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January 3, 2003
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Bucs
Cowboys owe Bucs nothing
Tagliabue says Dallas gets Parcells without gifting Tampa Bay with money or draft picks.

Kiffin offers defense conditional praise
TAMPA -- The Bucs finished the regular season with the NFL's top-rated defense. On Thursday, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin praised the unit and listed some of its most sparkling achievements this season.

Rays
Rays in Hall of Fame game
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Devil Rays are headed to the Hall of Fame.

Lightning
Tampa Bay special teams are anything but
FLAMES 4, LIGHTNING 1: Giving up three power-play goals forces a closed-door meeting for players.

Senators' woes worry small-market Flames
CALGARY -- The revelation the Senators are in serious financial trouble after a refinancing deal fell apart, and that the team missed this week's payroll, was a hot topic Thursday.

Outdoors
grouper graphic
[Times art: Mike Sudal]
Grabbing Grouper graphic

Split personality

January fishing forecast: North Suncoast
January fishing forecast: Pinellas/Hillsborough
Freshwater forecast
Outside
Fiesta Bowl
Eye of the Hurricanes

UM seems too powerful -- to all but Buckeyes.
Gary Shelton: Quiet Coker content to let 24-0 do the talking
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Maybe what Larry, good old Larry, Coker needs is a better nickname. Maybe then people would pay attention to him.
The schools
They are programs filled with tradition. National championships. Heisman Trophy winners. Conference titles. Legendary coaches. And yet, at Miami and Ohio State, tradition is as different as the climate in South Florida and Columbus. Miami has tan lines and palm trees. Ohio State has Script Ohio and the Victory Bell.
Buckeyes must run, prevent big plays
Miami has won 34 games in a row and is playing for its second straight national championship. Ohio State wasn't even favored to win the Big Ten, and it won six games by a touchdown or less, including the last three. It's easy to see why the Hurricanes are favored to defeat the Buckeyes tonight.
At Miami, football is fun
Gainesville native Lamar Thomas was a wide receiver for the Hurricanes from 1989 to 1992. He played for national championship teams in 1989 and '91, and was picked in the third round by the Buccaneers in 1993. Thomas retired from the NFL after the 2001 season. He shared his thoughts with Times staff writer Keith Niebuhr.

Orange Bowl
Palmer, Trojans roll in 2nd half

USC 38, IOWA 17: Carson Palmer outplays Brad Banks in Orange Bowl.
Tampa's Williams stars for Trojans
MIAMI -- Plant graduate Mike Williams put a strong finish on an impressive first season at Southern California in Thursday's Orange Bowl, setting or tying three NCAA freshman records in the Trojans' 38-17 victory.

NFL
Mentor and 'mentee' square off

But it's no bitter matchup when Tony Dungy's Colts meet Herm Edwards' Jets on Saturday.
Around the AFC
BROWNS: Earl Holmes was the man of the hour Thursday and not because he is the team's leading tackler. Or because Sunday's game is a homecoming for Holmes, who played his first six seasons with Pittsburgh.
Around the NFC
EAGLES: Donovan McNabb practiced for the first time since breaking his right ankle Nov. 17. Coach Andy Reid said his quarterback took all reps with the first-team offense in a short practice. Asked if he can play next weekend, McNabb said: "I have no doubt in my mind."
Bengals, Lewis talk
CINCINNATI -- Washington defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis interviewed for the coaching job with the Bengals, who also plan to talk to Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey this weekend.

College football
Rix has inside track as starter

Chris Rix is FSU's No. 1 QB for now, but faces a lot of work to repair relationships.
Fordham 'Granite' DL Bart dies at 87
NEW YORK -- Al Bart, a member of Fordham University's famed Seven Blocks of Granite defensive line, died at age 87.
Gators know improvement is expected
Coach Ron Zook says his first season didn't live up to UF's high standards, but he is excited about the future.
At OSU, football is king
Kirk Herbstreit, a college football commentator for ESPN, is a former Ohio State quarterback. He earned three letters and was the Buckeyes' passing leader in 1992, when he guided them to an 8-3-1 finish. They tied Michigan that fall, 13-13. Herbstreit shared his thoughts with Times staff writer Keith Niebuhr.

NHL
Blackhawks continue on a roll

ST. LOUIS -- The only thing missing from an otherwise perfect night for the Blackhawks was another Jocelyn Thibault shutout.

Parimutuels
Crowd flocks to opening

Despite a weekday start and absence of feature race, Derby Lane's 78th season debuts successfully with 2,865 attending.

College basketball
Bulldogs overwhelm Bulls 91-44

TAMPA -- Kara Braxton scored 29 on 12-for-19 shooting as Georgia handed South Florida its worst loss of the season, 91-44 Thursday night at the Sun Dome.
SEC: Memphis scores final eight to stun Arkansas
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- When Earl Barron made 1 of 2 free throws with 2:32 to play, it actually improved Memphis' free-throw percentage from the previous six minutes.
Defense keeps Duke on target for No. 1
DURHAM, N.C. -- The offensive efficiency may not be there just yet for Duke, but the defense is coming along fine.

NBA
Chicago still Jordan's town

CHICAGO -- Michael Jordan had the United Center rocking just like the old days as he and his sidekicks embarrassed another opponent.

Sports on the air
In Sunshine dispute, no sign of thaw

The 10-year-old contract between the Sunshine Network and Time Warner Cable expired as the new year rang in, but Lightning fans won't begin feeling the pinch until Tuesday, when the first Sunshine hockey broadcast of 2003 -- the always-popular Tampa Bay-Detroit game -- will be absent from Time Warner systems.

Preps
Injuries don't deter Marion or Wake Forest

The Dixie Hollins track star will play football in college despite limited playing time in four seasons.
Second-half rally keys Durant win
TAMPA -- As one of the county's top teams and the defending champion of the A.P. Leto Holiday Classic, Durant's outlook for this year's tournament was looking pretty good.

Running
Forget carb-filled bars, runners gaga for goo

The latest trend in energy boosters bypasses solids, even liquids, opting for assorted packets of flavored ooze. And they're accessible for athletes on the go.

Season on the bubble
Salikis watch

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Kent Williams scored 13 of his game-high 17 in the second half, and the Salukis held the Bulldogs scoreless for the first 8:17 of the game to coast to their 18th straight home win.

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