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  1. 7A-8: Sunlake goes on late scoring 'Spree' to top Land O'Lakes

    Home Team

    TRINITY — Top-seeded Mitchell, the defending state runnerup, dispatched Springstead 25-13, 25-16, 25-14 in the Class 7A, District 8 semifinals Tuesday and will play No. 3 seed Sunlake in Thursday's final.   …

  2. University of Tampa gets its own wave of creepy clown sightings

    The Gradebook

    TAMPA — Perhaps it was inevitable. The scourge of creepy clowns — very few of whom actually seem to exist in the flesh — afflicted another school earlier this week, this time the University of Tampa. A message from the Office of the Dean of Students on Oct. 4 sought to nip the issue in the bud. …

  3. AAC Power Rankings, Week 5


    A little more than one month into the season, the American Athletic Conference remains as jumbled as ever. Houston has shown no signs of slowing down, and USF is firmly entrenched as the league's No. 2 team so far. But beyond that, there's a ton of parity.Here's how the conference is shaping out through five weeks, as compiled by a league-wide panel of beat reporters.1. Houston (5-0, 2-0 AAC): The Greg Ward Jr. Show hit prime time for the Cougars’ game against Connecticut and did not disappoint viewers. The senior quarterback accounted for 454 yards and five touchdowns in the 42-14 win. While Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is considered the early Heisman Trophy frontrunner, this national TV game was a chance for Ward to make an early case. Mission accomplished: Most Heisman tracking sites have Ward among the top 3 this week. "We're petitioning the NCAA to let us use 15 players on defense," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said about facing Ward on Saturday in Annapolis, Md. -- Joseph Duarte, The Houston Chronicle2. USF (4-1, 1-0): Marlon Mack became USF’s all-time leading rusher as the Bulls easily dispatched Cincinnati, 45-20, on the road in their AAC opener. Mack, a junior who now has 2,755 yards in 28 career games, rushed for 118 and two TDs on 20 carries. USF’s defense, meantime, bounced back in the second half after yielding 272 yards in the first 30 minutes. It forced three turnovers, including a pick-six that Johnny Ward returned 11 yards for a score. -- Jeff Odom, Tampa Bay Times3. Memphis (3-1): Though the Tigers' first road trip of the season resulted in a 48-28 loss to nationally-ranked Ole Miss, Coach Mike Norvell was encouraged by the team's resolve early in the second half. Down by three possessions at halftime, Memphis rallied to cut the Rebels' lead to 27-21 in the third quarter before letting the game slip away once again. There were mistakes across the board for the Tigers, from penalties (seven for 52 yards) to turnovers (four) to a string of missed tackles and a few key special teams miscues in the second half.  -- Tom Schad, The Commercial Appeal4. Navy (3-1, 2-0): The Midshipmen saw one of their primary goals essentially  fall by the wayside Saturday as they lost hope of re-claiming the coveted Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. Air Force dominated defensively from start to finish in handing Navy a 28-14 defeat. The Midshipmen were held to 57 rushing yards, their lowest output in 14 years. Navy can only hope to retain the CIC Trophy by having Army beat Air Force, then winning the season-ending showdown with its arch-rival. -- Bill Wagner, Baltimore Sun Media Group5. Cincinnati (3-2, 0-2): The Bearcats are having issues at quarterback. UC lost, 45-20, at home to South Florida last Saturday, with regular starting QB Hayden Moore (ankle) out again. Redshirt freshman Ross Trail started for a second straight week, going 20-of-30 for 216 yards and a TD with three interceptions, including his second pick-six of the season. Fifth-year senior and former starting QB Gunner Kiel entered the USF game late, going 3-of-11 for 47 yards in his first substantial action this year. Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville said he doesn’t think Moore will be able to play this week against UConn, and it is unclear whether Trail or Kiel will get the start. -- Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati Enquirer6. Temple (3-2, 1-0): The Owls spotted SMU a TD on an interception return in the first minute, then scored the next 35 points in a 45-20 win. After two strong games, QB Phillip Walker had what was, in his words, "one of my worst games" (7-of-18, 124 yards, one TD, two INTs). The Owls were boosted by the running game, rushing for 244 yards and four TDs. Sophomore Ryquell Armstead, who spells starter and returning All-AAC running back Jahad Thomas, rushed for a career high 159 yards and two scores on 15 carries. One of Temple's best players, junior S Sean Chandler, missed the game with a knee injury and will be out for Thursday's game at Memphis and likely longer. LB Stephaun Marshall, who leads the team with 28 tackles, also likely won't play this week due to injury.  -- Marc Narducci, Philadelphia Inquirer7. UCF (3-2, 1-0): UCF opened conference play by avenging a 2015 loss to East Carolina, 47-29, on the road. The Knights’ defense allowed the Pirates to get their usual 500-plus total yards of offense, but were able to force five turnovers, including a safety from defensive back T.J. Mutcherson and a pick-six from freshman DL Brendan Hayes. RB Adrian Killins scored on a 100-yard kickoff return, earning AAC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. -- Shannon Green, Orlando Sentinel8. Tulsa (3-1): After concluding non-conference play the previous week, the Golden Hurricane used its open date to get healthy and prepare for SMU, which comes to town Friday night in what will be the return of former offensive coordinator Chad Morris to Tulsa. With a difficult league schedule that includes road games against the three teams picked to finish above it in the West Division, Tulsa needs to prevail at home especially when favored by more than two TDs, as it will be against the Mustangs -- Kelly Hines, Tulsa World9. East Carolina (2-3, 0-1): The Pirates' 47-29 loss to UCF was their third in a row, and starting QB Philip Nelson remained a question mark early this week after being knocked out on a high hit and not returning to the game against the Knights. This week, it gets even tougher for ECU with a Saturday trip to East Division front-runner South Florida. The Pirates committed five turnovers against the Knights and continued to struggle in the red zone. -- Nathan Summers, The Daily Reflector10. Connecticut (2-3, 0-2): The Huskies added a blowout loss to their resume last week, 42-14, at Houston. UConn allowed 28 points in the second quarter alone, more than it has scored in an entire game this season. The UConn running game got next to nowhere on the nation's top rushing defense and Noel Thomas, now sixth in the nation with 46 receptions, was the lone offensive bright spot. Defensively, UConn continues to have problems defending the pass. One has to start wondering what positive can become of this season without a victory Saturday at home against Cincinnati, which has defeated UConn five games in a row and leads the series 10-2. -- Mike Anthony, The Hartford Courant11. Tulane (3-2, 0-1): Tulane notched its first road win of the season in Saturday’s 31-24 victory at UMass after falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter. The Green Wave has won three of its last four games, but nature has halted its momentum. Its game at UCF, initially slated for Friday, has been moved to Nov. 5 due to Hurricane Matthew. -- Will Guillory, The Times-Picayune12. SMU (2-3, 0-1): SMU's offensive woes continued in its 45-20 loss to Temple on Saturday. The Mustangs failed to run the football, gave up multiple sacks, turned the ball over four times, and watched redshirt freshman QB Ben Hicks made a number of costly mistakes. Hicks now has thrown nine interceptions in four starts. If Hicks does not improve, SMU's ship will continue to sink. In fact, the only thing keeping it afloat is the defense. The Mustangs are tied with Troy for the Division I lead in interceptions with 12. -- EJ Holland, Dallas Morning News

  4. Democrats fret over Hillary Clinton ground game in Florida

    The Buzz

    It’s time for Hillary Clinton to start worrying about her Florida campaign.  …

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes the stage during a campaign stop in Des Moines, Thursday.
  5. Winners in other key Florida congressional primaries

    The Buzz

    Florida had a number of spirited primaries that were settled tonight. District 2: Neal Dunn narrowly defeated Mary Thomas in what was a nasty GOP primary for the seat currently held by Democrat Gwen Graham, who chose not to run becuase the district became more solidly Republican. …

  6. Gov. Scott reiterates Zika prevention tips to colleges, universities, Miami-Dade officials

    The Buzz

    After the state confirmed Friday that Zika cases are spreading in Miami Beach, Gov. Rick Scott spoke to Miami-Dade officials and college and university leaders on conference calls, urging them to continue Zika prevention efforts. …

  7. CDC team on way to Florida to help fight Zika, WH says

    The Buzz

    President Obama is being briefed on the Zika situation in South Florida and a Centers for Disease Control team is being deployed to help, a White House spokesman said today. …

  8. State confirms 10 new Zika cases, prompting CDC travel warning in Miami

    The Buzz

    Another 10 people are believed to have contracted Zika virus from mosquitoes in Miami, Gov. Rick Scott’s office announced Monday. …

    The one-square-mile area where state health officials believe Zika has been spreading by mosquito.
  9. Dr. Ralph Stanley, bluegrass pioneer from 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' soundtrack, dies at 89

    Sound Check

    The roots of country music run deep in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. …

    Dr. Ralph Stanley
  10. Florida sending 100 Highway Patrol troopers to GOP convention

    The Buzz

    Florida will dispatch 134 Highway Patrol employees, including 100 full-time state troopers, to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to help with crowd control and security.  …

    The Florida Highway Patrol's mobile field force.
  11. Dump Trump at convention? 'Time to amputate gangrened limb to save patient'

    The Buzz

    Surprises me how many people still doubt Marco Rubio will run for another term, but be that as it may here are the comments and final results of the latest Florida Insider Poll: …

  12. Cid advances to Sweet 16


    For the second time in three years, Roberto Cid is headed to college tennis' version of the Sweet 16.The USF senior, seeded No. 2 overall in the NCAA men's singles tournament in Tulsa, Okla., dispatched second-round foe Mazen Osama of Alabama, 6-0, 6-3 on Thursday to earn a berth in the Round of 16. …

    USF's Roberto Cid is headed to college tennis' version of the Sweet Sixteen for the second time in three years.
  13. ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of April 17, 2016

    The Gradebook

    With all lingering education bills dispatched, Florida school leaders turned their attention back to local matters while awaiting guidance on what the newest laws mean. They dealt with taxes and testing, evaluations and pay. A Palm Beach School Board member got arrested on federal bribery charges. The Marion school district barred transgender use of the bathrooms of their preferred identity. Those are just the highlights in another busy week of Florida education news. Get the latest daily at the Gradebook. …

  14. HomeTeam Hot Shots: Nominations for Feb. 13-19

    Home Team

    Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate male and female Hot Shot athletes from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Feb. 13 through Friday, Feb. 19. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday. Female nominees …

  15. Rubio's poor New Hampshire finish blunts his momentum

    The Buzz

    Rick Santorum started it. Chris Christie kicked the door wide open. And the voters of New Hampshire finished the job. …

    Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio waves to supporters Tuesday night after his speech at his Republican primary night rally at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, N.H.
  16. Neville, Ron and Ginny, Oh My: Follow us at the Celebration of Harry Potter

    The Feed

    Muggles, line up! Dumbledore's finest are descending on Universal Orlando as we speak for the third annual Celebration of Harry Potter, running through Sunday. Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright), Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) and Katie Leung (Cho Chang) are in Orlando for a behind the scenes film talent panel discussion as a part of the event. …

    Fans pouring into the #HarryPotter expo at Universal Studios. The first treat is a paper school tie complete with house crest.
  17. After lengthy, lively debate, open-carry proposal heads to full Florida House

    The Buzz

    Despite discord among the state’s law enforcement officers and passionate efforts to derail it, a National Rifle Association-backed measure to allow nearly 1.5 million people to openly carry guns in Florida is ready for consideration by the full state House. …

    State Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, left, confers with gun-rights lobbyists — Marion Hammer, the National Rifle Association’s longtime Tallahassee representative, and Florida Carry’s attorney Eric Friday — about a late-filed amendment proposed to Gaetz’s open-carry gun legislation during a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016.
  18. GE brings to light just how far Tampa Bay is slipping behind top tier cities

    Bay Buzz

    It's hard to imagine, but there was a time during the 00's that Tampa Bay leaders really believed suburban office parks would be the future. They planned to make Interstate 4 a "High Tech Corridor" lined with massive office parks, from Tampa to Orlando. …

  19. ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Jan. 11, 2016

    The Gradebook

    Florida's Legislature returned to the Capitol on Tuesday and wasted no time in expanding school choice opportunities for students with disabilities, a priority of Senate President Andy Gardiner. The bill is already headed to the governor's desk. Lawmakers also struck on other hot issues early, including testing, teacher bonuses and more That was just in Tallahassee. Local school districts kept active in dealing with issues including the role of religion in schools, superintendent contracts and an influx of immigrant students. And this in a year when education is supposedly going to be on the periphery. Keep up with the latest daily at the Gradebook. Any questions? Email …

  20. USF in review: Top 5 stories of '15


    We couldn't legitimately call ourselves good conformists here at the Bulls blog if we didn't provide at least one year-ending list. Here then, in the literal last hours of 2015, is our ranking of the year's top five USF sports stories.1. He did somethingWillie Taggart's autumn served as a blueprint for the ebb, flow and utter kookiness of a college football season. With his team mired in another swoon (1-3) and talk of his job security increasing in volume, the Bulls' third-year coach orchestrated the biggest mid-season turnaround in the program's 19-year history. USF won seven of its last eight regular season games, finished undefeated in the American Athletic Conference's East Division, and earned its first bowl berth in a half-decade. When the final specks of dust from this surreal season dissipated, Taggart had a raise and contract extension. "This is just the beginning," Taggart said.2. March MadnessOnly the biggest turnaround in Bulls football history could upstage the best season in school basketball history (yes, we're talking men's or women's). Consider all the milestones achieved by the Bulls women in 2014-15: (A) first Associated Press ranking, (B) highest NCAA Tournament seed (sixth), (C) first conference title game appearance, (D) first time selected as NCAA Tournament host. By season's end, the Bulls (27-8) had tied the program season record for victories and had come within a brief second-half meltdown of reaching the Sweet 16. Jose Fernandez's current club has the goods to equal (or eclipse) last season's feats, though its failure to defeat a ranked team at this point has been surprising.3. Distractions in triplicateTo be sure, the breakthrough season of the Taggart era wasn't without its blemishes. Ugly off-field incidents -- one of them carrying tragic repercussions -- immediately followed each of USF's first three home victories. Hours after the Bulls' season-opening romp of FAMU at Raymond James Stadium, former Bulls DT Elkino Watson was stabbed to death outside an Ybor City nightclub. Watson's death not only devastated many players and coaches, but spawned an ugly aftershock when Taggart announced he was banning his players from Ybor City, only to be overruled by his boss. Five weeks later, after a 45-24 homecoming win against Syracuse, two Bulls backups -- OL Benjamin Knox and CB Lamar Robbins -- were arrested on charges of firing a gun on campus. Two weeks after that, following a 38-14 win against SMU, freshman WR Deangelo Antoine was arrested on felony charges of possessing a controlled substance.4. Wallflowers no moreBehind first-year coach Mark Kingston, USF's baseball team (34-26-1) snapped a 12-year postseason drought by earning its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2002. The Bulls didn't dance long -- dropping two of three in the Gainesville Regional -- but appear well-equipped for a serious run at a second consecutive NCAA berth. Kingston has some high-caliber arms to replace (i.e. ace Jimmy Herget, closer Tommy Peterson), but four of the top five hitters return and Kingston's first two recruiting classes have been nationally heralded.5. Condition stableFor Bulls football constituents, no news is very good news in the waning days of 2015. Allen's widely reported flirtation with Auburn has come and gone, and co-offensive coordinator Danny Hope's name hasn't (yet) surfaced on the perpetually spinning coaching carousel. If both remain on staff entering the 2016 preseason (and it remains a substantial 'if' at this point), USF will enter a year with the same coordinators for the first time since 2011.Five Biggest Wins of '151. USF 44, Temple 23 (football)Bulls' first victory against a ranked team in four years made them bowl-eligible2. USF 73, LSU 64 (women's basketball)Bulls roll in NCAA Tournament opener before a raucous Sun Dome crowd of 5,560.3. USF 2, Cal State Fullerton 1 (baseball)On frigid night in Clearwater, Bulls make resounding statement in Kingston's debut4. USF wins New Haven Regional (men's golf)The only team to finish under par, the No. 3-seeded Bulls lead wire to wire to clinch an NCAA Tournament berth.5. USF 4, Virginia Tech 0 (men's tennis)The Bulls earn the program's first Round of 16 berth by dispatching of the Hokies in short order in the NCAA tourney. 

    USF tailback Marlon Mack and the rest of the Bulls won seven of their final eight regular season games, the biggest mid-season turnaround in program history.

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