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SEC is loser in dumping non-conference rivalries

I just read with disgust that Georgia is considering dropping traditional rival Clemson from its schedule "due to eight conference games." Under this cowardly guise, most SEC teams have likewise weakened their schedules against strong outside teams _ Alabama dropped Penn State, Florida dropped Miami, Auburn dropped FSU. Only Tennessee maintains its non-conference integrity by playing UCLA and Colorado State.

No wonder our SEC is losing self-esteem and national stature. In addition to dropping great traditional outside rivalries, the conference split and added two weak sisters (Arkansas and South Carolina) to perennial losers Vandy, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

Pathetically, SEC schools don't understand that strong schedules win national championships. Miami won the title with one loss to FSU, and FSU won with a loss to Notre Dame.

Other nationally recognized conference teams play eight games, but find openings for strong outside opponents: Penn State plays USC, Michigan plays Notre Dame and Colorado, Washington plays Miami and Ohio State, Syracuse plays Oklahoma, Nebraska plays UCLA and West Virginia, Miami plays Washington and FSU.

Georgia, don't weasel out of the rivalry with Clemson. Come on other SEC schools, do better scheduling and improve our image and chances at a national championship.

_ Kenneth W. Davis

Bradenton

Spurrier a big-game flop

Recently I read that UF was looking to enhance its logo, but a new logo won't change the score of last weekend's Florida-Auburn game. What makes Steve Spurrier think he is better than the fans? Is it his arrogance, his ego or both that get in the way of the fans' team winning the big game. You remember the big game _ the one against an SEC team or state rival that the Gators always seem to lose in the final seconds. Steve Spurrier can't win the big game.

The reason I'm upset is because undefeated seasons are supposed to come easily _ unless you play for a team from Alabama and you have Florida on the schedule as your big game. What we lost was a chance to win our first national title. I thought this was going to be the year. I thought the dream was real. I thought why not _ Terry Bowden's dad has a title, Miami has done it, 'Bama has done it. Why not Florida? Why not, coach?

I'll tell you why. Because those teams win the big game.

It's a national title that will make UF's football program a success. Not a new logo.

_ Eugene A. Libertucci

Staten Island, N.Y.

Baseball awards tainted

I was very surprised after the baseball season was canceled to learn that the Baseball Writers Association will hand out "awards" for this season. First of all, what season? It was canceled. If the season is canceled, shouldn't all of the "records" of the season be canceled as well? I contend that they should.

In every other strike, the season was completed. This one wasn't, which, in effect should wipe out any records from it.

_ Mark Anderson, Largo

No hype, no hope

Regarding the Bucs: I paid no attention to the preseason hype, so I don't have to listen to the in-season excuses. Ho, hum.

_ Tom Goellner, Clearwater

Share your views with the Times. Letters should be 150 words or fewer and will be edited for clarity. Send to Sports Forum, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg 33731. Letters will also be accepted through facsimile at (813) 893-8675.

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