TAMPA - South Florida and Bowling Green have dropped three games, which were scheduled for 2006 and 2008 (in Tampa) and 2007 (at Bowling Green).
USF has been negotiating games with Auburn and Air Force, among others, and dropping the Bowling Green games opens potential playing dates. USF has no non-conference games slated for 2007 and only one in 2006 (at UCF), '08 (at Florida) and 2009 (at Florida).
In this week's USF media release, the Sept.11, 2004, game at Bowling Green, a return trip after USF's win over the Falcons at Raymond James in 2002, was removed from the listing of future schedules. But sports information director John Gerdes said that game remains scheduled.
LATE TD: USF finished a long workout Wednesday with an intense two-minute drill. The first-team offense struggled early with the only substantial gain coming on a rare run from quarterback Ronnie Banks. But on the last play, Banks launched a Hail Mary into the end zone that was caught by Huey Whittaker.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Coach Jim Leavitt is undecided on a starter at weakside linebacker Saturday against Army. Sophomores Stephen Nicholas and Devon Davis played with the first-team defense during the drill. Davis, listed ahead of Nicholas on the depth chart, has eight tackles. Nicholas has two. Sophomore D'Juan Brown played defensive back. He has seven tackles.
- PETE YOUNG, ROB BRANNONBowden: No letup by Rix
TALLAHASSEE - Florida State coach Bobby Bowden compares his effort to keep players out of trouble to raising his six children - with one difference.
"I paid all their fines when they got parking tickets," he said. "It's just like raising those children. Some of them listen to you and some of them don't listen as good."
Quarterback Chris Rix was ticketed twice in the past week - once for parking in a handicapped space and the other for parking in an "outpatient only" spot near a campus rehabilitation facility.
Aside from morning running of stadium steps, it appears Rix is not too deep in the doghouse. "I'm sure he's ashamed," Bowden said, adding, "I haven't seen any letup on the practice field."
STRONG PRACTICE: FSU held a spirited practice, a good sign considering the Seminoles face perhaps their weakest test of the season against Duke - a team that has not won an ACC game in 24 tries dating to 2000. Even with No.2 Miami looming in two weeks, Bowden has stressed the importance of not looking ahead. He only has to point to the first 22 minutes against Duke last season that saw the score tied at 3.
POPE LIMITED: Senior linebacker Kendyll Pope said he doesn't expect to play much against Duke with right knee and hamstring problems. Pope has never missed a game and has been a starter since his sophomore season.
- ZACHARY SPAIN, Associated PressOpinions differ on LB
GAINESVILLE - Linebacker Todd McCullough thinks his season is over. Coach Ron Zook isn't so sure. McCullough, a junior, told reporters Tuesday he planned to have surgery on his injured right shoulder and hoped he could get a medical redshirt.
McCullough said he "talked to the doctor and the coaches and we feel it's the best decision."
Zook disputed that statement.
"Is he going to need surgery at some point? Yes," Zook said. "A lot of players need surgery, but it doesn't mean "right now.' That's a decision the doctors will have to make with Todd and decide what's best for him."
OTHER INJURIES: Offensive tackle Max Starks removed the boot from his left ankle and practiced on a limited basis, Zook said. McCullough's absence will be easier with the availability of freshman Brian Crum, who was sidelined with a stress fracture in his foot. Channing Crowder (hamstring) should be ready Saturday.
- BRIAN SHAFFER, Associated Press