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College football briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 23, 2000


Barring upset of UF, Auburn to face Michigan in Citrus

ORLANDO -- Auburn will play Michigan in the Florida Citrus Bowl, provided the Tigers don't win the Southeastern Conference title game.

The Citrus Bowl extended the invitation Wednesday for the Jan. 1 game. A victory over No. 7 Florida on Dec. 2 in Atlanta would land the No. 17 Tigers in the Bowl Championship Series and the Sugar Bowl.

In that case, the Citrus would invite Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi State or LSU.

Auburn rebounded from consecutive losing records to go 9-2 and win the SEC West, closing with four straight wins.

"Should we get the opportunity, our people will welcome the chance to come to Orlando and play a quality program like the Michigan Wolverines," athletic director David Housel said.

Auburn played Southern Cal in the 1987 Florida Citrus Bowl.

Chuck Rohe, executive director of the Citrus Bowl, said he would expect Auburn to bring as many as 25,000 fans.

MICRONPC: North Carolina State coach Chuck Amato expected to be in South Florida for the Christmas holidays -- just not with a team predicted to finish seventh in the Atlantic Coast Conference. But the coach of the Wolfpack (6-4) will return to a part of the country where he made his living as a recruiter for Florida State. N.C. State accepted a bid to play in the Micronpc.com Bowl in Fort Lauderdale.

Around the state

FLORIDA A&M: Coach Billy Joe said the Rattlers will not be hurt badly by the loss of All-MEAC linebacker Patrick Burrows, who will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury

Despite sitting out two games and much of the Rattlers' 31-28 win over Bethune-Cookman last week, the senior from Miami leads FAMU with 53.5 tackles.

"We'd love to have Pat Burrows in there, and we'd love to have a healthy Nakia Bynum (turf toe), but the linebacking corps was always our strongest area on defense," Joe said. "We have a lot of depth."

Senior linebackers John Battle (shoulder) and Bynum are likely to play at Western Kentucky on Saturday. Defensive back Darnell Vickers (knee) is probable.

MIAMI: Coach Butch Davis praised his team during practices in preparation for the Boston College game. "The players are upbeat, and we're having a good week of work," Davis said. "This team has really showed its maturity with the way they work each day. I'm glad to see that has continued all the way to the end of the regular season. We have a lot to play for, and the kids have really done an excellent job of maintaining their intensity." The Hurricanes practice this morning.

Around the nation

GEORGIA: Freshman tailback Musa Smith is expected to play Saturday against Georgia Tech despite a shoulder injury, coach Jim Donnan said.

Smith rushed for 144 yards in last week's 32-14 win over Mississippi before leaving with the injury. That was the first time this season a Georgia back has run for more than 100 yards.

"If he plays like we think he can, that would be an obvious plus for us," Donnan said.

MISSISSIPPI: Running back Deuce McAllister, a Heisman hopeful at the start of the season, said he is healthier than he has been since the second week of the season. The Rebels play Mississippi State tonight in the Egg Bowl.

UTAH: Backup quarterback Joel Gines has been diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer. Coach Ron McBride told the team that Gines, 23, learned over the weekend that he has synovial sarcoma. "The doctors told me, "It's serious. It could kill you,' " Gines said. "But it's not going to. They told me because I'm young and healthy, because I'm an athlete and I've got a good track record, there is a real good success rate." Gines begins at least three weeks of chemotherapy treatments Monday. Surgery is planned after two cycles to remove a growth on his groin.

WEST VIRGINIA: Tennessee Titans assistant head coach George Henshaw has withdrawn from consideration for the Mountaineers' head coaching job. Henshaw, 52, had been considered a top candidate to replace retiring Don Nehlen.

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