Sports Shorts

* Add “land swaps” to the short list of Hillsborough County/Tampa subplots, most notably financing, surrounding the search for a new Rays ballpark. While it plays out, it will be interesting to see whether Jeff Vinik remains noticeably low profile on something that has major implications for Water Street Tampa redevelopment. Is a baseball stadium more of a complication or a complement? How important would a transit stop be for Rays’ games?

* So undefeated, 16th-ranked USF stays undefeated–on the road–and drops one spot in the AP Poll. It’s the product of a weak schedule and inconsistent play. It also means skeptical pollsters are looking for any excuse to drop them altogether if the Bulls don’t run the table. That starts with Saturday’s home opponent, Houston, the best team they will have played so far, and continues through the regular-season finale with UCF, now ranked 18th–and also undefeated.

* It’s never a good sign when the media and alums are dumping on a head football coach, as is the case with the University of Florida’s Jim McElwain, now in his third season as a Gator coach not named Spurrier or Meyer. His record to date–with No. 3 Georgia awaiting in Jacksonville this week–is a pedestrian 22-11. Through 33 games, that was also the record of, uh, Will Muschamp. Sobering.

* Don’t know how much longer I can say this, but my two favorite alma maters, Penn State and USF, are both undefeated (7-0) in late October.

* Schools such as Ohio State and Michigan put stickers on players’ helmets indicating outstanding plays. But what happens when a player screws up? Do they subtract a sticker?

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