Cutcliffe won't leave Duke for Tennessee

Duke Coach David Cutcliffe quashed speculation about returning to Tennessee to replace his good friend and former boss, Phillip Fulmer.

"I'm at Duke, staying at Duke," Cutcliffe said Tuesday.

Cutcliffe twice served on Tennessee's staff and spent eight years as the Volunteers' offensive coordinator. He came to Duke last December after a two-year stint at Knoxville and has called Fulmer "the best football coach I've ever been associated with."

During a meeting earlier in the day with his Duke players, Cutcliffe said he debunked rumors that named him as a potential candidate to replace Fulmer, who's being forced out at season's end after 17 years with the Volunteers.

North Carolina's Butch Davis, asked about the Tennessee job, said "the long and short of it is, the administration and I are completely and firmly committed to building a championship football program at North Carolina. My family and I are very happy in Chapel Hill."

Davis has guided the Tar Heels (6-2, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) into the national rankings for the second time this season, and they are bowl-eligible for the first time since 2004.

Meanwhile, Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton wrote in an e-mail late Monday a national search for Fulmer's successor would begin immediately.

"We have a great university, world-class student-athletes, tremendous fans and first-class facilities," he wrote. "As a result, we will attract some of the nation's best candidates. We will introduce a new coach to you over the next several weeks."

The most senior Tennessee assistant is defensive coordinator John Chavis. Chavis, 52, on Tuesday dodged most questions about his interest in the job, but said he doesn't plan to throw his name into the mix of candidates.

"I want the rest of the season to be about what we need to get done. I've been here 20 years. People know who I am. I'll just leave it at that," Chavis said.

Stull will face U of L

In his last two starts, Pitt sophomore quarterback Pat Bostick has won at West Virginia and Notre Dame. Saturday's 36-33 four-overtime win at Notre Dame probably won't keep him in the lineup, though.

Bill Stull sat out the Notre Dame game with a concussion, but has been cleared to return when the No. 25 Panthers (6-2, 2-1 in Big East) play Louisville (5-3, 1-2) on Saturday.

"I don't think there's any doubt that I'm going to be ready to play," Stull said Tuesday. "I don't have any lingering effects of any sort."

Bostick wasn't the player most responsible for winning at Notre Dame. But he didn't lose it, either, despite throwing three interceptions and failing to get Pitt into the end zone in overtime.

Stull, a junior, directed Pitt to five consecutive victories until suffering a concussion during a 54-34 upset loss to Rutgers on Oct. 25.

Around the nation

Florida: Cornerback Jacques Rickerson, 20, was kicked off the team Tuesday after he was arrested and accused of slapping his girlfriend, choking her and then covering her face with a pillow. The sophomore was charged with felon battery and being held in the Alachua County jail. He played in eight games this season, recording 10 tackles and an interception.

Penn State: Quarterback Daryll Clark, who suffered a mild concussion Oct. 25 at Ohio State, is expected to play Saturday when the No. 3 Nittany Lions face Iowa.

Penn State (9-0) is off to its best start since 1999 and coming off a bye week.

Nebraska: First-year coach Bo Pelini acknowledges that his volatile sideline demeanor is casting a negative light on himself and the program.

Pelini has drawn unwanted attention for his tirades against officials, assistant coaches and players. He said Tuesday at his weekly news conference that he knows his temper could work against the Cornhuskers in recruiting. A montage of Pelini blowups was posted Monday on YouTube.

"Perception is reality, so that's something I've got to fix," Pelini said. "I understand that. I'm a highly emotional guy. I've got to be careful."

Wednesday's game

No. 16 Ball State has overcome various obstacles on its way to an 8-0 record. The next daunting challenge comes Wednesday night, when the Cardinals face the Mid-American Conference's best defensive team in Northern Illinois.

The list of remaining unbeatens in major college football has shrunk to six. Alabama, Texas Tech and Penn State are ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 3. Then there's No. 9 Boise State and No. 10 Utah.