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College football

Notes: Nick Saban was under consideration at Texas

A few days after Alabama won the 2013 national championship, a University of Texas regent and a former regent talked with Nick Saban’s agent about the possibility of the Crimson Tide coach replacing Longhorns coach Mack Brown, according to the Associated Press.

Regent Wallace Hall of Dallas told the AP he spoke by telephone with agent Jimmy Sexton a few days after the Jan. 7 game. Tom Hicks, a former regent who is the brother of current Regent Steve Hicks, also was on the call. Tom Hicks, the former owner of the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Stars, and the English professional soccer team Liverpool, was a regent in 1997 when Brown came to Texas and was instrumental in hiring him away from North Carolina.

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Two days after the call with Sexton, Tom Hicks met with Brown over lunch and told him about the call, according to several people who spoke with the AP. He asked Brown if he was ready to retire.

Brown, who had just finished his 15th season at Texas, said he wanted to keep coaching and the matter was dropped.

Brown, who is under contract until 2020 and will be paid $5.4 million this year, won the 2005 national title and lost to Saban’s Alabama team in the 2010 championship game. The Longhorns are 23-18 since that defeat and Brown is under fire from fans upset about a 1-2 start this year after consecutive lopsided losses to BYU and Mississippi.

Brown has said he plans to coach through his contract. But three sub-par seasons and two consecutive losses this year have led to speculation about Brown’s future and Saban is often mentioned as a potential target as a replacement. Saban has won four national championships, one with LSU in 2003 and three with Alabama in 2009, 2011, and 2012. Saban earns $5.6 million per year, but Texas — the nation’s wealthiest athletic program — could certainly afford him.

Whether Sexton initiated the contact with Texas is unclear. He did not return a telephone message from the AP. Alabama spokesman Jeff Purinton also declined comment.

QB Taylor Martinez doubtful

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Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said quarterback Taylor Martinez is doubtful for Saturday’s game against South Dakota State and that redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong Jr. is the probable starter. Martinez has missed all week of practice because of a turf toe injury on his left foot. Pelini said the competition between Armstrong and fifth-year senior Ron Kellogg III is close but that Armstrong had a ‘‘tremendous’’ week of practice . . . Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said quarterback Brandon Allen hasn’t thrown in practice this week and is a game-time decision against Rutgers on Saturday. Allen initially hurt his right shoulder while diving for a touchdown against Southern Mississippi last week. Allen has taken part in practice this week but has yet to throw a ball. AJ Derby will start if Allen can’t play . . . BYU said the NCAA approved a waiver that will allow Notre Dame transfer Chris Badger to play immediately. Badger, a safety and Provo native, enrolled at Notre Dame out of high school, but went on a two-year Mormon mission and put off college. He redshirted at Notre Dame last year, then decided to transfer to BYU to be near his ill mother. BYU plays Notre Dame on Nov. 23.

Where to start

According to ESPN.com, at least four cities plan on bidding to host the 2016 College Football Playoff championship, and six or more could be in the mix to host the 2017 championship game. Sources involved with bowl selections told ESPN.com that cities in the running for the 2016 title game include Tampa, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Fla., and Glendale, Ariz. Tampa and Jacksonville are also on the list for the 2017 game, as well as Miami, San Antonio, and San Francisco. The sources also indicated that Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Arlington, Texas, are considering making a bid for 2017. The deadline to submit requests for bid proposals is Sept. 27 . . . Colorado State players will wear helmet decals honoring the victims of Colorado’s floods as well as rescuers and recovery personnel during Saturday’s game at No. 1-ranked Alabama.

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