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Kliff Kingsbury fired at Texas Tech

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury looks up to the video board in the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Baylor on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune Herald, via AP
Jerry Larson/AP
Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury on the sideline during Saturday’s game against Baylor, his final game as head coach.

Kliff Kingsbury was fired Sunday by Texas Tech after the former record-setting Red Raiders quarterback had a losing overall record in his six seasons as their head coach.

The move came a day after the Red Raiders finished their third consecutive losing season with a 35-24 loss to Baylor when they had a chance to get bowl eligible. That was their fifth straight loss after a 5-2 start this year, though it seems unlikely that a win in the finale would have saved Kingsbury’s job.

‘‘It’s not based on one game. This type of decision is not based on one season. This decision was made based on a three-year pattern, a three-year pattern of inconsistency,’’ athletic director Kirby Hocutt said during a campus news conference. ‘‘We saw progress, but we also saw lapses of progress in key critical areas.’’

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Kingsbury finished with a 35-40 overall record, a .467 winning percentage that is better than only two of the other 14 Texas Tech coaches in the program’s history.

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Texas Tech was 19-35 in Big 12 games under Kingsbury, including 3-6 in the conference each of the past three seasons even while consistently having one of the nation’s top offenses with quality quarterbacks. The Red Raiders have now gone nine consecutive seasons without a winning record in Big 12 play.

‘‘We've had one of the most highly prolific offenses in the nation and we still sit here today with a losing record over the past six years,’’ Hocutt said. ‘‘We've got to be a well-rounded football team. We cannot be one-dimensional and have success in this league.’’

Kingsbury was only 33 when he took over as head coach of his alma mater following Tommy Tuberville’s unexpected resignation after the 2012 season. At the time, Kingsbury was coming off his only season as offensive coordinator at Texas A&M in 2012, when Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Kingsbury had previously coached Case Keenum at Houston.

He was a sixth-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2003 and played two more seasons in the NFL before concluding his career in the Canadian Football League.

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Kingsbury’s specialty is quarterback, the position he played for 43 games at Texas Tech while throwing for 12,429 yards and 95 touchdowns from 1999-2002.

Fedora out at North Carolina

Larry Fedora overcame years of NCAA trouble at North Carolina — from inherited scholarship reductions to an academic case that hovered over recruiting — to help the Tar Heels put up big offensive numbers and win an Atlantic Coast Conference division championship.

But Fedora never could halt a startling two-year downturn for his program, and that ultimately cost him his job. The school announced that Fedora is out after seven seasons. The decision came the day after an overtime loss to rival North Carolina State that dropped the Tar Heels to 2-9 and concluded with a brawl between the teams in the end zone after the Wolfpack scored the winning touchdown.

Fedora’s exit completes a swift fall. UNC matched a program record with 11 wins and a trip to the ACC championship game in 2015. UNC slipped to 8-5 the next season and then went 5-18 over the past two seasons marred by injuries, inexperienced players and close losses.

In a statement, Fedora said coaching at UNC was a ‘‘great honor’’ and called the past two seasons ‘‘challenging and heartbreaking.’’ He said that he was ‘‘extremely disappointed’’ that he would no longer coach the Tar Heels, adding: ‘‘I hate that it had to end this way.’’

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‘‘I wanted the opportunity to fix this,’’ Fedora said. ‘‘I wanted to make the changes necessary to win again. I also understand this business. I understand that you don’t always get the time you want to turn things around. I respect the administration’s position and understand their actions.’’

Fedora agreed to a new seven-year deal after the 2015 division title. According to contract terms through the 2022 season, the change will cost UNC more than $12.4 million, with about $12 million of that distributed over the coming four seasons. That number could drop if Fedora takes another job.

‘‘This was not an easy decision because of the deep affinity I have for Larry,’’ athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement of his first major hire at UNC. ‘‘It simply is time to take our football program in a new direction.’’

Ohio State leaps to No. 6 in poll

Ohio State moved up to No. 6 in The Associated Press college football poll after trouncing rival Michigan.

The Buckeyes jumped four spots and the Wolverines fell four to No. 8, but overall the rankings were relatively stable after the last weekend of the regular season. Going into next week, when each FBS conference will play a championship game, Alabama, Clemson, and Notre Dame are the top three for the sixth straight poll.

Georgia moved up a spot to No. 4 and Oklahoma is fifth. Unbeaten UCF also moved up a spot to No. 7. No. 9 Texas and Washington round out the top 10.

Washington State and LSU both dropped out of the top 10 and are tied for No. 12.

Alabama has been ranked No. 1 for 14 straight weeks. The Crimson Tide are the first team to have three seasons of 14 straights weeks at No. 1, starting from the preseason. The Tide also accomplished the feat in 2016, when it went 15 polls at No. 1 before losing the College Football Playoff championship game to Clemson, and in 2012, when it lost to Auburn on the Kick Six during the final weekend of the regular season.

Southern California is the only other school to go 14 straight weeks in a season at No. 1, doing it in 2004 and 2005. The Trojans won the national championship, becoming just the second wire-to-wire AP No. 1, and lost the BCS championship game to Texas to end the 2005 season.

Texas A&M moved back into the rankings after beating LSU, 74-72 ,in a game that tied the FBS record with seven overtimes and broke the record for total points. No. 25 Fresno State also moved back into the rankings.

Helton survives at Southern Cal

Clay Helton will remain Southern California’s head coach after the Trojans’ first losing season since 2000. USC athletic director Lynn Swann made the announcement one day after the Trojans finished 5-7 with a loss to Notre Dame. Swann elected to keep the embattled coach for another season just nine months after he gave Helton a contract extension through 2023. Helton is 32-17 in his first head coaching job. The Trojans lost five of their final six games this season, capped by back-to-back losses to archrivals UCLA and Notre Dame. Helton took over at USC during the 2015 season. The Trojans won the Rose Bowl two seasons ago to cap a nine-game winning streak, and they won the Pac-12 title last season . . . Illinois extended the contract of coach Lovie Smith for two years through 2023 after the Illini finished his third season with four victories. The former NFL head coach, who led the Bears to the Super Bowl, is 9-27 in three seasons with the Illini and 4-23 in the Big Ten . . . Western Kentucky fired second-year coach Mike Sanford following a 3-9 finish, the Hilltoppers’ first losing season since 2010.