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  1. No. 1 team in college football? Pick a team, any team


    The college football season began with certainty, or at least the impression of it. Ohio State took every first-place vote to become the first unanimous preseason No. 1 team in the history of the Associated Press poll. • As the season approaches its halfway point, predictability has been replaced with parity. • Eight teams got at least one No. 1 vote in this week's AP or coaches' polls, and four others were in the top five of at least one AP ballot. • Here (in no particular order) is a snapshot of 11 teams with at least somewhat legitimate cases to be No. 1: …

    Artavis Scott and Clemson are looking like a contender after avoiding upsets and defeating then-No. 6 Notre Dame.
  2. As season opens this week, it's time for stone crabbing 101


    It is said that fall arrived last month, but if you live and love the water, the season doesn't officially start until you've eaten your first stone crab. …

    Trey Stickland holds a stone crab taken during a dive trip. Crabs were taken onto the boat for photos, then returned to the water because it is illegal to possess the whole crab. Only one claw was taken, leaving one for protection from predators, and the removed claw can regenerate.
  3. Captain's Corner: Fly fishing for albies


    Albies love flies. A sure sign of the approaching fall fishing blitz is the large schools of false albacore and baby tunny feeding heavily on plentiful maturing baitfish, especially in gulf passes. Either a strong incoming or outgoing tide will have these speedy torpedoes chasing baitfish to the surface in areas that will attract terns and gulls, causing chaos. The birds will tell you where to fish. This is ideal fly rod fare and can be almost too easy to do by observing just a few rules. Running an outboard into the school will ruin your chances of success, so use the wind and tide to position your boat ahead of the surface activity, letting the fish come to you. An electric motor run slowly is a big help to get a good position. Jacks, ladyfish and mackerel will be mixed in with the albies taking advantage of the easy pickings. The wild surface activity usually contains the smaller fish, so getting your fly deeper will result in larger fish. Use a 9-weight fly rod with a full sinking or sink-tip fly line. Four or 5 feet of 25-pound hard monofilament leader will be attached to a size 2 white baitfish pattern made of synthetic materials rather than natural hair for durability. You can't retrieve the fly too fast. Many anglers put the rod under one arm and retrieve using both hands in hand-over-hand fashion after making a long cast. Using 150 yards of 30-pound backing gives you the advantage when the fish make long runs. A good large arbor reel with smooth adjustable drag is necessary. A pair of binoculars helps locate diving birds and extends your area of visibility. …

  4. Vols rally, Dawgs lose Chubb


    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Whether leading or trailing, Tennessee has a way of making it seem that no margin is insurmountable. Joshua Dobbs threw for a career-high 312 yards, ran for 118 and accounted for five touchdowns Saturday as the Vols erased a 21-point deficit in a 38-31 victory over No. 19 Georgia. …

  5. Captain's Corner: In search of slot snook


    Many anglers are on the hunt for the ever-elusive slot snook. They are around and in decent numbers. The problem is getting one to eat. They don't make it too long being stupid or making poor eating decisions. Large baits are a plus for tempting the sly adversaries. Snook are ambush predators, so look around points with deep water, deep water mangrove shorelines, docks and seawalls. Current flow is a must; the moving water sweeps baits past the strike zone, where the prestigious ones lay in wait. Redfish also have been cooperating all over the bay. Mullet schools are mixed in with redfish schools. The adage "find the mullet, find the fish" applies here as sending out live pilchards into the schools of mullet should result in a score. Cut bait such as ladyfish and pinfish soaked under a mangrove overhang on a steadily moving tide is a great way to relax between battles. The fish have been on the large side, most over the 27-inch side of the slot. They have also been chewing well on drifted pinfish, the ones that are about the size of small handful. Large trout are also making their presence known. Lots of fish in the slot but the once occasional 20-plus fish is becoming more common as we drift into fall. …

  6. Football: Citrus 48, Central 33


    INVERNESS — The past month has been difficult for Central's program, but the deciding blow might have come Friday night. …

  7. Captain's Corner: Fishing for snook, redfish around docks


    Most of our trips have been inside the Skyway bridge. Bait was easy to find over the deeper grass flats. Snook and redfish are hanging in the docks from Pinellas Point to Weedon Island. The trick to locating a productive dock is live chum the area and look for surface strikes. Have bait ready to cast as soon as you see a strike. It's best to cast over the strike and reel the bait back to where the fish broke the surface. When you cast short, reel in the bait and recast. Keep fishing until your chumming baits stop drawing strikes, then move to a new area and repeat the process. Tackle should be at least 20-pound line and a 40-pound leader. Anything lighter allows fish to cut you off on the pilings. These areas have oyster bars and swash islands nearby. Work the up-current side during the end of the incoming and the start of the outgoing tides. When live chumming these areas, try tossed baits low to the water so birds won't eat them. If birds see baits flash during the throw, they'll dive on the baits and spook the fish. Trolling and bottom-fishing for grouper along the shipping channel is red hot. If you don't have a good spot, try trolling the dropoff of the channel and mark a spot as soon as you hook a fish. You can then return and bottom-fish that area. The best depth is 26-34 feet. …

  8. Tampa Bay area rated nation's most vulnerable to hurricane storm surge


    With $175 billion in potential losses, Tampa Bay is the most vulnerable metro area in the nation to storm surge floods caused by a once-in-a-century hurricane. …

    A satellite image shows Hurricane Rita in the Gulf of Mexico west of Florida on Sept. 21, 2005.
  9. Captain's Corner: Fall weather bringing great results


    If it swims and you want to catch it, there is no better time. The slide into fall weather means that all the fish are reacting positively and the opportunities are basically endless. This is the best fishing of the year. You do not have to get out at 7 a.m. anymore, you will catch fish all day long if the tide is right. Redfish will be king and there is awesome action for big speckled trout. For tackle and techniques, go light all the time: Rod, reel, leader and lures. Finesse fishing, throw the lures long distances and if you are in feeding fish, they will attack the lures. Medium light outfits with light line and light leaders are all that you need. Redfish will be in very shallow water, trout will be everywhere where there is baitfish. Quietly approach the fish and present lures near the bottom. We have had great numbers of trout and redfish. Concentrate on areas with seagrass bottom: trout will be in about 3 feet in depth and redfish about a foot and a half.  …

  10. Ruth: Long haul to gun reforms


    For as long as I've been hen-scratching, I have cranked out more columns decrying America's irrational preoccupation with shooting one another than I could possibly recall. …

  11. Downstream South Carolina towns brace for flooding


    GEORGETOWN, S.C. — Along South Carolina's coast, residents were preparing for a second round of flooding as rivers swollen from days of devastating rains make their way toward the Atlantic. …

    Sean Nance walks through floodwaters carrying some work clothes as he evacuates from his apartment in the Ashborough subdivision near Summerville, S.C., on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. Residents are concerned that the Ashley River will continue to rise as floodwaters come down from Columbia.
  12. Captain's Corner: Inshore update


    Despite patches of rough weather over the past several days, inshore fishing remains good. The good action is due largely to the amount of bait in the area combined with still strong tides from last week's super moon. As we get closer to the weekend, look for the early morning low tide to present some good opportunities. Though we won't see the dramatic negative tide scenario of a week ago coming off the super moon, the water should be low and the fish on the outer edges of the flats. On these edges, they'll take advantage of the masses of baitfish that have also been pulled out to deeper water. Concentrate on key locations, corners, bends and small troughs that cut into the flat; all offer the fish holding structure that mullet, redfish, snook and trout use during this particular tidal phase. Capturing bait for the day can be as easy as you make it. Hordes of medium-sized threadfins are along bridge shadow lines at night as well as the uptide edge of just about any grass flat near the passes. The fickle threadfins won't last nearly as long as the much hardier scaled sardine, but if you don't overcrowd your live well you can get a few hours out of them and time is of the essence when you're trying to capitalize on a specific tidal phase. …

  13. Captain's Corner: Good time to target mackerel, redfish


    Water temperatures are starting to drop just a bit, and the days are getting shorter by a minute or so daily. We are rapidly approaching a great time of the year to be an angler in our area. King and Spanish mackerel are starting to show in good numbers and have been quite cooperative, and the redfish bite has been spectacular. Redfish are swarming the flats, and are holding in nice schools. Multiple catches of slot reds have been reported from upper Tampa Bay to Ruskin. Large aggregations of them can be found with a bit of persistence and patience. Most fish being caught are keepers if desired. The limit is one per person per day, with the minimum length being 18 inches to a maximum length of 27 inches with the tail pinched. Cut bait fished on the bottom proved deadly the last few outings. We tore our baits in half and put a small split shot to weight it slightly. Our smelly offerings out produced the live bait that was swimming in the same area. It wasn't even close. The dead stuff outperformed the live "greenbacks." Pick a day with a big high tide and look for the large groups of mullet. It is almost a guarantee that the reds will be meandering right there in the middle of all of the mullet, and are usually eager for a free offering. Mangrove shorelines adjacent to oyster mounds are a favorite hangout for early fall reds. Kingfish are scrumptious in the smokehouse or on the grill. Twice a year we get the migration of the seasonal pelagic fishes. They are just starting to show up but should be here in droves in the next few weeks. The weather is nice, and sea critters are hungry. It's just a good time to go fishing. …

  14. Fishing with jigs comes down to technique


    When it comes to catching fish, small changes can have big results. Twenty-five years on the fishing beat have taught me to keep my eyes and ears open and my mouth shut. So when my boss suggested I write a story about soft-plastic artificial baits, a.k.a. "jigs," I thought I would get a second opinion. • "A story? You could write a whole book," declared Joe Georgia of Seminole's Dogfish Tackle Company. "Where do you start?" …

    Joe Georgia of Seminole’s Dogfish Tackle Company, also pictured top left, displays an assortment of wintertime artificial jerk and swim baits.
  15. Tide rolls all over Dawgs again


    ATHENS, Ga. — With its season in the balance, Alabama had quite a response Saturday. The Crimson Tide is still a force in the national race.  …

    Alabama’s Derrick Henry, who finishes with 148 yards rushing, takes off for a 30-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter against Georgia.
  16. Captain's Corner: Higher winds pushing fish around


    Higher winds from the northwest have pushed the fish around this week. Many reliable areas have been unproductive, forcing anglers to focus on different zones. Although bait has been plentiful on north Pinellas beaches, winds have made cast-netting them difficult. Chumming the flats is working, attracting a variety of sizes of pinfish, sardines and threadfins. Also lower-than-normal tides will push many fish to the edges where they forage for food. Trout can be found working along the grass flats in 3-5 feet of water. Look for lush turtle grass and eel grasses mixed with sandy potholes. Free-lined baits have been getting chased by trout, ladyfish and jacks. Redfish have been pulled away from the shorelines and mangroves as well. Look for birds walking along the shallow, draining flats. They're seeking small crabs and other crustaceans, the same food as redfish, often hinting to a good place to find reds along the dropoff of the flat. Spread cut pinfish along the edges of the flats in these areas and be patient. Snook are starting to show in back country bays and canals. Chumming with greenbacks can get snook in a frenzy, popping the baits on the surface, giving away their location. …

  17. Romano: Time to throw out Bush-era education reforms


    For the longest time, it seemed educational reformers could do no wrong. They had the theories, they had the platform and, most importantly, they had the power. …

  18. Captain's Corner: Cool brings hots fishing action


    We finally have a beautiful weekend in store. Air and water temperatures will be lower, and no humidity. Fishing should be on fire coming off the super moon. The cooler water temperatures make fish really want to eat. Schooling redfish continue to be all over. Fort De Soto, Joe's Island, Weedon Island and the upper bay around the Courtney Campbell have numerous schools. They've been easy to find on lower tides. Their tails are up in the air while forging through the grass. Chumming heavily with scaled sardines gets their attention. Free-line a scaled sardine into the school and hold on. Each school is different; one might be over the slot limit, another will have all slot redfish. The best part of cooler water temperatures is it makes snook want to eat. A lot of the slot fish have been caught on the flats in sand holes. If looking for snook, fish near the mangrove lines. Chum the water with scaled sardines to get them active. Spanish mackerel, bonita and a few king mackerel can be had just off the beaches. Not a fan of trolling? Anchor up and saturate the water with scaled sardines. This brings fish to you. It also allows for smaller tackle. …

  19. Baker's Dozen: Matt Baker previews college football weekend (w/video)


    Strike the pose, September style …

    Getty Images
  20. 2013 recruiting class powers Ole Miss rise (w/video)


    GAINESVILLE — Florida defensive back Vernon Har­greaves and Ole Miss receiver Laquon Treadwell both remember the last time they faced each other — at Tropicana Field during the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game. "He made a couple plays on me," Treadwell said. "I made a couple plays on him." …

    In this Sept. 26, 2015 file photo, Mississippi wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (1) is tackled by Vanderbilt cornerback Torren McGaster (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss.  The premier matchup in Saturday, Oct. 3 game  between No. 3 Mississippi and No. 25 Florida match up Treadwell against Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III.  (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) NY158

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