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    By Stephen F. Holder, Times Staff Writer
    Wednesday, December 12, 2012


    Bengals (7-6) at Eagles (4-9)

    When/where: 8:20; Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

    TV/radio: NFL Network; 98.7-FM, 1010-AM

    Line/OU: Bengals by 4, 45½

    The Eagles had no business beating the Bucs on Sunday, but Tampa Bay's woeful offensive start and the usual failures in its secondary proved too much to overcome. The Bengals are a bit more consistent offensively (though not necessarily better) and certainly are stouter on defense. Those advantages, coupled with their realistic goal of making the playoffs, should be the difference. The Cincinnati defense, led by DT Geno Atkins (10½ sacks), leads the NFL in sacks with 42. With the Eagles' patchwork offensive line, QB Nick Foles is going to be under assault.

    Stephen F. Holder's pick: Bengals 26, Eagles 20

    Injury report

    Bengals — Out: CB Dre Kirkpatrick (head). Doubtful: K Mike Nugent (calf), RB Cedric Peerman (ankle). Questionable: DE Michael Johnson (great toe). Probable: G Clint Boling (illness), LB Vontaze Burfict (shoulder), DE Carlos Dunlap (calf), LB Rey Maualuga (shoulder), LB Dan Skuta (back). Eagles Out: TE Brent Celek (concussion), FS Kurt Coleman (chest), RB LeSean McCoy (concussion), DT Mike Patterson (illness), QB Michael Vick (concussion, illness). Questionable: RB Chris Polk (toe). Probable: S Nate Allen (shoulder), CB Nnamdi Asomugha (neck, quadricep), FB Stanley Havili (ankle), LB Mychal Kendricks, (shoulder), WR Jeremy Maclin (groin), G Evan Mathis (ankle), G/C Dallas Reynolds (ankle).

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    By Dave Zalewski, Times Correspondent
    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    What's hot: Stabilized water temperatures have created great fishing offshore for many species. Spanish mackerel and bonita can be seen crashing into schools of baitfish from within 100 yards offshore to 40-foot depths. It is not necessary to fish deep in the water column. Lighter tackle, a No. 1 planer, a 2-ounce trolling sinker and a small lipped plug are sufficient to reach the feeding fish. The size of the artificial lure presented is critical. Start with a mix of sizes and 00 spoons that are not too small.

    Technique: We usually start trolling using three lines. One is equipped with a very small (00) spoon, one with a No. 1 spoon and the third with a small hard-bodied plug. Staggering the distance the lines are put out helps eliminate tangles. Once a particular combo has received several strikes, all three lines are switched to that one.

    Tip: Large solitary kingfish are still cruising the 40- to 60-foot depths, where we have been concentrating our bottom fishing and have been caught on stinger-rigged flatlines. Frozen and live Spanish sardines have produced, but this late in the season it has been hard to beat a live blue runner.

    Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.

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    By Tom Jones, Times Staff Writer
    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    The Bucs' scramble to the playoffs is pretty much kaput.

    If you wish, you can get out the schedules and a calculator and study the tiebreakers and come up with all the different scenarios it will take for the Bucs to squeeze into the last spot in the NFC.

    "Okay, so if the Bucs win the rest of their games and Seattle loses twice and the Rams lose once and the Bears tie twice and the Redskins beat the Cowboys by 78 points and all the Vikings get frostbite, then the Bucs make the playoffs. Uh, I think.''

    Let's face it, it's over.

    But that doesn't mean the rest of the Bucs' season is meaningless. Quite the contrary. Here's a look at what else the Bucs are playing for:

    A successful season

    Success, even in today's win-now NFL, isn't always determined by championships or even playoff spots. When you're going in reverse, you have to slam on the breaks and shift back into first gear before you can even think about getting on the freeway to the postseason.

    Much of this Bucs season has been about stopping, turning around and heading in the right direction again.

    Right now, the Bucs sit at 6-7. Not too shabby. After all, this team lost 10 in a row to finish last season with a 4-12 record. Then again, how good does 6-7 look when they were once 6-4?

    See, it's not about the end result, but how you get there.

    If the Bucs finish with a 9-7 record, it will be considered a tremendous success. (That same 9-7 record got Jon Gruden fired in 2008 because Chucky's Bucs lost their final four and missed the playoffs.)

    If someone had told you before this season that the Bucs would win seven or eight games, you probably would have taken that. But if the Bucs do end up going 8-8, it will mean they lost four of their last six. Are you okay with that? You think coach Greg Schiano would be okay with that? And losing five of their final six and finishing 7-9 would be an awfully bitter end to what was once a promising season.

    This Bucs season has been strange. They had a three-game losing streak, a four-game win streak and now are on another three-game losing streak. They've beaten only one team that currently has a winning record but haven't lost any game by more than eight points.

    The most recent loss — Sunday's last-play gut-punch to the hapless Eagles at home while trying to stay alive for the postseason — was as bad of a loss as the Bucs have had. Ever.

    "We weren't the best we could be Sunday,'' Schiano said. "Forget who had more points, we weren't the best we could be. And the winning and losing is what we get judged by, and we lost. So not playing our best and losing the game … if you're not sick, then there's a problem.

    That brings us to the next issue …

    Greg Schiano's reputation

    He arrived in town as a hard-nosed, steel-jawed, leather-throated disciplinarian and demanded "toes on the line.'' That works in training camp when guys are fighting for jobs and trying to impress the new boss. That works when you have a taste of success. That works when you're in the thick of the playoff pack.

    But what happens when there's nothing left to play for other than pride and a paycheck? Will players be so quick to put those toes on the line or their heads in the crossfire?

    We're about to find out.

    "The one thing about this team,'' Schiano said, "I don't see anybody that's going to duck from blame.''

    Could you say the same thing a year ago when Raheem Morris lost his job after his players let the season swirl down the drain? Will this season's Bucs do the same? Will they be hard to motivate as the season draws to a close?

    "I hope not,'' Schiano said. "I hope that we got the right people in the building who strive to be the best that they can be. … If that's not the case and I figure it out — and I don't figure it out all the time — but if I figure it out, they won't be here.''

    The future of the franchise

    Here's the deal: This is still a team trying to find its way, and the final three games will have a lot to say about how far it has come and how far it has to go.

    Quarterback Josh Freeman has to get better. At the very least, as offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said Wednesday, he must get more consistent. Just like Freeman, the rest of the team has to learn how to play four good quarters instead of one or two. The defense has to figure out how to stop the forward pass.

    The Bucs need to go into next season on an upswing.

    "Consistency has been our issue, but any team that's growing and getting better, that's usually an issue,'' Schiano said. "If you're good enough and you have talent enough to do it some of the time, that's the bigger tease. … We just can't do it over and over and over again. And that's my job and that's our coaches' job to do it over and over and over again.''

    That's where the rest of this season gets interesting.

    "No matter what, you got to finish strong,'' linebacker Mason Foster said. "In the NFL, every game is a big game, no matter what the records are, no matter what the situation is.''

    The situation is this: The Bucs have three games left, and the playoffs have just about faded from sight. But even if the playoffs are no longer a part of the picture, Foster is absolutely right:

    Every game is a big game.


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    By Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer
    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    TAMPA — Vincent Jackson always has been known as a big-play receiver, a vertical threat with speed to get behind defenders and the size to outmuscle them deep downfield for the football.

    The only question for the 29-year-old entering this season was, at 6 feet 5, 230 pounds, could he show more growth at playing his position?

    Jackson's performance in the Bucs' 23-21 loss Sunday to the Philadelphia Eagles offered more evidence that he is the complete package.

    The super-sized, super-athletic Jackson took over the game on offense for the Bucs in the second half Sunday.

    Lining up as the middle receiver in a bunch formation, he beat Eagles linebacker Jamar Chaney on an arrow route before splitting safety Nate Allen and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for a 13-yard touchdown. He also added a 40-yard catch on a post route and a 25-yard reception on a stutter and go, beating cornerback Curtis Marsh and safety Nate Allen on both plays.

    Jackson finished with six catches for 131 yards and a touchdown, marking the fourth time this season he has eclipsed the century mark.

    "He's been such an impact player for us, first by his performance on the field, the plays he has made, the consistency, his professionalism, how he approached himself and the versatility," Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. "Because here is a guy who makes some plays on shorter throws, run after catches, in the tight green zone and yet still a vertical threat.

    "The big block he had on (Doug Martin's) touchdown run, he was able to come and dig out the safety. So this is a complete, physical presence, a dominant physical presence. He's a joy to be around, he's a leader, he's part of the solution, we're really fortunate to have him."

    Jackson is seventh in the NFL with 1,145 yards and eight touchdowns on 56 catches. His 20.4-yard average is tops in the league. What's more, he has proven he can play inside the numbers, take hits and hang onto the football.

    Considering how NFL free agency can produce a bunch of million-dollar maybes, Jackson has lived up to his hype as the best available weapon on the market last spring. Considering that guard Carl Nicks suffered a season-ending foot injury and cornerback Eric Wright was suspended four games for what he says was Adderall use, Jackson seems like a good purchase coming over from the Chargers at five years, $55.5 million.

    "I'm pleased with it, I'm happy to contribute the way I have," Jackson said. "There are a lot of great tools around me that allow me to be successful. For me, I just have to go out there and continue to work hard, have fun, enjoy it, and we'll see how the season ends. But right now, it's always about the wins first."

    While many of Jackson's plays came against other players, he got the best of the Eagles' Nnamdi Asomugha, the former Raiders cornerback.

    "I really do enjoy playing against the elite corners in this league; they bring out the best in you," Jackson said. "They're tough guys, they win their battles, you win your battles, and that's the fun part of playing this game."

    With three games remaining, Jackson is taking aim at the Bucs' single-season receiving yardage record held by Mark Carrier, who had 1,422 yards in 1989.

    "I think this year, as you watch him play, he's become more of a polished route runner in his double moves and his inside cut routes," Saints interim coach Joe Vitt said.

    "He's a guy that bodies defenders as well as anybody in the league. He knows how to play the game, and I think he's really got a good rapport with the quarterback. He's the first look Josh (Freeman) is getting now, and I've got great respect for his body of work, I really do."


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    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — Injured South Carolina junior running back Marcus Lattimore is finished with college football. How long it takes him to make his NFL debut is anyone's guess.

    Lattimore announced Wednesday he is giving up his final season to enter the NFL draft. He was considered a first-round talent after his first two seasons. However, a right knee injury in October has dropped his stock.

    Lattimore dislocated his knee and damaged three of four ligaments when he was tackled against Tennessee. Doctors say surgery on his knee was successful and Lattimore easily walked into his gathering with media.

    He came into this season off ligament surgery to his left knee, an injury that cost him the final six games of the 2011 season.

    Despite his injuries, Lattimore said, "I wouldn't change a thing."

    He and team physician Jeffrey Guy said it would take 12 to 15 months to recover, meaning it is unlikely Lattimore could play anywhere in 2013.

    Lattimore said he received encouraging support from two NFL stars who came back from knee surgery: running backs Frank Gore and Willis McGahee. Lattimore said McGahee's "message was go with your gut, do what you think is best for you."

    McCarron stays at 'Bama: Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron, who has led his team to its second straight national title game, said he will return for his senior season.

    "I had many goals for myself when I came to the University of Alabama," the junior said. "I have been lucky enough to achieve some of those goals, but some are still ahead of me."

    McCarron leads Division I-A in passing efficiency headed into the BCS title game against Notre Dame on Jan. 7. He was MVP of the BCS title game against LSU last season. He is 24-2 as a starter.

    Other draft news, Arkansas running back Knile Davis and Tennessee Tech receiver Da'Rick Rogers, both juniors, said they will enter the draft.

    Texas Tech hires ex-QB: The Red Raiders are bringing back former quarterback Kliff Kingsbury to become coach. Kingsbury was the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M, coaching Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, this year. He has never been a head coach and at 33, he will be one of the youngest in major college football. He succeeds Tommy Tuberville, who left for the Cincinnati job.

    No abuse: An internal investigation into a former Washington State player's allegations of abuse by coach Mike Leach and his staff didn't turn up any evidence of such abuse, athletic director Bill Moos said. The dozen players interviewed all reported they were having a positive experience. Receiver Marquess Wilson quit the team and contended that players were suffering physical and mental abuse. A Pac-12 review is still being conducted.

    Arkansas State: Former Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin was introduced as the Red Wolves' new coach, replacing Gus Malzahn.

    Mississippi State: Running back Nick Griffin will miss the Gator Bowl against Northwestern after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

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  • 12/12/12--20:00: Sports in brief
  • Times staff and wires
    Wednesday, December 12, 2012


    Lochte leads U.S. Charge

    ISTANBUL — Olympic star Ryan Lochte won two gold medals Wednesday as the United States dominated the first day of the short-course world championships.

    The former Gators star won the 200-meter freestyle in 1 minute, 41.92 seconds, beating world record-holder Paul Biedermann. Lochte also took gold in the 400 freestyle relay with teammates Anthony Ervin, James Feigen and Matt Grevers, finishing in 3:06.40. Lochte won six golds and a silver at the 2010 short-course worlds.


    St. Petersburg's Romano hits gold

    In women's competition at the short-course worlds, the American team of St. Petersburg's Megan Romano, Chelsea Chenault, Shannon Vreeland and Allison Schmitt won the 800 freestyle relay in 7:39.25. Russia was second in 7:42.77. Short-course championships records on the first day went to Hungary's Katinka Hosszu in the 200 butterfly (2:02.20) and Britain's Hannah Miley in the 400 individual medley (4:23.14).


    Clijsters tops Venus in farewell match

    Former No. 1 Kim Clijsters ended her career with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Venus Williams in a ceremonial farewell match in Antwerp, Belgium.

    Clijsters, 29, retired after the U.S. Open but organized a match to thank her fans, 13,000 of whom turned up.

    Clijsters was destined to win the lighthearted encounter against Williams, whom she beat on her way to her last two U.S. Open titles, in 2009 and 2010.


    Boxing: Ricky Burns will not defend his WBO lightweight title in London on Saturday after Jose Ocampo pulled out of the fight citing "contractual issues with TV." Ocampo had been a late stand-in for Liam Walsh, out with a back injury.

    CYCLING: Former Giro d'Italia winner Michele Scarponi was banned for three months by the Italian Olympic Committee for seeing banned physician Michele Ferrari for two tests. Scarponi said he didn't know the doctor, linked to Lance Armstrong's drug case, was banned for life by the Italian federation in 2002.

    Greyhounds: Art Allen and Kiowa Jordan Doc won final qualifying races in the $75,000 Holiday Distance Challenge at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg. The championship race is Saturday night.

    Soccer: Abby Wambach scored twice to join Mia Hamm (158) as the only American women to reach 150 international goals, and the United States beat China 4-0 in an exhibition in Houston. … Midfielder Clint Dempsey, 29, was voted the U.S. national team player of the year for the third time. He received 352 points and 81 first-place votes to Michael Bradley's 248 and 49.

    Don Jensen, Times correspondent; Times wires

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    Times wires
    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Deshaun Thomas did most of his damage in the first half. By then, he was just about done, and so was Savannah State.

    Thomas scored all but one of his 22 in the first 20 minutes, and No. 7 Ohio State showed its firepower inside and out in beating Savannah State 85-45 Wednesday night.

    "The past couple of games some of the first 3s I took weren't going in," Thomas said, referring to slow starts in wins over Northern Kentucky and Long Beach State. "Now my teammates are getting me open and I was ready to shoot. It just feels good out there, getting in that rhythm, getting the open spots and just knocking them down."

    Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax, a mainstay on the great Georgetown teams of the early 1980s and a former Plant City High standout, joked that his players lost track of Thomas: "I guess we didn't understand the scouting report on Thomas that he could shoot the basketball because we left him open a lot."

    LaQuinton Ross added 13 points and tied a career high with nine rebounds for the Buckeyes (7-1).

    UCF 72, B-CU 62: Keith Clanton had 30 points, 13 rebounds and four assists as the host Knights (5-2) won their eighth straight over Bethune-Cookman (4-7).

    ALABAMA: Center Carl Engstrom will miss the rest of the season with torn ligaments in his left knee.

    ST. JOSEPH'S: Junior forward Halil Kanacevic was suspended for two games and a week of practice for making an obscene gesture toward the Villanova student section Tuesday night.

    CAA TOURNAMENT: The Colonial Athletic Association will hold its tournament at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore for three years beginning next season. Richmond, Va., has hosted the tournament since 1990.


    NO. 3 BAYLOR 94, ORAL ROBERTS 56: Odyssey Sims scored a season-high 27 and Brittney Griner had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears (8-1), who hit 16 of their first 19 shots and won their 44th straight at home.

    NO. 11 PENN ST. 60, VA. TECH 41: Maggie Lucas scored 17 on 7-of-9 shooting, and Mia Nickson had 10 points and 10 rebounds to lead the visiting Lions (8-2).

    NO. 19 UNC 49, N.C. CENTRAL 21: Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored 14 and Brittany Rountree 11 for the host Tar Heels (9-1), who tied the program records for fewest points in a win and fewest points allowed in a game. It was also the lowest-scoring game in program history.

    NO. 13 TENNESSEE: Freshman guard Andraya Carter is scheduled to have season-ending surgery on her right shoulder today, limiting the Vols' backcourt depth.

    Getty ImagesGetty Images

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    Times staff, wires
    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    The latest round of labor talks ended with the sides in different rooms.

    The locked-out players association and league negotiators met separately Wednesday with a federal mediator in suburban New Jersey for about 61/2 hours, holding discussions that didn't appear to move the sides closer to a deal to save the season.

    Neither side made a proposal on the lockout's 88th day.

    Mediator Scot Beckenbaugh asked the 13 players who attended what the union's response would be if the league brought back to the table its last offer, which included three points it said were nonnegotiable: a player contract limit of five years, seven for a club to re-sign its own player; a 10-year term on the new collective bargaining agreement, with a mutual opt-out option after eight years; and no contract buyouts to help teams with the salary cap and no caps on escrow in the transition to the new deal.

    "It wasn't much of a decision," free agent Brendan Morrison said. "I thought the gap would be closed much quicker, but it hasn't … so we have to keep working."

    The Lightning's Marty St. Louis said he was asked by the union to attend but declined. St. Louis last week was part of the players' meetings with owners that appeared to make progress until the league Thursday angrily broke off negotiations. He said Wednesday he is better off now on the sideline.

    St. Louis had been so "crushed" at the end of last week, he said at the time he might take a vacation. After taking time to decompress, he has been back on the ice in Brandon this week. "This week I want to get a good week of work and see where I'm at at Christmas," he said. "You've got to stay prepared."

    No owners were at the meeting. The league was represented by commissioner Gary Bettman, deputy commissioner Bill Daly and its lawyers.

    "Really, there's nothing new to report," Daly said in brief comments to the media. He didn't take questions.

    No further meetings were scheduled.

    Times staff writer Damian Cristodero contributed to this report.

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    Times staff, wires
    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    The Big East always has been skilled at fastbreak basketball. Now it seems inevitable it will display some breakaway basketball.

    The seven member schools who don't play Division I-A football appear poised to exit.

    They held a conference call with commissioner Mike Aresco on Thursday morning, and espn.com, si.com and others reported they are united in their plans. Aresco told the athletic directors of the remaining and incoming schools on Thursday night that he expects the seven will leave but had not officially heard from them, espn.com reported.

    An announcement is likely within a few days. That will prompt a legal battle that will include who has the right to the Big East name, who plays its basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden, distribution of exit fees and the possible early departures of Louisville and Notre Dame to the ACC.

    The schools — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova — have been unhappy with the direction of conference realignment, which has weakened the Big East.

    The league formed in 1979 with a focus on basketball. It started sponsoring football in 1991 with Boston College, Miami, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. BC, Miami and Virginia Tech now are in the ACC, and Pitt and Syracuse join it in July. West Virginia now is in the Big 12. Temple was kicked out in 2004 and readmitted in July, and Rutgers is going to the Big Ten in 2014.

    Connecticut (which joined in 2004) and Cincinnati (2005) sought the spot in the ACC that Louisville received last month.

    "There was something really cool about the Big East. You could rely on it to get six or eight or nine (NCAA) bids in a year," Marquette athletic director Larry Williams told 540 ESPN Milwaukee on Tuesday. "It was home. Now that home has been sort of changed, and somebody came and put new furniture in. And boy do we still fit here is what everyone is sort of thinking about."

    The conference increasingly has become influenced by football. And football has increasingly become influenced by TV.

    Each of the five leagues that has an automatic berth in the football playoff that begins in 2014 — ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 — has a deal worth at least $2.5 billion.

    In 2011, the Big East rejected a nine-year, $1.17 billion offer, or $130 million per year, from ESPN. At that time, it still had marquee basketball programs in Pitt, Syracuse and Louisville. The conference is still seeking a deal. Before the departure of the seven basketball schools, the deal could be worth as low as $60 million per year, cbssports.com reported.

    USF officials declined to comment Thursday. School president Judy Genshaft spoke optimistically about the league on Saturday.

    "It's been very difficult to answer what's going to be in the future because it's dominos," she said. "One league takes another, and it goes back and forth.

    "As of now, we're really happy with the Big East. We've got one of the best basketball programs ever. We've got Madison Square Garden for the next 8 to 10 years. It's pretty exciting. We're bringing in some good teams. Boise and Navy will be coming in."

    If the basketball schools break away, USF could be in a vulnerable position. Several media reports said Boise State and San Diego State already were considering returning to the Mountain West because the Big East won't have a berth in the football playoff. And a diminished TV deal could cause other incoming schools to reconsider.

    Meanwhile, the nearby ACC and SEC already have Florida presences, and the Big 12 recently said it's content to stay at 10 schools.

    A breaking point for the Catholic schools appears to be last month's addition of Tulane.

    "I was not pleased that we issued an invitation to Tulane without any diligence to what effect that would have on our basketball product, the draw on our RPI and other such things," Williams told the Milwaukee radio station. "I was disappointed that I wasn't able to participate … in the deliberations."

    The Catholic schools believe they can make more money in a basketball-oriented league — perhaps joining with schools such as Butler, Creighton, St. Louis and Xavier — than one dominated by a diminished football product in which the football schools get a larger share of the revenue.

    NCAA rules allow a group of seven schools that have been in the same league for five or more years to move to a new league and maintain their automatic qualifier status for the NCAA Tournament.

    It's unclear if the schools would form a new conference or join one. Dissolution of the league is unlikely. Big East bylaws allow it via a two-thirds vote, but two votes must come from schools that play football.

    Asked Saturday about how moves continue to shake up the league, Genshaft said it was hard to predict where things will end with the Big East.

    "I thought it was going to be (stable)," she said. "My crystal ball isn't that clear."

    Times staff writers Greg Auman and Joe Smith contributed to this report.

    In and out … and in and out … and …

    The Big East's current lineup and likely lineup if the seven basketball-centric Catholic schools leave after this season:

    2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
    Cincinnati Boise State ** Boise State ** Boise State **
    Connecticut Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati
    DePaul * Connecticut Connecticut Connecticut
    Georgetown * Houston East Carolina ** East Carolina **
    Louisville Louisville Houston Houston
    Marquette * Memphis Memphis Memphis
    Notre Dame Notre Dame * Temple Navy **
    Pittsburgh Rutgers San Diego State ** San Diego State **
    Providence * Temple SMU SMU
    Rutgers San Diego State ** Tulane Temple
    Seton Hall * SMU UCF Tulane
    St. John's * UCF UCF
    Temple **
    Villanova *

    * All but football ** Football only Bold: Addition to the league Italics: Final season in the league

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    Times staff, wires
    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    Skip Holtz, fired Dec. 2 as USF's football coach, has accepted the job as head coach at Louisiana Tech, according to multiple media reports Thursday.

    The school is expected to hold a news conference today to introduce Holtz, who was fired by USF after going 16-21 in three years, including losing nine of the last 10 to end the just-completed 3-9 season.

    Holtz, 48, replaces Sonny Dykes, who left the Ruston, La., school to become coach at Cal.

    The Bulldogs finished 9-3 this season and led Division I-A in offense, averaging 52 points per game. The Bulldogs are moving from the Western Athletic Conference to Conference USA next season.

    It's the fourth straight time Tech has hired the son of a well-known, former coach: Holtz (father, Lou); Dykes (father, Spike); Derek Dooley (father, Vince); and Jack Bicknell Jr. (father, Jack).

    USF's Taggart makes coaching staff changes

    TAMPA — New USF coach Willie Taggart began forming his staff by holding onto a familiar face and bringing along a recruiter from his past.

    Taggart announced the only member of Holtz's full-time staff he will retain is running backs coach Larry Scott, a former Bulls player (1997-99) who has worked at USF since 2005. Scott, who will be an offensive assistant, has been a strong recruiter in Florida, specifically the Miami area.

    Taggart also hired Raymond Woodie, one of his top recruiting assistants at Western Kentucky the past three seasons, as a defensive assistant. Woodie has ties to the bay area; he is a former head coach at Palmetto High and Bradenton Bayshore, and he recruited the state for Western Kentucky.

    "To be able to come home, that's special," said Woodie, who will coach linebackers. "But I know that there's no honeymoon, it's time to get to work. Hopefully we can do well and put a fence up and keep kids in the state."

    FSU loses third assistant: Associate head coach Eddie Gran became the third Seminoles assistant to exit coach Jimbo Fisher's staff in the past two weeks, leaving to join Tommy Tuberville's staff at Cincinnati as offensive coordinator. Gran, who served as Bearcats receivers coach from 1992-93, and Tuberville coached together at Auburn and Ole Miss for a combined 14 years. Fisher has also seen the departures of defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, the new head coach at Kentucky, who then hired FSU defensive ends coach D.J. Eliot as his defensive coordinator.

    Golden still a 'Cane: Miami coach Al Golden, who was out recruiting, quickly refuted a Sports Illustrated writer's Twitter post that he was pondering leaving for Wisconsin, which is looking to replace Bret Bielema.

    Irish coach honored: Notre Dame's Brian Kelly won the Football Writers Association of America Eddie Robinson coach of the year award.

    Mississippi: Coach Hugh Freeze received a one-year extension (deal through 2016) and a $500,000 raise, hiking his base salary to $2 million per season.

    Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

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    By Rob Gorta, Times Correspondent
    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    What's hot: The first two weeks of December has produced amazing snook fishing for the first time since the freeze a few years ago. Loading the livewell with scaled sardines is a must when targeting snook. Area bridges are a good place to start. Pelicans diving around the pilings signal that bait is there. The strongest part of the outgoing tide has produced the most strikes. When I get to my spot, I start throwing live chum. Once I see a surface strike, I chum heavily and try to get the fish in a feeding frenzy. I have caught more snook these past few weeks than I have in the last three years combined. When the snook stop biting, I move to the sand holes and fish for trout.

    Tide strategy: The tide level has played an important part in everyday fishing this fall. A strong falling to low tide has been the better option in recent weeks. Trout, redfish and flounder fall into sand holes on the grass flats when the water level starts to get too low to swim in. These sand holes are typically 3 to 5 feet deeper than the surrounding area. Sand holes can be located by idling down the edge of a grass flat on low tide and looking for mullet jumping inside the low tide area. If there are mullet jumping, then it is deep enough for trout and redfish to be stuck in there also.

    Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit captainrobgorta.com.

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    By Gary Shelton, Times Sports Columnist
    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    Ideas can fool you. Sometimes, the worst of them can sound pretty good at the start.

    For instance, you like football, don't you? Doesn't everyone?

    Also, you like the playoffs. Nothing like throwing a trophy into the middle of the drama, is there?

    Given that, you probably really like playoff football. The passion. The intensity. The complete absence of blackouts. I'm not saying that the playoffs are like holidays, but in a perfect world, they would come with their own reindeer.

    And so, when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suggested this week that there could be even more playoffs — playoffs as far as your remote control can reach — your immediate reaction was probably to stand and cheer. More playoffs? Why, yes. And if you can work in more money and more savings and bigger portions, then January would be perfect.

    Yeah, expanding the playoffs sounds like a fine idea, doesn't it?

    Except that, no, it isn't.

    And this time, former commissioner Paul Tagliabue shouldn't have to explain to Goodell why he is wrong.

    You know what more playoffs would mean? They would mean the regular season would have less importance. They would mean the postseason would have more mediocrity. They would mean a greater health risk for the players.

    Also, a cynic might suggest that, with more games to sell to the networks, they could also mean more profits for the owners. Call it increase-the-bounty-gate.

    I suspect that Goodell is aware of all of this. On the other hand, he is a man in need of changing the subject these days. If teams are debating a fatter playoff system, then maybe they won't mention how bad he looked after the Saints' bounty case.

    Still, the playoffs should be difficult to reach. The pursuit of a championship should be reserved for those who deserve it.

    Hey, if football was meant to have 16-team playoffs, it would been called hockey. (You remember hockey, don't you?) And I'm sure people would watch anything called a playoff, no matter if their favorite team was average or less. Still, are the playoffs a TV show or a competition for a championship?

    As it is, there is plenty of room for greatness in a 12-team playoff. Every now and then, a deserving team is squeezed out of the playoffs (the 11-5 New England team in 2008, for instance), but it doesn't happen very often.

    On the other hand, if the NFL had allowed four more teams a year over the past decade, it would have had only four more 10-plus wins teams in the playoffs. In contrast, it would have added 14 more 8-8 teams, plus a 7-9 Carolina Panthers team in 2004.

    Would adding those teams really have enriched the playoffs? How? What would be enticing about watching the NFL hosting its own series of Peach Bowls?

    In other words, more isn't always better. There is a reason we don't have Christmas twice a month. Sometimes, things are more special because they are exclusive.

    Besides, two more playoff slots per team might change history.

    Take the Bucs, for instance:

    If two more teams per conference made the playoffs, then Raheem Morris' Bucs would have made the playoffs in 2010. Might that have saved his job despite a terrible finish to the 2011 season?

    Wait. Morris might not even have gotten the job. Despite the Bucs' December fade in 2008, they would have made an expanded playoffs that year. Who knows? Maybe Jon Gruden wouldn't have been fired.

    Wait. If there were an expanded playoffs in 1998, Tony Dungy's Bucs would have made the playoffs. That means that he would have gone to five straight playoffs at the end of the 2001 season. Would that have saved his job?

    Wait. If there were an expanded playoffs in 1996, Sam Wyche would have been in the running for the postseason his last year. His team was 7-7. One more win, and it might have made the postseason.

    And so on and so on.

    Most fans seem to agree that too many teams make the NHL and NBA playoffs. Most seem to believe there are too many bowl games. Some baseball purists howled when an extra wild-card team was added a year ago. When college football finally agreed on a playoff system, it was careful to set the number at four teams. Anything more would have devalued the regular season.

    Same with the NFL. Twelve teams advance, 20 do not.

    If you are interested in the integrity of the playoffs, that ratio sounds about right.

    Listen to Gary Shelton weekdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on 98.7-FM the Fan.

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    By Terry Tomalin, Times Outdoors/Fitness Editor
    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    Making news

    State nearer to New Gag rules for gulf Anglers

    Gulf anglers may get a new gag grouper season next year. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted last week to make most gulf state waters (shore to 9 miles out) consistent with the current federal season with the exception of a four-county region in the Big Bend region. Under the current proposal, the gulf gag season will open July 1 and close in November or December when anglers catch their allotted limit. The final rule is expected to be approved by federal fishery managers later this spring.

    The new state rule will include an April 1 through June 30 season in waters off Taylor, Jefferson, Wakulla and Franklin counties. According to the proposal, the four-county region will not open during the July 1 through November/December federal season.

    Monroe County is excluded from the Gulf of Mexico season because it is included in the Atlantic season for gag grouper. The 2012 recreational gag season was July 1 through Oct. 31 in all federal and most state waters, with the exception of state waters off Taylor, Jefferson, Wakulla and Franklin counties, which were open April 1 through June 30. Public comment on this draft rule can be sent to marine@myfwc.com or can be given by calling (850) 487-0554.


    Uplifting TV show has bay tie-in

    Former Rays pitcher James Shields, Lighting executive Tod Leiweke and marine artist Guy Harvey are three of the guests to air on a new Florida-based fishing show called Reel Dream Makers (reeldreammakers.com), which pairs celebrities with charities and families in need. The show, filmed primarily on Tampa Bay-area waters, airs Sundays at 7 a.m. and Tuesdays at 9 a.m. on Fox Sun Sports.

    Send news to Terry Tomalin at ttomalin@tampabay.com or call (727) 893-8808.

    Solunar chart

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  • 12/13/12--17:36: Rustling up campfire grub
  • By Terry Tomalin, Times Outdoors/Fitness Editor
    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    FORT DE SOTO — True "cowboy" cooking starts long before the first match is lit.

    The process begins with the quest for fuel.

    "Nothing beats Florida oak," said Tom Pritchard, the head chef behind the Salt Rock Grill in Indian Shores and the Island Way Grill in Clearwater Beach. "You want it dry and aged like a good wine."

    Start the fire hours before you plan on cooking. I like to begin with a nice, clean work surface. So I always shovel out the old ash and burnt logs from the fire pit before I build my fire. Use small twigs and strands of Spanish moss to get the flames going, not fire starter, which will leave a bad aftertaste, even hours after you use it.

    Get a good bed of ashes going, then get ready to start cooking. A free-standing grill that you can place over the fire costs about $20 at any local sporting goods store. Make sure it is sturdy enough to hold heavy, cast-iron cookware.

    Cast-iron skillets are great for frying everything from chicken to catfish. A Dutch oven is the popular choice for making stews and soups.

    My favorite pots and skillets are made by a company called Lodge, which has been in the Appalachian mountain town of South Pittsburg, Tenn. (population 3,300) since 1896.

    If properly cared for, a good skillet can last for generations. Harriet Jackson, matriarch of the family that owns the Bill Jackson Shop for Adventure, the Tampa Bay area's longest running outdoor retailer, has been cooking with the same cast-iron skillet for more than 60 years. Her favorite frying pan was given to her by her mother, who got it from her mother, who got it from her mother, who got it from her mother.

    When it comes to Dutch ovens, camp versions are usually footed, so they can sit above the coals (though they can also hang from a tripod) and have a flanged lid where coals nestle. This allows heat to cook the food from above and below.

    The reason why so many camp cooks, including this veteran, swear by cast iron is that these pots and pans distribute the heat evenly. You can cook slow and steady, which really brings out the flavor in everything from grouper cheeks to venison loins.

    Cooking with coal, or charcoal briquettes, is an easy way to get started. Just place one-third of the coals under the pot and two-thirds on the flanged lid. Then just walk away, come back an hour or two later, and enjoy a tasty one-pot meal.

    But skillet cooking requires a bit more expertise. That's where Pritchard comes in.

    He started this particular meal with fresh vegetables donated by Eckerd College's Kip Curtis, the founder and executive director of the Edible Peace Patch Project.

    "I like to cook with ingredients that are either grown or caught locally," Pritchard said. "It makes a big difference, both environmentally and in terms of taste, where you get your food."

    After putting the veggies off to the side, Pritchard fried up some gator that had been recently captured by Tampa hunting and fishing icon Mike Mahoney. When the gator was fried to perfection, Pritchard used the same pan to cook mullet that had been netted that morning by Grand Master Angler Dean Pickel of St. Petersburg.

    And to top it all off, Pritchard sautéed fresh venison and Osceola turkey contributed by twins Eric and Frank Bachnik.

    It took about 45 minutes to cook everything but less than 10 minutes to eat it. So we threw a few more logs on the fire and started rummaging through the coolers.

    "I've got some fresh grouper," Pritchard said. "It was just brought in today."

    "I think I still have some mullet roe," Pickel said. "We've also got a bit of wild pig, too."

    Like good cowpokes we settled into our camp chairs and got ready for Round 2.

    "Hope everybody's hungry," Pritchard said. "I'm just getting started."

    LARA CERRI    |    Times (2011)LARA CERRI | Times (2011)

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    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    Cooking over an open fire is more art than it is science. You can have all the right ingredients — fresh mullet and gator tail, anyone? — but without the proper tender loving care, you might as well eat canned pork and beans.

    "Campfire cooking requires constant attention," says Tom Pritchard, known in culinary circles as Chef Tom and the creative force behind several bay area restaurants. "Lose your concentration for even a few minutes and you are going to end up with a big, burnt mess."

    So after Santa delivers that cast-iron cookware you wanted, take your hungry crew and your favorite ingredients somewhere outdoors where you can build a campfire.

    Then put that new skillet and Dutch oven to work.

    Never done it?

    No worries. Tampa Bay Times outdoors editor Terry Tomalin and Pritchard provide more than a few basics to cowboy cooking to get you started. However, you and your crew must provide the mealtime entertainment.

    Story, 2C

    LARA CERRI   |   Times (2011)LARA CERRI | Times (2011)

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  • 12/13/12--19:02: Sports in brief
  • Times wires
    Thursday, December 13, 2012


    Lochte leads three-gold day for Americans

    ISTANBUL — Ryan Lochte keyed a relay win Thursday, and Matt Grevers and Olivia Smoliga won the men's and women's 100-meter backstroke to improve the U.S. gold-medal tally to six at the short-course world meet.

    Lochte, a former Gator, established a strong lead in the 800 freestyle for teammates Michael Klueh, Matthew McLean and former Gator Conor Dwyer, and won his third gold at the event. Lochte also took bronze in the 100 butterfly.

    St. Petersburg's Megan Romano was the top qualifier for today's 100 freestyle final, winning her semifinal in 52.86 seconds.


    HBO's Merchant stepping aside

    Hall of Fame announcer Larry Merchant is leaving his job as an HBO ringside commentator after 35 years. His last broadcast is Saturday's season finale of World Championship Boxing.

    Merchant, 81, who has worked with Jim Lampley since 1988, said he will become a "senior kibbitzer" on major news. Max Kellerman will take his commentating role.

    Alpine skiing

    Vonn: I suffer from depression

    Four-time overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn says she has suffered from depression for many years and takes an antidepressant to help manage her symptoms.

    At one point in 2008, "I couldn't get out of bed anymore. I felt hopeless, empty, like a zombie," the American told People magazine.

    Vonn said she now is happier than she has been in a long time. She filed for divorce last year from her husband, Thomas Vonn, also her manager and coach.


    Brazil investigates team beating story

    Brazilian authorities are investigating allegations security personnel beat members of an Argentine team at halftime of Wednesday's Copa Sudamericana final in Sao Palo. The game was ended and Sao Paulo awarded the title when Tigre refused to take the field for the second half of the final's second leg. Sao Paulo was leading 2-0; the first leg was scoreless. Tigre officials said their players and staff were beaten in the dressing room area at halftime and guns were drawn. Brazilian authorities denied weapons were brandished.

    europe: The governing body imposed heavy sanctions on Serbia for an on-pitch brawl and its fans' racial abuse of England players at an under-21 European Championship qualifier in Krusevac in October. Two coaches were banned for two years, four players will serve suspensions and the Serbian federation was fined $105,000.

    Et cetera

    NHL: The league and players association met with a federal mediator for a second day, this time in the same room, but no progress was reported in talks for a collective bargaining agreement. … Red Wings prospect Riley Sheahan, 20, pleaded guilty to drunken driving following his arrest in a Teletubby costume in Grand Rapids, Mich. He was placed on probation for a year.

    Times wires

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    Times wires
    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    ANAHEIM, Calif. — One day after Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said he didn't think a major move was "imminent, pressing or required," the team made one of the most major of the offseason.

    The Angels persuaded free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton to leave the Rangers for a five-year, $125 million deal, their third big-money offseason signing in as many years.

    Last year first baseman Albert Pujols traveled West for $240 million along with pitcher C.J. Wilson — Hamilton's Texas teammate — for $77.5 million. Still, the Angels failed to make the playoffs for the third straight season.

    They bulked up their pitching staff earlier this offseason, adding starters Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson, and relievers Sean Burnett and Ryan Madson. But owner Arte Moreno pulled off a coup by getting Hamilton, the 2010 American League MVP.

    Since the contract wasn't final, the Angels didn't comment publicly. Rangers GM Jon Daniels said Hamilton's agent told him the deal had been reached.

    "Josh had indicated recently … he felt it might be time to move on, but we were still talking," said Daniels, who wouldn't elaborate on Hamilton's thinking. "We had additional conversations this week that I thought had moved it along in a positive direction, but apparently not."

    Hamilton was given much blame for the Rangers' losing a five-game AL West lead with nine games remaining, and later CEO Nolan Ryan had to publicly rebut reports Hamilton had quit.

    Texas had hoped to re-sign Hamilton, who led it to consecutive World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011. The Rangers made a $13.3 million qualifying offer at the Nov. 2 deadline, ensuring they would get a draft-pick compensation if Hamilton signed elsewhere. They will receive an extra selection after the first round of June's amateur draft. The deal costs the Angels a first-round selection in the draft.

    The Angels are taking a risk with Hamilton, 31, the first overall pick in the 1999 draft by the Rays. A well-chronicled addiction to drugs and alcohol derailed his career for several years beginning in 2001, and he has had at least two public relapses of his drinking, the most recent in February of this year.

    For much of his Rangers tenure, the club had a coach, Johnny Narron, stay close to Hamilton as an "accountability coach."

    Hamilton also has had trouble staying healthy over the past few years. He has been healthy enough to record at least 500 at-bats in only three of his six major-league seasons. During those seasons, he never hit fewer than 30 homers or accumulated fewer than 100 RBIs.

    Red Sox: The team agreed to terms with right-hander Ryan Dempster on a two-year contract worth $26.5 million, the Associated Press reported. GM Ben Cherington would not comment at a news conference to announce the signing of outfielder Shane Victorino, who agreed to a $39 million, three-year deal last week.

    twins: The team finalized a $10 million, two-year contract with free agent right-hander Kevin Correia to fill a rotation spot after its starters posted the second-worst ERA in the majors last season.

    yankees: The team and Ichiro Suzuki were closing in on a deal that would guarantee the outfielder between $12 million and $13 million likely over two years, the Associated Press reported.

    bonds case: A federal appeals court will hear Barry Bonds' appeal of his obstruction of justice conviction in February. The career home runs leader was convicted in April 2011 of one felony obstruction count for giving an evasive, rambling reply at a 2003 grand jury appearance when asked whether he received drugs that required a syringe.

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    Times wires
    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Trae Golden scored 25 as Tennessee beat No. 23 and previously unbeaten Wichita State 69-60 Thursday.

    The Volunteers had lost their previous two games, 37-36 to Georgetown and 46-38 at Virginia.

    "I just wanted to make sure we won that game," Golden said. "We couldn't afford to go on a three-game losing streak."

    Tennessee (5-3) won despite playing most of the second half without leading scorer and rebounder Jarnell Stokes. He had six points and seven rebounds while playing just 18 minutes due to foul trouble.

    The Vols ended the game with an 11-1 run. Gol­den made 6 of 8 free throws during the run to keep Wichita State (9-1) from its first 10-0 start.

    Tampa 82, Shaw 81, OT: The host Spartans (7-0) rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit. Da'Markco Foster led all scorers with 26, one of four UT players in double figures.

    No. 16 Creighton: Guard Josh Jones, who passed out before a game Dec. 6, will have a procedure Tuesday to restore a normal heart rhythm.

    Rutgers suspends coach: Rutgers suspended coach Mike Rice for three games without pay and fined him $50,000. Athletic director Tim Pernetti said only it was for inappropriate behavior and language, not NCAA violations. "It is imperative our head coaches act and lead in a responsible manner," he said. "This was not an easy decision … but absolutely necessary to ensure what is best for our program." Associate head coach David Cox will lead the team.

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    By Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer
    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    TAMPA — The Bucs defense has struggled trying to slow down the oppositions' hurry-up offense, blowing fourth-quarter leads in four games this season.

    Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said Thursday that Sunday's 23-21 loss to the visiting Eagles was another prime example. Rookie Nick Foles passed for two touchdowns over the final 3:55, including the winner to Jeremy Maclin as time expired.

    "Just continue to execute in the critical parts of the game," Sheridan said. "Obviously, those are all no-huddle, up-tempo, on-the-ball (situations) like the last one was. We didn't have any busts, per se, but it's the technique, execution in the critical parts of the game. They hit some plays at the end, and we didn't. That's how they got the ball down the field in scoring position.

    "I wish I could give you something very clever and magical. But just execute the techniques in the critical parts of the game when it's on the line and they're not huddling up and they're on the ball and running consecutive plays."

    Sheridan said to reduce assignment errors in those situations, the Bucs mostly play their base defense. As a result, they are fairly predictable.

    "It's not really a change of scheme. We're really playing our bread and butter," Sheridan said. "That's what you don't want to do, pull out a different package in that critical part of the game and then the players haven't been playing it. So they are calls we'd been playing during the game, and you can always second-guess your call afterward.

    "We didn't have a lot of variety. We got a sack (early on the second) drive. So you're not trying to fool them and do something different because you don't want to fool your own guys. You're playing stuff you'd been playing during the game."

    MUSCLE Onesie: As if being called "Muscle Hamster" wasn't enough, rookie RB Doug Martin has become a bit of a social media sensation with pictures he posted modeling a onesie jumpsuit.

    "I've been promoting the onesie suit, and I just gave a shout-out to the company," Martin said. "I put it on Twitter, and I didn't know it was going to blow up like that."

    QB Josh Freeman said he's not a fan of Martin's wardrobe choice.

    "That looks ridiculous," Freeman said. "He actually showed it to me right after he took it. I don't know what's worse: that you're wearing a onesie or that you can fit in a onesie."

    BREES rebound: Saints QB Drew Brees has struggled this season, throwing 18 interceptions. But he seems to save his best for the Bucs.

    In New Orleans' 35-28 win over Tampa Bay on Oct. 21, Brees passed for 377 yards and four touchdowns with one interception.

    "What we didn't do a great job of in our first game was eye discipline in our coverage," Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. "We had eye mistakes probably three or four of those plays, and they amounted to plus-30 (yards) plus-40, plus-whatever it was. The big plays that came were directly a result of that."

    TRANSACTION: The Bucs re-signed G Derek Hardman and released G Hayworth Hicks.

    Practice report: G Jamon Meredith returned Thursday despite a sprained ankle. DE Da'Quan Bowers (hamstring), excused from practice to attend to a personal matter Wednesday, returned. DT Roy Miller practiced for the second straight day after missing Sunday's game with a concussion.

    Rick Stroud can be reached at stroud @tampabay.com and heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-620.

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  • 12/13/12--20:05: Sports on TV/radio
  • Times sports staff
    Thursday, December 13, 2012


    College basketball

    Charlotte at Miami, 7 p.m., Sun Sports; 620-AM

    College football

    Division III final: Mount Union vs. St. Thomas, 7 p.m., ESPNU

    I-AA semifinal: Georgia Southern at North Dakota State, 8 p.m., ESPN2

    College hockey

    Miami (Ohio) at Ohio State, 7 p.m., Big Ten

    Western Michigan at Michigan, 7:30 p.m., CBSSN


    PGA Europe: Dunhill Championship, 6:30 a.m., Golf

    Australasia: PGA Championship, 8 p.m., Golf

    High school football, state finals

    Class 5A: Tallahassee Godby vs. Immokalee, 1 p.m., BHSN

    Class 7A: Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Tallahassee Lincoln, 7 p.m., BHSN


    Warriors at Magic, 7:30 p.m., FSN; 1010-AM

    Celtics at Rockets, 8 p.m., ESPN

    Grizzlies at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m., ESPN

    Saturday HIGHLIGHTS

    College basketball

    East Carolina at North Carolina, noon, ESPNU

    North Carolina-Asheville at Ohio State, noon, Big Ten

    Lipscomb at Kentucky, 12:30 p.m., Sun Sports

    Butler vs. Indiana, 2 p.m., Ch. 10

    Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma, 2 p.m., ESPNU

    Marshall vs. Cincinnati, 2 p.m., CBSSN

    Louisville at Memphis, 2:30 p.m., FSN

    Iowa vs. Northern Iowa, 2:30 p.m., Big Ten

    Alabama at Virginia Commonwealth, 4 p.m., CBSSN

    Purdue vs. Notre Dame, 4:30 p.m., ESPN2

    Nebraska at Oregon, 4:30 p.m., Sun Sports

    New Mexico State at New Mexico, 6 p.m., CBSSN

    Belmont at Kansas, 7 p.m., ESPNU

    West Virginia vs. Michigan, 8 p.m., ESPN

    Tuskegee at Michigan State, 9 p.m., ESPNU

    Kansas State at Gonzaga, 9 p.m., ESPN2

    Florida at Arizona, 10 p.m., ESPN; 620-AM

    Mississippi State vs. Loyola (Ill.) (taped), 11 p.m., ESPNU

    College football

    New Mexico Bowl: Arizona vs. Nevada, 1 p.m., ESPN; 620-AM

    Division II final: Winston-Salem State vs. Valdosta State, 1 p.m., ESPN2

    I-AA semifinal: Sam Houston State at Eastern Washington, 4 p.m., ESPNU

    Potato Bowl: Toledo vs. Utah State, 4:30 p.m., ESPN; 620-AM


    Magic at Bobcats, 7 p.m., FSN; 1010-AM

    Nets at Bulls, 8 p.m., WGN

    Celtics at Spurs, 8:30 p.m., NBA


    College basketball

    New Hampshire at Boston College, 1 p.m., Sun Sports

    Women: Nebraska at USF, 2 p.m., 1010-AM

    Women: Tennessee at Texas, 2 p.m., FSN

    Delaware at Villanova, 4 p.m., ESPNU

    Eastern Kentucky at Illinois, 6 p.m., ESPNU


    Bucs at Saints , 1 p.m., Ch. 13; 103.5-FM, 620-AM

    Broncos at Ravens, 1 p.m., Ch. 10

    Lions at Cardinals, 4 p.m., 1010-AM

    Steelers at Cowboys, 4:25 p.m., Ch. 10

    Panthers at Chargers (in progress), 5 p.m., 98.7-FM

    49ers at Patriots, 8:20 p.m., Ch. 8; 98.7-FM, 1010-AM

    TV: BHSN: Bright House Sports Network; CBSSN: CBS Sports Network; FSN: Fox Sports Net.

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