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USF bowl hopes are dwindling

By PETE YOUNG, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 8, 2002


A day after its hopes of going to the Hawaii Bowl were dashed, South Florida apparently lost an opportunity to go to the Motor City Bowl with Washington State's 48-27 win over UCLA on Saturday.

The trickle-down effect of the Cougars win is expected to be an extra bowl-eligible Big East team. Motor City Bowl executive director Ken Hoffman said Saturday night his bowl will award its at-large berth to Boston College (8-4) or Virginia Tech (9-4) of the Big East if, as is anticipated, Notre Dame is bumped out of the BCS.

Had Washington State lost, Hoffman said USF (9-2), Texas A&M (6-6) or Wake Forest (6-6) would have been competing for the berth, and he indicated USF might have been the strongest candidate.

The Seattle Bowl has the lone remaining at-large bid. USF athletic director Lee Roy Selmon said he spoke with Seattle Bowl representatives last week and "they indicated very heavily they were looking for a West Coast team."

Since no Pac-10 team is expected to be available, USF is clinging to the possibility the Seattle Bowl will reconsider its geographic desire.

"We'll just have to wait and see how it plays out," Selmon said.

UF linemen mull future

GAINESVILLE -- Florida's junior offensive linemen Max Starks and Shannon Snell likely will return for their senior seasons, though they are interested in their NFL draft status next spring.

"You always want to get that curiosity killed," Starks said. "I'll check the advisory committee and go from there and get ready for the bowl game."

Snell, a Tampa native, said he needs to work on different aspects of his game before thinking seriously about foregoing his senior season.

"I don't want to come out as a flop," Snell said.

Coach Ron Zook isn't discouraging players to send in the paperwork to see where they would be drafted. He mentioned quarterback Rex Grossman and defensive tackle Ian Scott as underclassmen who might file.

Grossman said Thursday he has "no idea" what he is going to do next season and will decide after the Outback Bowl.

-- JILL MARTIN

UNC lineman killed

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina reserve defensive lineman Carl Smalls was shot and killed early Saturday morning at a fraternity party in South Carolina, police said.

Joseph Pellicci, a lieutenant with the Richland Co. Sheriff's Department, said Smalls, 22, was killed at a private club in Columbia, S.C., which was rented for a party.

"We got a call that shots had been fired a little after 2 a.m.," Pellicci said.

Pellicci declined to say how many times or where Smalls was shot or if he died at the scene. He said police have no suspects.

The 6-foot, 285-pound sophomore played in seven games and recorded four tackles for the Tar Heels this season after transferring from South Carolina.

EAST CAROLINA: Coach Steve Logan was fired after a 4-8 season.

NEW MEXICO ST.: Coach Tony Samuel punched a member of the athletic department during an argument, police said.

"This was an unfortunate incident and I regret that it occurred," Samuel said in a statement Friday. "We both met in the athletic director's office and reconciled the matter.

"It is my responsibility not to let a heated situation get out of hand."

According to an NMSU Police Department report, video coordinator Ronald Kennedy went to Samuel's office Thursday morning to discuss a problem with a highlight film. The discussion at some point became heated, according to the report. Kennedy told police Samuel screamed at him to leave the office but that Kennedy stayed because he wanted to discuss the video.

The report said Samuel then punched Kennedy twice in the face -- once on the chin and once on the left cheek.

Kennedy told police he did not want to press charges.

-- Associated Press contributed to this report.

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