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FLORIDA FALLS

For the second time in three years, UF fell out of the top 25 in the final AP poll. Prior to hiring Ron Zook as coach in 2002, the Gators had nine or more victories and finished in the top 15 for 12 consecutive seasons.

ORANGE BOWL RATINGS: USC's lopsided victory in the Orange Bowl drew the second-worst national TV rating for a BCS championship game. ABC Sports' broadcast of USC's dominating 55-19 win over Oklahoma got a 14.7 rating with a 22 share.

CLEMSON: Cornerback Justin Miller announced he will forego his senior year and enter the NFL draft. Miller is a three-year starter and the ACC's career leader in kickoff return average.

GEORGIA: Middle linebacker Odell Thurman will bypass his final season to enter the NFL draft, ESPN.com reported. Thurman, a 6-foot-1, 240 pound junior, led the Bulldogs in tackles with 59 and was a Butkus Award finalist. Junior Thomas Davis also appears headed to the NFL. The Macon Telegraph and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Davis, who could be the first safety selected, informed his high school coach.

LOUISVILLE: Running back Eric Shelton said he will skip his senior year to enter the NFL draft. Shelton, a 6-3, 248-pounder, rushed for 938 yards on 146 carries, a 6.4-yard average, this season and tied a school record with 20 rushing touchdowns.

MARYLAND: Defensive end Shawne Merriman plans to forgo his last year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft. Merriman, a first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference pick, led the Terrapins in sacks and tackles for losses.

N.C. STATE: Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone is leaving the Wolfpack for Mississippi. Mazzone, the Wolfpack's offensive coordinator the past two years, said he would become the Rebels' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Mazzone served as offensive coordinator there from 1995-98 under former coach Tommy Tuberville.

PITTSBURGH: Defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads, one of the finalists for Pitt's job after Walt Harris stepped aside, is one of at least three Pitt assistants who will be retained by new coach Dave Wannstedt. Wannstedt hired the bulk of his first staff, retaining defensive assistants Bob Junko and Curtis Bray while adding offensive assistants Paul Dunn and Aubrey Hill.

SYRACUSE: The school is interested in talking to New York Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson about its head coaching position. Henderson said his agent has been contacted by Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross, a former scout with the Jets.

WEST VIRGINIA: Cornerback and return specialist Adam "Pac Man" Jones, the Big East's special teams player of the year, said he plans to forgo his senior year to enter this spring's NFL draft.

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