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Highs and Lows

By BRUCE LOWITT and ANTHONY PEREZ

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 15, 2002


HIGHS

HIGHS

U.S. OPEN: Acknowledging that tennis isn't particularly important in the whole scheme of things, All-American finals with four of America's most dominant players of the past, present and future only days before Sept. 11 gave New York and probably much of the rest of the nation a much-needed emotional boost.

THE HURRICANES: Apparently there was quite a bit of doubt that this Miami football team was as good as the 2001 national championship edition. Apparently it is. Or maybe Florida has a lot of growing to do in a hurry. Saturday's trip to Tennessee could be the start of a rough ride for the Gators through the SEC.

LOWS

THE BUCS: Okay, here's what must have happened: First, Jon Gruden mistakenly picked up Tony Dungy's 2001 playbook. Second, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin picked up his own 2001 playbook. There's a third possibility; the Bucs aren't as good as we (or they) think they are. Yes, it's early, but based on last Sunday 11 or 12 wins could be a reach.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning wanted to wear black hightop shoes for today's game to honor former Baltimore Colts great Johnny Unitas, who died Wednesday. The league said no. The ruling makes as much sense as the league saying no team other than the storied 7-year-old franchise known as the Baltimore Ravens will be allowed to wear a symbol on their uniforms to honor Unitas. Good move to discourage players from paying tribute to those who paved the way for them. We wouldn't want something like appreciation to creep into the game.

ALONZO MOURNING: A deteriorating kidney disease will keep the 32-year-old center out for the season and likely will end his basketball career. The man known as Zo had a few run-ins off the court, often with the media, leaving the impression of a surly player, but no one worked harder on the court, game after game, and his charity work was second to none.

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