Stoops denies he is close to signing with Florida

Head coach Bob Stoops may leave the Oklahoma Sooners for the Florida Gators He also may not. Either way, Stoops explained to Tulsa World on Saturday that reports stating he is close to signing with Florida are false.

“Not true, whatsoever,” Stoops told the paper‘s Dave Sittler via text message. “I’m out recruiting [for Oklahoma] as we text.”

A seven-time Big 12 champion who also captured a national title after serving as the Gators’ defensive coordinator under head coach Steve Spurrier, Stoops has been the object of Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley‘s affection for years.

Foley has tried to hire Stoops on two other occasions but was rebuffed both times.

Though Stoops is widely believed to be the University of Florida‘s number one choice, word out of Gainesville, FL, is that Boise State Broncos head coach Chris Petersen not far behind in Foley’s pecking order.

Petersen, who has led Boise State since 2006, has never won fewer than 10 games in a season, is 2-0 in BCS bowl games (0-2 in non-BCS bowls), and has won four Western Athletic Conference titles in five seasons. He is also a two-time Paul “Bear” Bryant Award winner as Coach of the Year (2006, 2009).

Other current head coaches rumored to be up for the Florida job – in no particular order – include Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh, Connecticut’s Randy Edsall, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, Louisville’s Charlie Strong, Southern Mississippi’s Larry Fedora and Houston’s Kevin Sumlin. Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, in line to succeed Mack Brown, is also believed to be an option.

Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino was thought to be a top candidate for UF, but he reportedly agreed to seven-year contract extension on Friday. Petrino was supposedly Foley’s number two choice when he hired current/former head coach Urban Meyer.

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Tebow, Meyer each named to award watch lists

On Monday, Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow was named a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award honoring the nation’s best college quarterback. The oldest and most prestigious quarterback award, candidates are evaluated on quarterback skills, athletic ability, academics, team spirit, character, leadership and sportsmanship.

The O’Brien Award often goes along with the Heisman Trophy as it did the last two years with Tebow winning it on 2007 and Oklahoma Sooners QB Sam Bradford taking it home in 2008. Tebow is one of 15 semifinalists; finalists for the award will be announced Nov. 23.

Along with Tebow, University of Florida head coach Urban Meyer was honored Monday, being named to the watch list for the Bryant College Football Coach of the Year Award. The only college coaching award voted on after all bowl games are played, finalists for it will be announced in late December before the awards dinner takes place in Houston, TX, on Jan. 14, 2010. Meyer has absurdly never won the award, having been beaten out by the Boise State BroncosChris Peterson in 2006 and the Utah UtesKyle Whittingham in 2008.

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