Notre Dame is closing in on a deal with Cincinnati's Brian Kelly to replace the fired Charlie Weis, the Chicago Tribune reported on its Web site last night.

A deal could be announced by Friday, the Tribune reported.

If the Irish hire Kelly, he probably would not coach the Bearcats in the Sugar Bowl against Florida on Jan. 1, the newspaper said.

Kerry Coombs, the associate head coach and defensive backs coach, would most likely handle Kelly's duties in New Orleans. Cincinnati is 12-0.

Hall of Fame. Former Penn State tailback Curt Warner, the Nittany Lions' career rushing yardage leader, was one of 18 former players and coaches inducted last night into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in New York.

McCoy baffled. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy said he did not realize the football must hit something before the clock stops when he tossed away a pass at the end of Longhorns' 13-12 victory over Nebraska - a gaffe that nearly left his team with no time to kick the winning field goal.

McCoy said he thought the clocked stop on a pass out of bounds as soon as it crossed the first-down marker. Had he known the rule, he said, he wouldn't have floated a long and high pass over the bench area.

After McCoy's pass, the clock hit :00 and the Cornhuskers began to celebrate. But one second was put back on after officials looked at a replay, enough time for Texas to kick the winning field goal.

Alabama honors. Crimson Tide linebacker Rolando McClain won the Butkus Award given annually to the nation's top linebacker.

Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart won the Broyles Award, which goes to the nation's top assistant coach.

The university canceled classes Jan. 6-8 because of the number of students who will travel to Pasadena, Calif. No. 1 Alabama will play No. 2 Texas on Jan. 7 for the BCS championship.

Hirings. Nevada defensive coordinator Nigel Burton, 33, was named the football coach of Portland State. He replaces Jerry Glanville, who resigned last month after going 9-24 over three seasons.

Louisville is likely to hire Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong as its new football coach. He would replace Steve Kragthorpe, who was fired Nov. 28 after three disappointing seasons.

All-American frosh. Temple running back Bernard Pierce was named to the freshman all-American second team.

Rutgers quarterback Tom Savage of Cardinal O'Hara was named to Phil Steele's Magazine's freshman third team.