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Around college football: Tennesses hires Cincinnati's Jones

| Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 8:42 a.m.
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EAST HARTFORD — Head coach Butch Jones of the Cincinnati Bearcats watches his team play against the Connecticut Huskies during the game at Rentschler Field on Dec. 1 in East Hartford, Conn. Jared Wickerham|Getty Images

• Butch Jones was pondering whether to leave Cincinnati this week to coach Colorado when he received a text message that inadvertently foreshadowed his eventual destination. It was from Denver Broncos quarterback and Tennessee great Peyton Manning. “He was selling me on Colorado,” Jones said. “He said it was hard for a person from the University of Tennessee to be selling somebody to come to the University of Colorado. I wanted to text him back, ‘Come on, I want to go to Tennessee.'“ That's exactly where Jones ended up. Tennessee introduced Jones on Friday as its successor to Derek Dooley, who was fired Nov. 18 after going 15-21 in three seasons. Jones called Tennessee his dream job and said he was taking over “the best college football program in America.” Jones agreed to a six-year contract worth $18.2 million, ending a tumultuous couple of days for both himself and his new school. Jones, 44, has a 50-27 record in six seasons as a coach.

• South Florida hired Western Kentucky's Willie Taggart as its new coach, according to a report by ESPN. Taggart, 36, replaces Skip Holtz, who was fired after three years. The Hilltoppers were 16-20 in Taggart's three seasons. They are 7-5 this season and earned a berth in the Little Caesars Bowl, the school's first bowl appearance since joining the FBS in 2008.

• Thousands of fans gathered in Columbus, Ohio, to honor No. 3 Ohio State for its perfect season. Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman said the accomplishment deserves special recognition and then unveiled a sign that read “12-0 Row” to be put at an undetermined street in the city. Former Ohio State quarterback and 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith also presented the team with the Big Ten Leaders Division trophy.

— AP

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