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  1. Morning Watch: Mourning, memorials as Oakland warehouse fire probe continues


    Here's what's new around the bay area this morning.  …

    A group prays near the site of a warehouse fire Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. The death toll from a fire that tore through a warehouse hosting a late-night dance party climbed on Sunday as firefighters painstakingly combed through rubble for others believed to still be missing. [Associated Press]
  2. Fennelly: Tampa, behold your College Football Playoff title game hopefuls


    We have our Final Four. The Florida Gators are still being dusted for fingerprints. Be on the lookout in Tampa Bay for a short coach brandishing a large dynasty. It's Alabama. It's Nick Saban. He's even bringing Lane Kiffin with him. We think. …

    Alabama head coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are back in the playoff, hoping for a chance to defend their title in Tampa.
  3. College Football Playoff No. 1 seed: Alabama


    Alabama Nickname: Crimson Tide Record: 13-0 (9-0 SEC)  …

    Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban watches the referees during the fourth quarter of the SEC championship against the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Georgia Dome on Saturday December 3, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Florida Gators 54 to 16.
  4. AP Top 25: Alabama positioned to become third wire-to-wire No. 1 champ


    Alabama heads into the postseason with a chance to become the third wire-to-wire champion in the history of The Associated Press college football poll. The Crimson Tide was No. 1 in final AP Top 25 of the regular season Sunday, just as it has been since the preseason. …

    Alabama team members celebrate after the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Florida, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, in Atlanta. Alabama won 54-16. [Associated Press]
  5. Jalen Hurts inconsistent, but Tide finds other ways to beat Gators


    ATLANTA — Austin Appleby stepped back, saw Antonio Callaway open and fired the ball. It arrived several feet behind the target, landing instead in the waiting arms of Alabama corner Minkah Fitzpatrick. And the Gators couldn't do anything to stop him. …

    Jalen Hurts, described by a teammate as “smooth the whole time,’’ celebrates after a second straight title game win over UF.
  6. Reports: Willie Taggart meets with Oregon about head coaching job


    In recent days, Twitter has been rife with photos of USF prospects posing with Bulls coaches during in-home visits. Staffers Shaun King, T.J. Weist, Alonzo Hampton and David Reaves all have popped up in these smile-centric snapshots. One coach was conspicuously absent: Willie Taggart. …

    South Florida head coach Willie Taggart sings the school song with his team after the Bulls' 56-20 victory over Towson at Raymond James in Tampa on Saturday, September 3, 2016. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  7. No turning the Tide: No. 1 Alabama thrashes No. 15 Florida


    ATLANTA — Florida coach Jim McElwain walked off the Georgia Dome turf Saturday soundly beaten by his old boss for the second year in a row.  …

    Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen sacks Austin Appleby during the fourth quarter. Earlier, Appleby was intercepted twice in a span of three passes.
  8. Captain's Corner: How to target snook in colder months


    Cooler days and blue skies have changed things a bit for fishing in north Pinellas. Snook are feeling the effects of colder nights and seeking the warmer backcountry waters to stage for the winter. They will eat less frequently and usually in the afternoon when the water has warmed. Many anglers will find good success with snook while night fishing under dock and bridge lights where fish ambush baits. Snook tend to eat better at night, yet several other species can be caught at night, too. Trout are often ambushing baits in the lights along with redfish, ladyfish and Spanish mackerel. Live shrimp or sardines free-lined into the lights and even soft plastic jerkbaits will get struck. For daytime action, the larger trout are still moving into St. Joseph Sound around the spoil islands. They seem to prefer a specific height of the tide before eating. Several docks and oyster beds lining the seawalls are holding redfish. The waters have become gin clear in most areas so patience, stealth and light tackle are a must. Sheepshead are great to target through winter.  …

  9. Captain's Corner: Strong bits for several fish


    It is getting to be the time of year for negative tides and strong northeast winds really blowing the water out. Don't get discouraged by this. It will give you an opportunity to find new fishing areas. Deep troughs will also be visible. Look for troughs just off the flats that are exposed. Fish are usually piled up there. The redfish bite has been pretty consistent this week. A couple of nice schools of bull reds are running around with the mullet. If the winds are down and you are able to get offshore, then you should be pretty successful. I have been told that the mangrove snapper, hog snapper and grouper bites are really going off. Small tuna are hanging on the most popular wrecks. Mix in some kingfish action and you should have a blast. …

  10. News at noon: Bondi's career path could lead to White House; medical marijuana moving slowly; downtown waterfront parks the hot new thing; and new restaurants opening in Tampa Bay


    Pam Bondi would bring personal loyalty to Donald Trump's future administration — and political baggage, too. Her meeting today with the president-elect at Trump Tower, ostensibly to discuss a high-level federal post, is the latest milepost in her stunning rise from local Tampa prosecutor to state attorney general to possible White House insider. …

    Pam Bondi was with Donald Trump for most of the campaign, save for a couple months when she stayed off the trail amid questions of a political donation Trump gave her in 2013 around the same time Trump University was being investigated. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  11. College Football Playoff: A Saturday road map to the best final four


    This is it. Today is the final day that matters in the college football regular season. Before the weekend is over, we will have our final four playoff teams. Who those four teams are will be determined by what happens today. …

    FILE - At left, in a Nov. 3, 2016, file photo, Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre argues a call during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against UCLA in Boulder, Colo. At right, in an Oct. 22, 2016, file photo, Washington head coach Chris Petersen directs his team against Oregon State in an NCAA college football game in Seattle. Colorado and Washington play in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/File) NY161
  12. How to beat Alabama? List is short, not sweet


    ATLANTA — Jim McElwain hasn't sugarcoated the challenge his No. 15 Gators face in today's SEC championship.  …

    Alabama starting quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) during team practice at the Georgia Dome on Friday December 2, 2016, in Atlanta Georgia. Alabama will take on Florida in the SEC Championship on Saturday. Kickoff is 4pm.
  13. Title games, worst to first: No. 5 — Alabama 45, Clemson 40


    Throughout the season, the Tampa Bay Times will rank all 18 previous college football national title games (dating to the start of the BCS era), from worst to first. Today, we look back on January's dandy in the desert between Alabama and Clemson. (Could a sequel be in the works?) …

    Kenyan Drake of the Alabama Crimson Tide returns a punt for a 95 yards touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Clemson Tigers during the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) 595505413
  14. Title town bound? Predicting the CFP teams, Week 14


    Each week Times staff writers Matt Baker and Joey Knight will handicap what the field might look like for the national championship game on Jan. 9. Don't like their picks? Give us yours. Joey Knight 1. Alabama: Can't see anyone on the landscape keeping the Tide from rolling in to Tampa. …

    In this Oct. 22, 2016, file photo, Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (93) sacks Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight during the first half of an NCAA college football game,in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Southeastern Conference's two stingiest defenses will take the field in the league championship game.  (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File) NY166
  15. Friday's letters: Election violates 'one person, one vote'


    2016 election Violating 'one person, one vote' …

  16. Florida DBs hope for a less pass-happy 'Bama this time around


    GAINESVILLE — Backed into his own end zone, trailing late in the game and with the Florida State marching band blasting the War Chant, Jalen Tabor danced.  …

    Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (13) makes a touchdown reception over Florida Gators defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III (1) and defensive back Marcus Maye (20) in the third quarter of the SEC championship game between the Florida Gators and Alabama Crimson Tide at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. (Loren Elliot, Times)
  17. Florida-Alabama: SEC's best defenses meet for the title


    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Southeastern Conference's two stingiest defenses will take the field in the league championship game. That's no coincidence. …

    Ian McCaw, the former athletic director at scandal-plagued Baylor,was hired Monday as AD at Liberty University. [Associated Press]
  18. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 1


    Melissa Etheridge: For this special show, Etheridge and her holiday trio will perform songs from her 2008 holiday album, A New Thought For Christmas, including fan favorites and holiday classics. 7:30 p.m., Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $49.50-$92.50. (727) 893-7832. …

    Handout photo of Melissa Etheridge, performing at the Mahaffey Theater on 12/1/16. Credit: Primary Wave
  19. Alabama's Nick Saban: 'It's never okay to lose a game'


    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Nick Saban doesn't want to hear that maybe Alabama can lose in the Southeastern Conference championship game and still get into the playoffs.  …

    Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and Alabama head coach Nick Saban greet one another after an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Vasha Hunt/ via AP) ALBIN401
  20. Up next for Florida: An even better 'Bama in SEC championship


    GAINESVILLE — When No. 15 Florida rolled back home early Sunday morning from Tallahassee, coach Jim McElwain gave his team until it unloaded the bus at 3:45 a.m. to stew over the 18-point defeat at Florida State. …

    Florida receiver Antonio Callaway has a potential touchdown catch bounce off his fingers against FSU.

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