Tommy Tuberville stepped down as coach at Auburn yesterday, following a disappointing season that culminated in the Tigers' first loss to Alabama in 7 years.

Players were informed at a team meeting in the football complex, and Auburn athletic spokesman Kirk Sampson confirmed Tuberville's resignation.

Tuberville did not immediately return a call to his cell phone.

He signed a 2-year contract extension through 2013 after last season that would pay him about $3.3 million annually. The current buyout would be some $6 million.

Tuberville was 85-40 at Auburn, including a 13-0 season in 2004 when the Tigers finished No. 2 in the nation. But Auburn finished 5-7 this year, and the Tigers' worst season in 10 years ended last Saturday with a 36-0 loss to No. 1 Alabama that snapped their six-game winning streak in the Iron Bowl.

The Tigers' offense finished the season ranked 110th nationally in scoring, 102nd in total yards and 100th in passing yards. The finale was the first time Auburn had been shut out in 75 games, dating back to a 23-0 loss to Southern California to open the 2003 season.

Noteworthy

* Charlie Weis will return for a fifth year as Notre Dame's coach despite posting his second straight disappointing season.

"Though this past season fell short of the expectations that all of us have for our football program, I am confident that Charlie has a strong foundation in place for future success and that the best course of action is to move forward under his leadership," athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement.

Weis has 7 years left on a 10-year contract signed midway through his first season, but some fans had been clamoring for his firing as the Irish finished 6-6 this year after a 4-1 start.

Swarbrick said he decided to keep Weis after talking with Notre Dame's president, the Rev. John Jenkins. Swarbrick met with Weis in California on Tuesday to review this past season and discuss next season.

"He, I and the others involved in leading our football program are committed to doing everything necessary to ensure a successful 2009 season," Swarbrick said. "We are examining every aspect of the program and will make changes wherever we think they are needed."

The decision gives Weis another shot at trying to return Notre Dame to prominence after the team lost 15 games the past two seasons, the most by Notre Dame in a 2-year span.

The former New England Patriots offensive coordinator has a record of 28-21 in 4 years, a .571 winning percentage. That's slightly worse than his two predecessors, Tyrone Willingham and Bob Davie.

* Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers said the school is negotiating a contract extension with Mike Leach, amid reports that the Red Raiders coach has met with the University of Washington about the Huskies' top job.

* In 4 days, Clemson went from wondering if it would reach the postseason to playing in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day.

An invitation to the Jacksonville, Fla., game was extended to the Tigers (7-5), who likely will play Nebraska (8-4).

Other bowl invites went out to Conference USA teams Southern Mississippi and Rice. Southern Miss will play in the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 21 against the Sun Belt Conference champion, and Rice will play in its hometown of Houston in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 30. *