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Highs & lows

By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 15, 2002


JIM LEAVITT: Yes, $2.835-million over five years isn't exactly chump change, but USF's football coach could have made a bigger bundle by skipping town (see: Franchione, Dennis; Spurrier, Steve). But that was secondary to being home and happy. Losing marquee players may make his first C-USA season a bumpy one, but give him time. Look how far the Bulls have run in his (and their) first six seasons.

WHARTON AND JEFFERSON: The Tampa high schools advanced to the state championship games, continuing a resurgence in Hillsborough County football.

BRAD JOHNSON: The Bucs quarterback has taken many knocks and faced many challengers for his position, but as he showed Sunday, he still has a few tricks to teach the up-and-comers.


ESPN: It seemed impossible to overpromote something more than ESPN did with A Season on the Brink, but somehow, the kings of self-promotion have done it with the Junction Boys, the hype coming before, after and sometimes during every show. We know: Brian Dennehy is Bobby Knight, and Tom Berenger is Paul "Bear" Bryant. It's branded into our brains for the rest of our lives. What's next, ESPN, the Movie? "Dan Patrick is Dan Patrick ... " Sigh.

ESPN AGAIN: When will we finally stop anointing teenagers as the next-great-this or next-great-that? Not in the foreseeable future, apparently. After deciding LeBron James is the greatest basketball player since ... well, ever, and that his domination of the high school game is the most important story in the sports world, ESPN aired one of his games Thursday on ESPN2. This seems more like something ESPN is doing because it can, not because it needs to be done. Can't we wait a few months until he is actually in the NBA so ESPN can overhype him on the main network?

-- John Ashley, Brant James, Bruce Lowitt, Mike Stephenson, Pete Young

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