meeting the NCAA's minimum acceptable academic standards than last year, according to a study. The report by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida found that of the 64 teams headed for bowls, 73 percent earned recent Academic Progress Rate scores of above 925, which means they would not be subject to NCAA penalties. In 2006, only 63 percent met the cutoff. *