Sports Shorts

* When it comes to basketball at USF, there is the women’s team, a perennial contender for national ranking and post-season play, and what used to be the men’s team. It’s been a while since Charlie Bradley, Rodenko Dobras, Chucky Atkins and Dominique Jones.

The other night, the USF women hosted the University of Connecticut. While nobody expected an upset, there was an excited, expectant crowd of more than 6,600 at the Sun Dome hoping for a memorable performance against the iconic UConn Huskies. Alas, it was beyond forgettable.  It was a humiliating 100-49 loss. The challenge now for Bulls coach Jose Fernandez is to not let the ripple effect of embarrassment in front of the largest women’s crowd ever impact the rest of the season. Easier said than done.

* So Jon Gruden is back coaching the Raiders. It had been rumored and predicted for a while. Just a matter of adding a few more zeros to that long-term contract to woo “Chucky” out of the ESPN broadcast booth where he had found super-star billing.

Only one other subplot: The “Rooney Rule.” NFL Teams must include minority candidates in their interview pool. The Raiders complied, and the league confirmed. “I can tell you we believe the Rooney Rule was complied with,” said NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart. How’s that for parsing? Also call it the “Rooney Ruse” in this case.

* Given that the NFL suspended Tom Brady–TOM BRADY!–for four games over under-inflated footballs, it’s downright ominous to consider what might loom for Bucs QB Jameis Winston over that Uber groping charge nearly two years ago. And knowing that Winston has a friendly witness isn’t as consoling as it should be. It’s his former FSU teammate Ronald Darby, who’s now a defensive back with the Philadelphia Eagles. The same Darby who previously bore witness for Winston during that high-profile, sexual-assault case in 2012 that was eventually settled in civil court.

Nobody with the Bucs wants to see any more references to that infamous, Tallahassee police report. Especially the witness who was taking video on his cell phone. Disgusting.

Good luck, Dirk. You deserve better.

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