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© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2003

USF, it's simple: You are scared to play UCF

I am writing to let you know my thoughts on USF. As everyone knows, USF's athletic department continues to avoid a UCF-USF football series for whatever reason they can concoct at the time.

As a proud UCF supporter/alumni, nothing sickens me worse than seeing (USF athletic director) Lee Roy Selmon and crew continue to put off the inevitable and natural rivalry between the two schools. USF continues to claim it wants to be part of the "Big Three" schools, yet joins a conference that is hardly the SEC, ACC or Big East.

Fact is, if USF wants to be seen as the next FSU, UF or UM, it should have stayed independent until the time came to join a "Big Three" conference. As it stands, UCF's MAC conference dominated USF's Conference USA this year in football.

USF fans/alumni continue to convince themselves they want to be the next UF, FSU or UM, but those schools have played or will play UCF. UM has actually inked a 2-for-1 with UCF this year.

If those schools schedule UCF, why not USF?

I believe the real reason is fear. My analogy is the bully who talks and talks and talks, but when the day comes to settle the score, the bully is nowhere to be found. The sad realization that UCF would beat USF is just too much for ol' Lee Roy and crew to take.

I would relish a game with USF if nothing more than to knock Lee Roy Selmon and crew off their proverbial high horse.
-- Chad Hinson, Orlando

No pressure, Lou. Yeah, right

All right, Lou, we paid top dollar for an established coach from another professional franchise and he brought us a championship. We all know that the Devil Rays are certainly not the Bucs, but now it's your turn.
-- Corey Hedberg, Seminole

Winston Cup drivers should stay out of Busch

I don't like to see Winston Cup drivers on the Busch Grand National circuit. It's the big boys beating up on their little brothers.

Like a major leaguer going down to the minors for a tuneup, I can, however, see the need sometimes. My solution: require a Cup driver racing in a lower series races to sit out four Cup races. If he does it twice in a year, require him to sit out the rest of the year. If NASCAR has a"Q-school," make him get his card again.
-- Ernest E. Lane, New Port Richey

Proud to be a Phillie in Clearwater

In response to Harold Vick's letter (2/9/03), the Phillies are paying what they should pay for the Clearwater Sports Complex, which is what they agreed to pay. Contracts still mean something in this country.

After watching the Super Bowl and hearing Malcolm Glazer say "The Tampa Buccaneers" and Jon Gruden thank only the people of Tampa, I have realized the people of Clearwater need to focus more energy on supporting the sports teams that actually play in Clearwater. That definitely includes the Philadelphia Phillies, a team that is here in one form or another for about seven months a year.

With the addition of Jim Thome, Kevin Millwood, and David Bell, the Phillies are ready to win a championship. When the Phillies win the World Series, Clearwater can have a parade and leave the city of Tampa envious of us. Yes, Mr. Vick, the signing of Jim Thome does make me feel warm and fuzzy all over.
-- Calvin W. Boaz, Clearwater

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