Tampa Bay Sports Commission officials Rob Higgins and Jeff Adams couldn't stay around long, not with a site visit associated with the NCAA Women's Final Four early Monday, but the ACC football meetings were a must-stop.
The Tampa Bay area is one of four sites that requested bid specifications for the ACC football championship game from 2008 to 2010, joining Orlando, Charlotte and Jacksonville, the game's home since its inception in 2005. Proposals are due Aug. 31, and the league's athletic directors are expected to announce their decision shortly after this year's title game Dec. 1 in Jacksonville.
"We didn't get into any specifics," Higgins said. "It was just great to see them (ACC decisionmakers) again."
And vice versa. ACC commissioner John Swofford said the bay area and the sports commission earned nothing but high marks for staging the men's basketball tournament in March at the St. Pete Times Forum.
"It was a big success ... and a lot of the same people would be involved in our football championship game if it were there," he said. "I think it enhances the possibility."
Tampa Bay is expected to bid for all three years. The best guess is folks would prefer to get the shot that Jacksonville has had and get all three, or at least two, to try to prove the college football fan base will embrace the ACC finale.
CONTRACT TALK: Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said his attorney, Russ Campbell, and FSU president T.K. Wetherell have had talks about his contract, which expires after this football season.
"I don't get involved in that," Bowden said. "I know T.K.'s going to take care of me the best he can."
Wetherell has maintained that Bowden, 77, has a lifetime contract and will coach as long as he wants to, and Bowden has plenty of want-to. He seems more energized than in recent years and even said he would like to hit 400 wins (he's the Division I-A all-time leader with 366).
Any new deal likely will mean a nice raise from the annual package of about $1.8-million, a bargain relatively speaking when you consider Alabama is paying Nick Saban $4-million a year and Florida just rewarded Urban Meyer with a $3.25-million annual deal.
THE SEMINOLES IN TAMPA? FSU officials and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission have had "preliminary discussions" about a nonconference game at Raymond James Stadium. FSU recently said it planned to play a game in Orlando in 2012 or 2013, pending a renovation to the Citrus Bowl.
POLL SITTERS: Bowden was "surprised, really surprised" that the ACC media tabbed his team to win the Atlantic Division and meet Virginia Tech for the league title.
"Usually on these things you base it on what happened last year, and we were not very successful last year," he said of the team's 7-6 record. "You and I know it means nothing."
FSU received 37 first-place votes (423 points) in the preseason poll, followed in the division by Boston College (25 first-place votes, 363), Clemson (eight, 332), defending league champ Wake Forest (13, 325), Maryland and North Carolina State. In the Coastal Division, the media overwhelmingly picked the Hokies (77, 491) followed by Georgia Tech (four, 367), Miami (two, 356), Virginia (255), North Carolina (188) and Duke (86).
Virginia Tech was the prohibitive choice to beat FSU and earn the Bowl Championship Series berth.
"I don't know where Wake Forest was picked last year," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said (uh, last in the division, coach), "but I know where they finished up. We have to get to work and be as good as you people think we can be."