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Miami, Florida unlikely to meet at RJS

Tampa's chances of hosting a Miami-Florida matchup might be diminishing.

The Hurricanes and Gators are next scheduled to meet in 2008, and talks have been held about playing at Raymond James Stadium.

But if the NCAA approves increasing the regular season to 12 games, the teams would play a home-and-away series in 2008-09.

The executive committee is expected to take up the issue. If approved, it would be voted on in April. Most athletic directors favor the move because of the financial windfall an extra game brings.

"I believe it has a real good chance," SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Friday.

COSTLY INJURY: With several starters injured, Miami suffered another loss early. With 5:00 left in the first quarter, senior defensive lineman Alton Wright hurt his lower right leg.

It took emergency personnel a few extra minutes to get Wright off the field. The first cart blew a tire. Then the stretcher paramedics used to load Wright onto the second cart wouldn't fold down.

Eventually Wright was placed on the cart without the stretcher then wheeled off, signaling thumbs up and smiling. His status was unknown.

OOPS, MY BAD: The game's media guide has two mistakes. Florida quarterbacks coach Ed Zaunbrecher's name is misspelled as Zaunbrecker, and Mike Woodford is listed as special-teams coach and a photo included. Woodford was fired at the end of last season.

NO OFFENSE TAKEN: Although they led the SEC in rushing and passing, respectively, Florida running back Ciatrick Fason and quarterback Chris Leak were snubbed on the All-SEC team chosen by the coaches.

Fason, who said he is leaving early for the NFL, isn't offended. Asked if he believes the team's coaching change overshadowed his performances, Fason said, "Not at all."

Instead, he said, Florida's on-field performance hurt.

"If our season would have been better, we would have been SEC first team," Fason said. "They went off records. As you see, Ronnie Brown (Auburn running back) was the (seventh-leading) rusher in the SEC, and he made first team."

"We weren't too concerned. I made AP first team, and I'm happy about that. It's just the way our season went. If we would have had a better year, we know we would have been at the top with those other guys."

Fason was a second-teamer, and Leak was left off.

A MOMENT FOR REGGIE: Before the game, a moment of silence was observed for former Tennessee and NFL star Reggie White, who died Sunday at 43. White was inducted into the Peach Bowl Hall of Fame in 2003.

DEALING WITH REALITY: When the season began, Miami's defense was without four players drafted in the first round. Coach Larry Coker said the reality is if players want to make the jump early, they will. So instead of trying to interfere, his philosophy is to help as much as possible.

"We've never tried to stop anybody from going to the NFL," he said. "But we do try to give them the best information available."

TAKING THE BOWL TOUR: It's a busy time for the SEC's head man. After attending the Music City Bowl between Alabama and Minnesota on Friday afternoon, Slive flew to Atlanta to see Florida take on Miami. Today, he is scheduled to be in Tampa to watch part of the Outback Bowl with Georgia and Wisconsin then head to Orlando to watch LSU take on Iowa in the Capital One Bowl. He'll cap the tour Monday in New Orleans, where Auburn takes on Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.

_ ANTONYA ENGLISH, Times staff writer

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