College

CENTRAL FLORIDA TO OAHU? Central Florida is going to its first bowl game, unless Miami shakes up the postseason picture.School officials accepted a conditional invitation Tuesday to play in the new Oahu Bowl, facing No. 17 Air Force in the second game of a Christmas Day doubleheader in Honolulu.

Colorado and Washington are expected to play in the first game, the Aloha Bowl.

"To be going to a bowl only three years into (Division) I-A football is a remarkable feat," Central Florida athletic director Steve Sloan said. "It's a testament to all the hard work that our coaching staff and players have put forth to make this dream a reality."

Central Florida launched its program in 1979 at the Division III level, progressing to Division I-A in 1996.

The only thing that would keep Central Florida from making the trip is if Miami beats No. 3 UCLA on Saturday. That would knock the Bruins out of the national title picture and into the Rose Bowl, leaving enough teams for the Pac-10 to fill its obligation to the Oahu Bowl.

OLE MISS PICKS CUTCLIFFE: Mississippi wrapped up its search for a new coach, with Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe the apparent pick. Four days after Tommy Tuberville's departure to Auburn, Ole Miss scheduled a press conference for today to announce his replacement.

USC TO SUN BOWL: Southern California accepted a bid to play in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 1, possibly against Purdue in a rematch of the Aug. 30 Pigskin Classic. Southern Cal beat Purdue 27-17 in that game.

Also, Central Florida accepted a conditional invitation to play No. 17 Air Force in the new Oahu Bowl, the second game of a Christmas Day doubleheader in Honolulu. Colorado and Washington are expected to play in the first game, the Aloha Bowl. Miami accepted an invitation to play North Carolina State in the Micron PC Bowl on Dec. 29 at Pro Player Stadium.

STOOPS A SOONER FAN: Bob Stoops was an Oklahoma football fan as a child. As a ninth-grader, he once painted his football shoes silver to copy tailback Joe Washington.

"How many teams do you know could put the ball on the ground (fumble) six times and still blow out their opponent?" Stoops asked.

Oklahoma fans are hoping the 38-year-old Stoops will be able to recapture some of that greatness as the head football coach. He was introduced Tuesday to succeed John Blake, who was fired with a 12-22 record in three seasons.

"I will not shy away from the expectations here at Oklahoma. In fact, we'll embrace them," said Stoops, Florida's defensive coordinator the past three years.

NFL

BROWN COULD REJOIN COWBOYS: Larry Brown, the 1996 Super Bowl MVP for Dallas, could rejoin the injury-plagued Cowboys.

Brown, who signed a five-year, $12.5 million free agent contract with Oakland before the 1996 season, was told in April to look for a job elsewhere.

The cornerback missed most of the 1996 season with a foot injury and played little last year.

He was benched after getting burned on a couple of long passes early in the year and was suspended for four games midway through the 1997 season for "conduct detrimental to the team."

Brown, who lives in the Dallas area, underwent a physical Tuesday and could suit up for practice on Wednesday, the team said.

He could replace Kevin Smith, who is expected to be out two to four weeks with a strained muscle in his lower back.

KRAMER ON INJURED RESERVE: The Chicago Bears placed quarterback Erik Kramer on injured reserve, a day before he's scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery on his throwing shoulder.

Kramer, 34, has missed the past four games since having arthoscopic surgery on his left knee Oct. 27. Less than a week after the knee surgery, he was diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff and tendinitis in his right shoulder.

Kramer had almost a month of rest while recovering from the knee surgery, yet he still had soreness in the shoulder while attempting to throw during practice last week.

BILLS BEAT DEADLINE: The Buffalo Bills narrowly beat a noon deadline for selling $11 million in premium seats, ensuring the team will stay in Buffalo for at least another five years.

The $11 million in seat sales to western New York businesses and fans releases $63 million in state funds for renovations to Rich Stadium.

CARDINALS HIRE JACKE: Chris Jacke can't explain why he didn't get invited to training camp this year and couldn't find another kicking job before the Arizona Cardinals hired him.

Jacke, a sixth-round draft pick by Green Bay in 1989, made 173 of 224 field-goal attempts (77.2 percent), won 15 games and scored 820 of his 825 points for the Packers. But he played in just one game -- for the Washington Redskins in 1997 -- after booting two field goals and three extra points for Green Bay in the 1996 Super Bowl.

Arizona found itself in that spot Sunday when Joe Nedney tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left (kicking) knee late in a 34-24 loss to Kansas City. Coach Vince Tobin invited Jacke and former Oakland kicker Cole Ford to audition and settled on Jacke as a clear winner of the competition.